For every story and Facebook hero shot we see regarding the magic of hunting the whitetail rut, there seems to be a piece on why the hunting the rut really, kinda sucks. Count me among the group that can’t wait for the rut to be over and for the deer to get back to some semblance of normalcy. Here’s why:
1. There Are Too Many Other Guys In The Woods
I don’t like competition. A spooked deer here, a hot doe there, and all bets are off—the buck you’ve had your eye on for weeks can be a mile away. You can’t really pattern rutting bucks (or at least, I can’t) and the uptick in both woods and tote-road traffic changes the game entirely. Sure, I get a big charge out of seeing a “new” buck on trail cam photos, but I’m generally not successful in closing the deal on them.
2. There’s Too Much Available Food
Last fall there were too many acorns. This fall there are too many apples. So what’s a hunter to do? The rut, for me, is a crapshoot. Once the snow flies and breeding activity subsides, the equation shifts. Deer are real good at sniffing out apples under a foot of snow and I will be there. That’s what I truly get excited about.
3. Weather Patterns are Less Predictable
November weather is almost always unpredictable. Hot weather, that will theoretically quell rutting activity, plays a part as does the occasional snowstorm. December is more manageable for the hunter. The cold is here to stay and deer—both bucks and does—are looking for food.
Of course, I’ll always hunt the rut, but when the venison is truly on the line, give me the week between Christmas and New Year’s.