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.