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Three Tactics For Attracting Rutting Bucks

November 02, 2011
Three Tactics For Attracting Rutting Bucks - 15

November is finally here and you can feel the tension building in the air! Mature bucks with swelled-up necks, bad attitudes and testosterone pumping through their veins are on the prowl. Without question, the sight of red-hot scrapes, fresh rubs and daytime rutting activity have all deer hunters on edge right now. However, even with things busting loose, a lovesick buck can still be difficult to intercept and tag during the rut.

For good reason, a combination of increased hunting pressure and the overwhelming urge to breed can drastically change daily routines. If connecting with a rut-crazed buck is proving to be difficult for you right now, then give these hard-hitting tactics and strategies a try the next time you hit the woods.

Attack His Nose

During the rut, it’s actually possible to attack a buck’s nose and turn his main line of defense against him. Strategically pulling pre-soaked drag-lines with doe estrous scent to your setup can definitely generate some action. Instead of dragging the scent straight to your stand, try making a complete circle around your entire setup. This enables you to cover a lot more ground with your scent and increases the chances of coaxing a cruising buck directly into a cleared shooting lane. Another 360 degree attack option is to hang several fresh scent-stations from overhanging branches that form a wide circle around your stand. Both of these scent-application techniques can exploit a buck’s nose throughout the rut.

Attack His Ears

Hitting a fired-up brawler with estrous doe bleats, tending grunts, snort-wheezes and rattling are all great ways to attack his ears. The trick is to gauge current deer behavior, body language and the initial reaction of bucks during your calling sequences. These in-the-field observations will allow you to accurately modify and customize your calling. Sometimes subtle estrous bleats alone will be all it takes to sweet talk a giant into range. Other situations may demand aggressive calling such as agitated grunts and snort-wheezes. Your ability to diagnose the current mood of the deer and apply the right calls will undoubtedly increase your shot opportunities.

Attack His Eyes

When bow-hunting the rut, setting-up a basket-racked buck and doe decoy combo will help add some realism to your setup. It’s amazing how effective decoys can be during the rutting period, especially when hunting open areas that offer good visibility. In addition, mixing your scent-application strategies and customized calling tactics with decoys will enable you to attack all three of a mature buck’s senses. When things get tough this November, be sure to reach into your bag of tricks and rely on rut-attack strategies that are capable of producing some action-packed trips.

Comments (15)

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from gilley75 wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

trying to get my wife to fill her tag now. Pretty quiet out in the woods today minus the high winds again. I couldn't believe all the scrapes though. One trail had scrapes every 20-30 feet. Smalller ones in the same area I shot that scrubby fork. Did a quick drive for my wife saw newer tracks but no deer and no grouse (I had the 20 gauge)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 6phunter wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

the rut is on here in west kentucky, lots of bucks cruisin,and big boys joining the chase.no sightings of the super 8 I watched earlier in the year but the 140's 9 point is testing my will power nearly every day.find a vantage point and patience,preparedness,perseverance should begin to show dividends

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from gilley75 wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

Well the first 2 days of rifle season had high winds and nothin movin. I slept in to day made the fam a big breakfast and finally headed out around 10:45, nearly got to the spot I wanted to sit when I looked in the brush and saw that big bodied spike. I sat and waited for him to clear the thick stuff. touched off a round and dropped him. He ended being a scrubby fork and about 120lbs dressed. Sorry it isn't a big buck story but I'm a freezer filler and I don't eat antler soup. Happy hunting all.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Catpool9 wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

Travis,
These are all great tips for attracting a big buck for sure, I also like to make a mock scrape in the area of a rutting buck and use a scent dripper to lure in a big boy.
During the muzzleloader hunt last week I washed my clothes in scent free soaps and put my hunting clothing in large bags to help keep contaminating scents from reaching the deers nose.
I found this very usefull because I had an Eight pointer at 20 yards and a Ten at 17 yards that never even acted like they smelled me, also had two smaller bucks even closer, so staying scent free as possible will increase your odds of taking a nice mature buck.

The bucks are making scrapes all over in my neck of the woods, so the big chase is going to happen any day now!

David H.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from GuyGene wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

Oh me, I have the fever! I have never used these tactics, but will this year for sure. I think there is a small buck scraping right near my house. I say small because of the size of the scrape, and the tiny little cedar next to his scrape that he has been rubbing his spikes on. Don't think I will take him, unless he turns out to be better than I think.

Here in GA, we haven't had a frost yet. And, from what I know about Minnesota gilley, you won't have to fret long about the present warmth! Okay, good hunting all, and be safe.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from gilley75 wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

As for temps it'll be in the mid 50s this weekend. That kind of weather sure makes me sleepy in the stand. Hopefully I don't snore too loud :)

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from gilley75 wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

Well it should be a great season here in MN. I had seen over 20 does and fawns on our property last week and I haven't disturbed it for a few days. I've been bowhunting it since mid OCT and tomorrow is rifle opener. All the fawns are larger than normal so filling the freezer with a doe isn't out of the question for sure. Last night I was hunting some state land and had the opportunity to watch a large forkhorn make a rub after chasing a doe and a huge bodied spike walk right behind me through the brush checking out that fork.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ttfaulkner@msn.com wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

Gilley75,

You can just about bet the farm that another thick-headed brawler will take his place. Hopefully, you will run into his replacement this season or one of his grandsons! I am fired-up right now myself, but I wish the temperatues would drop a little! It feels like late September or early October in Kentucky right now! Let us know how you do this season on the BBZ. Good Luck!

Travis Faulkner
Outdoor Life
ttfaulkner@msn.com

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from gilley75 wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

I had a tempermental, nocturnal buck one year with a big scrape on our hay field. Never got to see him in the daylight so I relieved myself in his scrape. The nest day he had that poor pine tree shredded and sod thrown 30 feet away from the scrape. I'm not saying use this tactic but he was ticking me off so I returned the favor. That season our neighbor shot a 16 point NT and I haven't seen the big scrapes since. Oh well he has offspring out there.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ttfaulkner@msn.com wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

Cribaddict2001,

Thanks for the post! I agree, you've got to love watching a mature buck react to a decoy during the rut. The scent-application and calling tactics mixed with decoying can really crank-up the action during this unique period. Be sure to let us know how these hunts turn-out for you this season on the BBZ. Good luck and stay in touch!

Travis Faulkner
Outdoor Life
ttfaulkner@msn.com

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from cribaddict2001 wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

great tips. we have been decoying and grunting and rattling for a week now in Wisconsin- last Thursday had 6 bucks come in at once- UNBELIEVEABLE! I was just telling my buddy this morning we need to drag scent trails. Our method is soak a cottonn ball and drag a line 50 yards each way and hope a buck cuts the trail or picks up the scent line. It has worked great from Nov 1 to NOv 10 other years.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ttfaulkner@msn.com wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

6phunter,

Thanks man! Are you on any big bucks right now? I've been seeing a dramatic increase in both rubbing and scraping activity in southeastern Kentucky. My father called me this morning and said he spotted several deer dead on the Interstate.

With that being said, I think the young basket-racks are starting to chase and push the does. Poor guys, they don't have a clue about what is going on or even what to do for that matter! They just know that something big is about to happen! Be sure to keep us posted on what you're seeing in the field this November. Good luck!

Travis Faulkner
Outdoor Life
ttfaulkner@msn.com

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from 6phunter wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

your still on target TRAVIS, as bucks become more inclined to seek out doe,travel corridors,fence lines,points where doe normally are found become definite spots to ambush

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Anthony wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

Thanks for the great tips! I can't wait to climb in my tree stand and take a big buck! Keep up the good work, Travis!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from JM1993 wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

All three are great tactics...thanks

+2 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)

from 6phunter wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

your still on target TRAVIS, as bucks become more inclined to seek out doe,travel corridors,fence lines,points where doe normally are found become definite spots to ambush

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from JM1993 wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

All three are great tactics...thanks

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Anthony wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

Thanks for the great tips! I can't wait to climb in my tree stand and take a big buck! Keep up the good work, Travis!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ttfaulkner@msn.com wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

6phunter,

Thanks man! Are you on any big bucks right now? I've been seeing a dramatic increase in both rubbing and scraping activity in southeastern Kentucky. My father called me this morning and said he spotted several deer dead on the Interstate.

With that being said, I think the young basket-racks are starting to chase and push the does. Poor guys, they don't have a clue about what is going on or even what to do for that matter! They just know that something big is about to happen! Be sure to keep us posted on what you're seeing in the field this November. Good luck!

Travis Faulkner
Outdoor Life
ttfaulkner@msn.com

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from cribaddict2001 wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

great tips. we have been decoying and grunting and rattling for a week now in Wisconsin- last Thursday had 6 bucks come in at once- UNBELIEVEABLE! I was just telling my buddy this morning we need to drag scent trails. Our method is soak a cottonn ball and drag a line 50 yards each way and hope a buck cuts the trail or picks up the scent line. It has worked great from Nov 1 to NOv 10 other years.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ttfaulkner@msn.com wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

Cribaddict2001,

Thanks for the post! I agree, you've got to love watching a mature buck react to a decoy during the rut. The scent-application and calling tactics mixed with decoying can really crank-up the action during this unique period. Be sure to let us know how these hunts turn-out for you this season on the BBZ. Good luck and stay in touch!

Travis Faulkner
Outdoor Life
ttfaulkner@msn.com

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from gilley75 wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

I had a tempermental, nocturnal buck one year with a big scrape on our hay field. Never got to see him in the daylight so I relieved myself in his scrape. The nest day he had that poor pine tree shredded and sod thrown 30 feet away from the scrape. I'm not saying use this tactic but he was ticking me off so I returned the favor. That season our neighbor shot a 16 point NT and I haven't seen the big scrapes since. Oh well he has offspring out there.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ttfaulkner@msn.com wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

Gilley75,

You can just about bet the farm that another thick-headed brawler will take his place. Hopefully, you will run into his replacement this season or one of his grandsons! I am fired-up right now myself, but I wish the temperatues would drop a little! It feels like late September or early October in Kentucky right now! Let us know how you do this season on the BBZ. Good Luck!

Travis Faulkner
Outdoor Life
ttfaulkner@msn.com

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from gilley75 wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

Well it should be a great season here in MN. I had seen over 20 does and fawns on our property last week and I haven't disturbed it for a few days. I've been bowhunting it since mid OCT and tomorrow is rifle opener. All the fawns are larger than normal so filling the freezer with a doe isn't out of the question for sure. Last night I was hunting some state land and had the opportunity to watch a large forkhorn make a rub after chasing a doe and a huge bodied spike walk right behind me through the brush checking out that fork.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from gilley75 wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

As for temps it'll be in the mid 50s this weekend. That kind of weather sure makes me sleepy in the stand. Hopefully I don't snore too loud :)

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from GuyGene wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

Oh me, I have the fever! I have never used these tactics, but will this year for sure. I think there is a small buck scraping right near my house. I say small because of the size of the scrape, and the tiny little cedar next to his scrape that he has been rubbing his spikes on. Don't think I will take him, unless he turns out to be better than I think.

Here in GA, we haven't had a frost yet. And, from what I know about Minnesota gilley, you won't have to fret long about the present warmth! Okay, good hunting all, and be safe.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Catpool9 wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

Travis,
These are all great tips for attracting a big buck for sure, I also like to make a mock scrape in the area of a rutting buck and use a scent dripper to lure in a big boy.
During the muzzleloader hunt last week I washed my clothes in scent free soaps and put my hunting clothing in large bags to help keep contaminating scents from reaching the deers nose.
I found this very usefull because I had an Eight pointer at 20 yards and a Ten at 17 yards that never even acted like they smelled me, also had two smaller bucks even closer, so staying scent free as possible will increase your odds of taking a nice mature buck.

The bucks are making scrapes all over in my neck of the woods, so the big chase is going to happen any day now!

David H.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from gilley75 wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

Well the first 2 days of rifle season had high winds and nothin movin. I slept in to day made the fam a big breakfast and finally headed out around 10:45, nearly got to the spot I wanted to sit when I looked in the brush and saw that big bodied spike. I sat and waited for him to clear the thick stuff. touched off a round and dropped him. He ended being a scrubby fork and about 120lbs dressed. Sorry it isn't a big buck story but I'm a freezer filler and I don't eat antler soup. Happy hunting all.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 6phunter wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

the rut is on here in west kentucky, lots of bucks cruisin,and big boys joining the chase.no sightings of the super 8 I watched earlier in the year but the 140's 9 point is testing my will power nearly every day.find a vantage point and patience,preparedness,perseverance should begin to show dividends

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from gilley75 wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

trying to get my wife to fill her tag now. Pretty quiet out in the woods today minus the high winds again. I couldn't believe all the scrapes though. One trail had scrapes every 20-30 feet. Smalller ones in the same area I shot that scrubby fork. Did a quick drive for my wife saw newer tracks but no deer and no grouse (I had the 20 gauge)

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)

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