Nothing gives a hunter a reason to smile like the onset of the fall rut. The rut remains the best time to snag a mature buck as they are more likely to move in daylight and will respond to a hunters’ calls.
Rut has phases and will differ from state to state and location to location, but generally in the US, most deer will be in some phase of the rut by mid- to late October. This is the most active time for deer and for deer hunters, but there are still some important tips to making sure you have a successful deer hunting season.
1) It’s Still About Your Position
Hunting during the rut isn’t a “Get A Free Deer” card. You will still need to choose your deer hunting location wisely. Don’t set up next to signs of buck activity; instead, you still need to focus on natural funnels and areas with high vision so you can see approaching bucks and make adjustments if necessary.
2) Mix Your Deer Grunts and Wheezes
This may be the most difficult part of deer calling technique because each deer will respond differently. But one way to make sure your deer calling won’t be successful is to be too shy with them. Don’t be afraid to give a loud grunt or wheeze when you see your target buck in the area. But don’t overdo it with the number of calls -- stick to the old saying “Quality over quantity.”
3) Hunt Early, Hunt Often
Get deep into the woods early before sunrise and bring a pair of low-light binoculars with you. The deeper you get, the further away you are from the brunch hunters who come in from 10 a.m. to noon and shoo away all the deer. Plus, you’ll have the choice hunting locations with good vision and shrubbery backdrops.
4) Respect the Buck
Deer aren’t less intelligent during the rut, they’re just focused on other things like finding a doe and fighting off competition. But that doesn’t mean you can get sloppy with your prep or technique. Hide your scent, pay attention to the wind and be patient.
5) Know The Solar and Lunar Influence
Animals that are more active in the night are nocturnal and those most active at twilight the period between day and night are called crepuscular. Deer are primarily nocturnal and also crepuscular. Many hunters rely on Solunar Tables as a tool for know when the best times are to hunt. Solunar Tables are designed to forecast the times of day and night when game are most likely to feed and be active. We’ve found an easy to read solunar table based on your zip code by Weather and Wildlife that may help you plan your hunt.
Does the moon phase really influence deer activity? Dr. Grant Woods explains recent studies by scientist who pulled data of deer with a radio collar including information gathered on mature bucks.
6) Follow Your Instincts and Learn From Mistakes
It’s said the best way to learn something is to do it yourself. This is true with deer hunting, too. You can listen to what has worked for your friends or get advice from hunting channels (or from blogs), but nothing can replace the education you receive when you see a trophy deer catch the scent you left getting to your hunting treestand and dart away, or painfully see a parade of bucks stroll around all day without a clear shot. You’ll learn more from your mistakes than you will from anything else.