Whitetail Deer Hunting: Own the Rut With a Great Food Plot

Whitetail Deer Hunting: Own the Rut With a Great Food Plot
Photo By Gary R. Zahm

Every landowner wants to make their property the place whitetail deer want to be during the rut.

In order to make deer want to rut on your property, you have to supply the perfect landscape elements for early season deer tactics. Here's how to build your property into the perfect rut hangout in five easy steps.

1 Serve Fine Food

Carefully placed whitetail food plots and well-managed fruit-bearing trees, such as chestnuts, oaks, apples and pears, provide a perfect setting for bucks and does to meet.

Provide A Good Drink

And what is a good dinner without a fine drink? Strategically located ponds or artificial water sources will keep deer from moving off of your land to find water.

Make A Safe Haven

Setting aside a sanctuary adjacent to a food source will draw and hold more deer on your property as hunting pressure increases on surrounding properties.

Set The Stage

"Softening" an edge between your sanctuary or travel corridor by encouraging brushy (soft) edges (about 30 feet wide) will provide "staging areas," where bucks can intercept does coming to feed. It is the social center for the rut "dance."

 5 Connect The Dots

Travel corridors need to connect social centers and sanctuaries. Develop existing strips of conifers along drainages, or plant them to provide protection for deer that naturally want to avoid crossing fields and large openings.

Did You Know?

Late season bucks use a mixture of frontal gland and tarsal gland scents to influence the behavior of both does and other bucks. And the smell is clearly intimidating to younger bucks. There may be as many as 100 species of bacteria living in the hairs of the tarsal gland that change ordinary urine into smelly rut chemicals.

Have some tried-and-true early season tactics of your own? Share them with us on Facebook!

Recommended for You

Field Tested: Lightweight Raingear

David Draper - May 30, 2019

Our picks for stuffable protection against any weather.


Upon Further Review: 70-Year-Old Catfish Record Voided

G&F Online Staff - May 22, 2019

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish.


State Records Reported in Maryland, Michigan

G&F Online Staff - May 23, 2019

It must be time for summer fishing because records are falling everywhere.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

MLF BPT angler and former Classic champ Casey Ashley has been with Costa del Mar sunglasses his whole career. At ICAST 2019, he shows OSG writer Lynn Burkhead some new products and talks how to pick the right lens color for the water.

New 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch from Simms

Outdoor Sportsman Group writer Lynn Burkhead gets new product details from Simms Fishing Product's John Frazier about the new waterproof 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch.

MLF Pros: What's Your Go-To Lure?

When all else fails, here's what these pros tie on.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories


12 Great Catfish Baits

Jeff Samsel

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these five great...


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...


7 Best Bets For New Jersey Largemouth Bass

October 04, 2010

From Monksville Reservoir to Union Lake, plus five other picks, here's where you'll...

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


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