Hunting in the Rut
Adapting to the changes a rut brings will help you harvest a buck. This unique period of time will bring large bucks out and into your sight.
What is a rut?
Rutting season is when bucks begin to chase does to mate. This unique behavior from bucks makes it easier to hunt because bucks become careless and very active. Bucks from the surrounding areas will be out in places they don’t often go in hopes of finding a doe to mate with.
Different Phases of the Rut
There are six to seven different phases of the rut that will affect whitetail’s behavior. The first is the pre-rut, which is followed by the seeking phase. The seeking phase is when bucks start to narrow down the doe’s location. The chasing phase is next and then the tending phase begins. The tending phase is when mating takes place and is the most important part of the rutting season. The most difficult time to hunt during the rut is at the end of the rutting season. Does that did not mate during the first rut may go into a second estrus cycle, causing a second rutting season.
How do you know when the rut has begun?
The rut for Ohio was predicted to be early November to late November this year. Each state and region has a different rut season due to the climate. A key indication that the rut is near is the tarsal gland on bucks will begin to change color. When the gland becomes black that is when the rut is happening. Does will start to show signs of being in estrous, when their tail is relaxed and they start to urinate frequently.
Bucks will begin to have odd behavior. Bucks typically move during the night and as rut sets in you will start to see bucks moving during the daylight hours. If there is limited food supply, bucks will move around more than usual in hopes to find their next meal. Bucks will also move out of their normal territory in hopes to find a mate.
When going to your normal hunting spot, be cautious, deer will be in areas that they normally aren’t. You don’t want spook the deer and ruin your hunt!
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