Now that all the anticipation and planning is over, and the hunting season has begun in earnest, it’s easy to fall back into your old hunting habits. They might not be bad habits, and hunting the same way year after year can deliver impressive results for some hunters. On the other hand, you could be making the same mistakes over and over again without even realizing it. Whatever your hunting habits, consider trying a suggestion or two among the following tips. The result might be an unprecedented success; at the very least, your next day in the woods will be a little less routine.
Feeding Binge: It’s no secret that changing weather conditions affect deer movement patterns; the trick is anticipating how to take advantage of those relationships. One consistent pattern is an increase in deer feeding before a storm arrives. What’s the definition of “before?” Whitetail activity around food sources is often at its highest when the barometric pressure is between 29.80 and 30.29 inches of mercury.
The "Rutting Moon": The second full moon after the autumnal equinox cues the rut in the northern portion of North America, causing bucks to enter a rutting frenzy. This year’s rutting moon will appear on November 1. That means that from November 3 to November 10, bucks north of the 35th latitude should be in the chase phase of the rut. The prime breeding phase of the rut will occur from about November 7 to November 21. Keep in mind that things like human pressure, skewed doe-to-buck ratios (greater than three to one) and unseasonably warm weather can suppress daytime rutting activity and create the illusion that the rut is not occurring.
If the gun opener in your state is in mid-November, it will be the prime breeding window. Look for the bucks to be with the does. If the gun opener is closer to the end of November or the first of December, hunting could be tough because the rut will be winding down. If you’re in the latter group, food sources and bedding areas will be your best targets. But because nearly every gun opener in the North occurs in November, the key for the vast majority of hunters is to focus on doe groups.
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