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Post Rut Strategies For Big Bucks

December 08, 2011
Post Rut Strategies For Big Bucks - 4

Without question, the much anticipated whitetail rut can be action-packed and electrifying for hunters. However, there is still a lot quality deer hunting left long after the rut has fizzled out. In fact, one of my favorite times to chase top-heavy bucks is actually during the late-season or post-rut period. For good reason, cold nighttime temperatures, dwindling food sources and limited outside hunting pressure are all factors that can potentially place a veteran buck in a vulnerable situation. The following post-rut hunting strategies will help you pinpoint, pattern, and connect with a shooter that has survived most of the season. On a side note, these tactics allowed me to take a really nice buck in Tennessee just a few days ago (pictured here).

The Food Factor
During the early segments of season, whitetails basically enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet and have plenty of feeding options. However, by the time December rolls around, many of these food sources have been exhausted. This is why pinpointing a primary food source is the key to punching tags during the late-season. In heavily wooded areas, try to find pockets of remaining acorns, honey-suckle, or green browse. Thickets or locations that have recently been logged will often contain green briar and other post-rut food sources. When hunting agricultural areas or farm country, try to locate late-picked corn fields, winter wheat plots, and oats.

Focus On Winter Cover
Next, pinpoint thick low-lying cover that is near a remaining food source. Strategically hanging stands along the edges of these areas can pay huge dividends during morning hunts when bucks are traveling back to bed-down for the day. These spots can also be productive during the late-morning and mid-day hours. In many cases, bucks will ease off the bed to stretch and browse around during these periods, which creates a window of opportunity.
   
Recognize The Secondary Rut
Approximately 28 days after the primary rut, mature does that were not successfully bred will enter a second estrous cycle. During this same time frame, yearling does will hit their first estrous cycle. The secondary rut is usually not as chaotic and action-packed as the first rutting period, but it can still be very productive. Some of the same rut-hunting strategies that worked earlier will once again be effective. Drag-lines soaked in estrous scent, doe decoys, and calling that consists of young doe bleats can be deadly during the secondary rut.
     
With that being said, be sure to give all of these post-rut tactics a try in your neck of the woods. Having the right game plan and hitting the field hard during the post-rut period can be all it takes to punch that one last tag. Plus, there is no better feeling than knocking a big buck in the dirt just before the final buzzer rings! Good luck and keep us posted on the BBZ. 

Comments (4)

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from 6phunter wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Rain out this morning along w/ high wind and a discouraging cough that kept me up all night.One of the advantages to late season hunting is knowing where to start next year,although I know sucess can change in an instant with a few days remaining with black powder.I have seen some sign of bucks still opening scrapes and doe movement in feeding areas resuming,I'm confident some are still being bred.A small cul de sac tore up bad at the head of a ravine is where I'll be setting up with a bow later on .

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from Catpool9 wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Congrats Travis,
on another great buck!, my area of Arkansas is much the same as 6phunter's post, the bucks are back to making scrapes, been seeing several doe but no shooter bucks, but I'm not discouraged any, will be persistente in hunting until the gun/muzzleloader season ends December 31st!

David H.

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from ttfaulkner@msn.com wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Thanks for the report 6phunter. I hope you tag a giant during the late-season. The bowhunting during late Dec and early Jan can also be really good in the Bluegrass State. In fact, it's one of my favorite times to be in the woods. I just got back from an action-packed trip in IL. I seen a ton of deer, but only one really good shooter. Just like big bucks do, he managed to stay just out of range of my smoke-pole. I am hoping to go back up during Christmas break with my bow. Are you still seeing any secondary rut activity? I know KY's muzzle-loading goes out this weekend - keep us posted.

Travis Faulkner
Outdoor Life
ttfaulkner@msn.com

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from 6phunter wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

RUT activity picking up in western k.y,scrapes are being open up where they started in early november,and bucks traveling with doe groups if not to breed then maybe just company.COLD opening forecast for late black powder dec. 10 .A GOOD time to take a doe now as colder temps allow deer to age better.A few years ago I took a nice buck out of 5 mature bucks following a single doe, a benefit of late season hunting.MY hunting partners have scored already,so I'LL have the woods to myself with out any distractions.I'll keep you posted if the REMMINGTON INLINE FINDS OLD MOSSYHORNS. GOOD LUCK ALL

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from ttfaulkner@msn.com wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Thanks for the report 6phunter. I hope you tag a giant during the late-season. The bowhunting during late Dec and early Jan can also be really good in the Bluegrass State. In fact, it's one of my favorite times to be in the woods. I just got back from an action-packed trip in IL. I seen a ton of deer, but only one really good shooter. Just like big bucks do, he managed to stay just out of range of my smoke-pole. I am hoping to go back up during Christmas break with my bow. Are you still seeing any secondary rut activity? I know KY's muzzle-loading goes out this weekend - keep us posted.

Travis Faulkner
Outdoor Life
ttfaulkner@msn.com

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from 6phunter wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

RUT activity picking up in western k.y,scrapes are being open up where they started in early november,and bucks traveling with doe groups if not to breed then maybe just company.COLD opening forecast for late black powder dec. 10 .A GOOD time to take a doe now as colder temps allow deer to age better.A few years ago I took a nice buck out of 5 mature bucks following a single doe, a benefit of late season hunting.MY hunting partners have scored already,so I'LL have the woods to myself with out any distractions.I'll keep you posted if the REMMINGTON INLINE FINDS OLD MOSSYHORNS. GOOD LUCK ALL

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Catpool9 wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Congrats Travis,
on another great buck!, my area of Arkansas is much the same as 6phunter's post, the bucks are back to making scrapes, been seeing several doe but no shooter bucks, but I'm not discouraged any, will be persistente in hunting until the gun/muzzleloader season ends December 31st!

David H.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 6phunter wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Rain out this morning along w/ high wind and a discouraging cough that kept me up all night.One of the advantages to late season hunting is knowing where to start next year,although I know sucess can change in an instant with a few days remaining with black powder.I have seen some sign of bucks still opening scrapes and doe movement in feeding areas resuming,I'm confident some are still being bred.A small cul de sac tore up bad at the head of a ravine is where I'll be setting up with a bow later on .

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)