Skip to main content

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

Recent Videos

Game & Fish Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

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

Get the top Game & Fish stories delivered right to your inbox every week.

Phone Icon

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 and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now