With Halloween over and the calendar flipped to November one three letter word sums up the weeks ahead, the ‘rut’. Right now is the best time to deer hunt as the bucks go into seek and chase phase of the rut. The bigger, mature bucks are starting to show themselves as the first does of the year are starting to come into estrous.
Beware while driving as the road kill will increase significantly in the weeks ahead. This is always a sure sign that the rut has kicked in. The does are in the process of running their fawns off and when you start seeing the young deer wandering around by themselves you know that the action is about to pick up.
Be sure to watch the does close as they’ll let you know when a buck is about ready to come running out. They tend to be on edge when the bucks start chasing hard and when you see a doe pick her head up and start glaring in a certain direction, look that way and get ready. It always amazes me every year how the big bucks just start showing up. In my last column I was happy to inform y’all that the 12 point I shot with my bow and couldn’t find last year, is alive and even bigger. I saw him again the other day feeding contently in the field bottom and I’m hoping he’ll come chasing a doe by just like he did last year on November 10. I also saw a really nice 8 point a couple of days ago following a doe. The action is definitely starting to pick up and it’s no doubt my favorite time to be in the woods.
As always find the does and the bucks won’t be far behind. Natural funnels like low gaps, river bottoms, hollows coming together, any pinch points that cause the deer to travel a certain way are good places to hunt during the rut. With the lack of mast in the woods this year the deer I’ve been seeing are using the fields. I’ve been hunting the field edges and have been seeing a lot of deer. It’s just the opposite in the woods as there isn’t as much sign as there normally is in a decent mast year. Finding the available food sources will lead you to the deer this year and where I’ve been hunting it’s in the fields.
For me, November always marks a month of strategizing and hunting deer. When I’m not in the tree stand or blind, I’m thinking about which one I’m going to hunt next. Visions of big bucks run through my mind especially the big one I’m after.
I’m looking forward to spending several cool frosty mornings waiting patiently for the big one to come by. The last of the oak leaves are hanging on providing some color to the landscape before the dull drab winter woods remain. The big bucks are on the move so get out there this weekend and next as it doesn’t get much better. Be safe, wear those safety belts, and good luck.