7 Sins of The Arrogant Whitetail Rut Hunter
November 02, 2015
With the whitetail rut quickly approaching, it would be wrong to take an overconfident approach to what should be the best time of the year to fill your tag on a trophy buck. And, while nothing increases your chances of killing a mature buck quite like his urge to breed, it is still possible to strike out and be left with a heaping bowl of tag soup after the dust settles. Especially if you commit the following mistakes.
Alert The Does
They might not seem important early on, but once the calendar turns to November the "slick-heads" become more valuable than gold. However, they must be left undisturbed. That means if you are hunting the same doe groups during the rut that you did during the early season your chances of success will be lower.
Why? Because most of them will know that you are in the area and will either change their travel patterns or leave altogether (taking the bucks with them). In order to maximize your chances of success during the whitetail rut, focus on hunting doe groups that have experienced very little, if any, hunting pressure.
Brushoff Scent Control
While that cagey buck you're chasing may have thrown caution to the wind that doesn't mean the doe in front of him has. If you can't beat her nose you'll never get to see the buck following her. It's that simple. Maintain your regular scent reduction system; even if you are hunting with a long-range rifle instead of a short-range bow.
Take A Lunch Break
During the whitetail rut you could bag your buck at 9 am or 2 pm, but not if you're back at the truck eating lunch. When bucks are moving from one hot doe to the next you should be in your stand all day, as many days in a row as you can. Time of day means little to them but should mean everything to you.
Hunt The Bucks
Most hunters search so intensely for a buck during the whitetail rut they forget to concentrate on what really matters'¦the does. Locating a group of does, understanding where they bed, where they prefer to eat and the travel routes in between carries more importance than where the latest rub or scrape has shown up. Therefore, don't place too much merit on tactics that take you away from what every buck in the county wants'¦.a hot doe.
No Plan B
Everyone has a plan until their plan falls apart. If you don't have a backup strategy the whitetail action could be over before you even make an adjustment. And, while this tip can be applied to any phase of the season it is especially important during the whitetail rut; when the windows of opportunity open and close very quickly.
For example, when bucks are in the "chasing phase" of the rut time is of the essence. You only have a small window until the action stops and the bucks are locked down with the does and actually breeding them. Failing to have an alternate place to hunt or tactic to use could leave you holding nothing but an unfilled tag.
Same Place Same Time
The best days of the whitetail rut can fluctuate from year to year. Sure, there will be days that always seem to produce the best results. However, don't become so narrow minded that you assume the hunting action will be the same year after year. Factors such as moon phase, weather, food availability and hunting pressure all play a vital role in how active the deer will be during daylight hours. Consider those things before taking vacation days during the whitetail rut.
Lack of Practice
Everyone loves to shoot their bow (or gun) during the weeks or months leading up to opening day. However, once the season starts many hunters never engage in meaningful practice again. That's a mistake. Especially when that big buck shows up and you haven't launched an arrow (or bullet) in months.
Remember, just because hunting season has started and the rut is primed to begin doesn't mean you shouldn't be practicing like it was opening day. In fact, you probably should be.