Use the following tips from deer hunting expert, Steve Stoltz, to help you rule the rut.
|Hunters who try Stoltz’s tactics to rule the rut can up their chances of bringing bucks within bow range.|
1. Bait them in — with scent
“The phases of the rut will change as October transitions into November,” Stoltz began. “But one thing that will remain consistent throughout the rut is scrapes.
“The frequency a mature buck visits any given scrape, daylight hours, varies,” Stoltz said. “Depending on the timing and phase of the rut, a big buck will periodically revert back to checking scrapes when he is seeking a doe. This activity will wane during the peak. However, catch an upper-end buck without a doe for a few hours, and he will be right back on the scrapes.
“For this reason, I start baiting bucks in to scrape locations that are set up mostly within bow range of my stand locations,” Stoltz explained. “I usually start this in late September or early October. I use exclusively buck smells (buck urine, buck urine gel, tarsal gland gel, and synthetic urine-based deer dirt).
“When a mature buck smells another buck, he will cross urinate over that smell,” Stoltz said. “And he will frequently check that same scrape throughout the rut. You have given him a reason to check it. This trick really works. I use Code Blue Buck Urine, Tarsal Gland gel (for licking branch over scrape), and Gravedigger Deer Dirt ( Buck Urine or Scrape Mate) and a Drop Time Scent Dispenser. Do not forget to use scent-free clothing and gloves. Eliminating foreign odors is a critical issue in the success of this tactic. I will make a mock scrape if a natural scrape has not been made near my stand. Either way, the bucks will find it.”
2.Plant them in.
“My success with mature bucks during the rut has soared since I started planting small green food plots near bedding areas or near a destination food source,” Stoltz said. “I usually plant them in early to mid-August in the Midwest. I use Real World Wildlife Seed. My favorite is the Fall Plot Topper, which is an all fall mix of radishes, turnip and sugar beets, brassicas and ***. I also use their Whitetail Forage Oats. Deer love them. This plan creates a perfect spot for the mature bucks to make a scrape or two.”
3.Call them in.
“Deer calls and rattling work the best any time or phase of the rut,” Stoltz concluded. “For this reason I will not hunt without a good grunt call and a set of rattling horns. I like the "Da Bone" Grunt Call by Knight & Hale. It produces realistic sounds and gives me the ability to increase the volume if needed. The new "Da Bonehead" rattling system is also as real sounding as a set of horns. If you see a mature buck traveling by himself, and he is not coming your direction you have nothing to lose by calling to him. It is my last resort tactic as long as he is upwind of me.
“The biggest problem that hunters face when calling to a deer, is the fact that a mature buck will always circle downwind of the source. For this reason you will enjoy much more success with calling mature bucks in by placing your treestand or blind in a position where they can't circle downwind of you before you get a shot.”
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