Enter The Rut

Deer hunting's most exciting fortnight is here

Outdoor Life Online Editor

November mornings exhibit a blue aura between the dark of night and the first light of day. The blue calm is deceptive, though, because madness reigns in the deer woods from Halloween to the ides of November-a deer hunter's Mardi Gras. If you're serious about big whitetails, you'll be in the woods as much as possible during these two crazy weeks.

Last November I was 12 feet up a hackberry, pulling my bow up on a rope, when I heard the sound of a large animal moving through grass. My stand overlooked the junction where a timbered ditch met the big woods. On both sides of the ditch, frosted prairie grass reached up toward fading stars, and above the grass was the head of a buck.

He was looking right at me, 30 yards away on my side of the ditch. I counted eight tines. Their whiteness cut through the blue morning and made my heart race. I froze with my bow dangling 6 feet below my boots, and we stared at each other until reds and oranges filled the sky. I was busted.

Two hours later he came loping back, panting and full of fever, chasing a sleek doe. As they passed my stand at 15 yards, I drew my bow and tried to stop them with a grunt.

Not this time. The doe heard my grunt and hit the nitro button. That was the last I saw of Old Ivory last year. But I'll be back this November. Hopefully he will be, too.