During the Rut Lockdown Phase, Patience Pays Big

As deer activity begins to slow with the lockdown phase of the rut approaching, now is the time to lockdown yourself on some key areas and prepare to the play the waiting game

During the Rut Lockdown Phase, Patience Pays Big
During the lockdown phrase of the rut, bucks and does will pair up, often for several days before bucks will split off to search for another doe. (Terry Owens photo)

As fast as the rut action ramps up, it can cool down just as fast. Almost like a switch, the chasing and cruising can shut down. Not only that, but it can almost seem like ALL the deer on the property disappear.

If this happens to you, do not panic; you have entered the lockdown phase of the rut. A time when bucks are paired up with does and peak breeding is occurring. This can be a great time to hunt, if you have the patience.

Often people associate the peak of rut with peak breeding, which is incorrect. When we talk about the rut, we think about cruising giants that have been nocturnal all year long, and crash-chasing through the woods.

Peak breeding is the complete opposite, locking deer down for 48-96 hours. However, that’s the good news. At some point the bonds will break and the bucks will be back on their feet. This is where patience comes into play.


Though you may not see the fast-paced, consistent action you would during the seeking or chasing phases of the rut, you can see a mature buck on his feet at any point during the day. The moment a buck is done tending a doe, he will be on to search for another.


This could be at dawn, dusk or middle of the day. Again, patience is the key. You may not see much activity during the lockdown phase, but the one deer you may see, could be the one that you are after.

Set up near bedding areas; these will be the hot places bucks will be cruising. Often times if you sit near food sources, does will avoid the area because, in estrous or not, they will be harassed by bucks. If you stick closer to bedding areas you are more likely to see bucks cruising the edges for the scent of a hot doe.

Do not rely on calls to be very effective – especially rattling and grunting. Although it could pull a great buck in close, the soft bleats of doe call or the use of doe-in-estrous lure – where legal – can be much more effective.


This season, warmerweather loomed over what should have been peak chasing, and suppressed activity during the day in many areas.

Randy Birdsong of Headhunters TV noted: “It’s one of the slowest bow seasons I have ever experienced.” This has been true for many hunters.

Over the next few weeks (Nov. 20 – Dec. 4), hang close to thick bedding areas for a better chance of encountering cruising bucks.


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Daiwa J-Fluoro Samurai Fluorocarbon Fishing Line

Daiwa J-Fluoro Samurai Fluorocarbon Fishing Line

Pro angler Cody Meyer calls Daiwa's J-Fluoro Samurai the best fluorocarbon he's ever fished. Meyer spoke with In-Fisherman associate publisher Todd Ceisner as part of the 2020 ICAST New Fishing Gear Guide.

Bowfishing from the Bank (Video)

Bowfishing from the Bank (Video)

There aren't many better ways to spend a summer night than skewering fish in the shallows.

New G. Loomis IMX Pro Rod Series

New G. Loomis IMX Pro Rod Series

David Brinkerhoff of G. Loomis shares his knowledge of the new IMX Pro rod series. The IMX Pro rod series comes in 10 new models and will cover five technique-specific categories. Available Fall 2020. MSRP $345-355.

Costa Ferg Sunglasses

Costa Ferg Sunglasses

Costa's Todd Barker reveals the features of the new Costa Ferg sunglasses, a best-of-category winner at ICAST 2020.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

From jigs to swimbaits, there are lots of great new choices unveiled at virtual fishing trade show. ICAST

New Freshwater Soft Lures from ICAST 2020

Game & Fish Staff - July 20, 2020

From jigs to swimbaits, there are lots of great new choices unveiled at virtual fishing trade...

If you haven't looked at the smaller urban lakes in your area, you are missing out on some great bass pond fishing. Bass

Bass Pond Fishing: Catch Lunkers at Small Lakes Near You

Dan Anderson

If you haven't looked at the smaller urban lakes in your area, you are missing out on some...

See what made the Old Town Sportsman Autopilot kayak the show's top pick. ICAST

Who Won ICAST 2020 Best of Show?

Game & Fish Staff - July 17, 2020

See what made the Old Town Sportsman Autopilot kayak the show's top pick.

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews of smelly ingredients often used to catch catfish. Catfish

How To Make Your Own Catfish Dough Bait

Keith Sutton - August 04, 2015

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews...

See More Trending Articles

More Whitetail

If you're like a lot of deer hunters, you probably hunt out of the same stands every season. You might want to re-think things. Whitetail

Take a New (Deer) Stand for Fall Hunting

Mike Marsh - July 09, 2020

If you're like a lot of deer hunters, you probably hunt out of the same stands every season....

2018 Arkansas typical whitetail came from waterfowl land and scored 200+ points. Records

Decade's Best: William Lloyd's Record Whitetail

Lynn Burkhead

2018 Arkansas typical whitetail came from waterfowl land and scored 200+ points.

Most major deer-urine scent companies are adopting the technology. Whitetail

Commercial CWD Test for Deer Scents Available, in Wide Use

Game & Fish Digital Staff - February 20, 2020

Most major deer-urine scent companies are adopting the technology.

He found his 19-point 'buck' to be a doe as he started field-dressing. Whitetail

Missouri Hunter Bags Rare Antlered Doe

G&F Online Staff - December 02, 2019

He found his 19-point 'buck' to be a doe as he started field-dressing.

See More Whitetail

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now