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Understanding the Rut: 3 Basics All Hunters Should Know

pic-3 I crested the ridge to see soft yellow light from the rising sun bathing the broken canyon country ahead of me. Junipers and cedars filled the canyons and dotted the carpet of prairie grasses that stretched to the horizon. My breath crystalized into a faint mist in front of my face in the cool air. I was hunting new country and needed to find a good place to glass. Hunkering down in front of a ledge of sandstone, I pulled out my binos and began scanning the country. Before long I caught movement of gray shadows moving toward me. A string of mule deer does and fawns worked my way. Although a gorgeous sight, my heart sank a bit as I saw the does without any bucks accompanying them. The rut still lay in the future. The rut is the most talked about time period for hunters. It’s when personal days are burned at work and flowers are bought to appease angry spouses. If you’ve ever hunted the rut you know what I’m talking about, and if you never have you don’t know what your missing.

The Basics

The rut is a term used to refer to deer breeding season. Trigged by shortening day length, does begin to release the hormone estrus. With estrus in the air, bucks old and young can’t help but emerge from their hidden haunts to chase the pretty girls. During this time period deer movement is at its greatest, and hunters have the best chance at scoring on a big buck.

Buck Movement

Hunters often misinterpret behavior during the rut. Many believe deer are moving during daylight hours because of the rut. While it’s true the rut causes more deer movement, colder temperatures are still the big factor in extended deer movement in daylight. During warm falls, many hunts have not lived up to expectations due to higher temperatures. Warmer temps will encourage more deer movement and breeding at night. During the rut one thing is for sure; bucks are on the move. Each buck will cruise his home territory looking for does to breed. Biologists have determined that a buck will visit the same location roughly every three days on his rounds. This knowledge can help hunters hang their tree sands to intercept predicted deer movement.

Buck Behavior

With estrus on the wind, testosterone builds in the bucks. Much like high school boys, more testosterone leads to one thing in particular; fights. Antlers clatter through the quietness of a fall morning as bucks fight to establish dominance over their turf. Another habit that is unique to the rut is the snort. Although generally quiet creatures, bucks will challenge each other with a nasally grunt. With a fight around every corner, bucks also break up their groups and become more solitary. In conclusion, deer’s habits change drastically during the rut and offer hunters the opportunity to cash in. Not only do bucks move much more during the rut, but they also throw caution to the wind as they battle it out over their prime ladies. Check this blog for 3 tips in how to adjust during this unique time of year. Prepare for hunting during the rut by visiting for all your hunting needs.
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