Every deer hunter is poised to take advantage of the rut. It is during this time of year that bucks are most active as they harass does and search for a mate. This is an ideal time to score yourself a nice trophy, but it is helpful to observe your hunting area beforehand in order to gauge your chances of success. Five good ways to do so are listed below.
1. Keep an eye on the weather, especially wind and precipitation that will affect scent such as rising hot air and sinking cool air. By being aware of the direction in which doe estrus will be most likely to present from, you will then be aware of which direction a buck will likely be travelling. In addition to watching the wind for deer scent, keep your own scent in mind, too. A buck that is seeking the scent of a mate does not need to be able to catch a whiff of you. This also applies to the smell of vehicle exhaust which can divert a deer away if it is detected.
Photo: Olman Outdoors
2. While a large part of your hunting goal may include nabbing a buck, that does not mean does should be discounted as they are an important part of the rut equation. If you are able to locate and watch a band of does, it is only a matter of time before potential suitors show up to woo the ladies. When that happens, you will be in position to take a buck since the does will have essentially led him to you.
3. Bucks and does don't generally bed down together in the same place and it isn't really possible to identify who is sleeping where without seeing for yourself, which can be tough to achieve. One noteworthy thing about areas in which a deer has obviously bedded down is that a comfortable, safe sleeping spot gets reused. Watching for deer in the vicinity may yield you a pleasant surprise.
Photo: Missouri Whitetail Wordpress
4. Keeping an eye out for travel corridors used by deer will lead you to two places based on which direction you take. Areas that are well traveled often lead back and forth between a food source and an area in which deer bed down. By keeping an eye on such a trail, it is quite probable that a buck will pick up on the scent of does making the trek, leading him to make an appearance in your sights.
5. Locating rubs does not necessarily equate to locating a buck, but it does shed light on areas of travel. If a rub is present, it is very likely to be on a path that is revisited regularly. While this may not be the ideal location to wait for a kill, it can serve as guidance as to nearby areas through which bucks are moving.
Photo: Joyce Road Blog
The whitetail rut in Missouri is currently in its peak and now is an excellent time to take advantage of hunting opportunities. Even as the rut falls from its peak, there will still be plenty of chances to acquire a buck. Quite frankly, it ain't over until it's over, so the chance to bag a deer has not yet passed.
Have you had success with this year's rut thus far? Do you have tips for fellow hunters taking advantage of the rut? Let us know in the comments!