Whitetail Deer: How To Tell If The Rut Is Over

The rut isn’t over just yet, but savvy hunters should know when to pull the plug on rut hunting tactics and shift to post-rut strategies.

Here are five clear signs that the rut is winding down:

1. Doe/fawn groups reunite
A sure sign that the rut is on takes place when marauding bucks break up family units. When momma finally breeds, the bucks leave her alone and she will reunite with her fawns.

2. Does return to commonly used areas
During the rut, does are run off food plots and similar gathering areas by amped up bucks. As the rut winds down, pressure from bucks diminishes and does (accompanied by their fawns) return to their favorite feeding areas.

3. Bucks return to feeding
Rutting bucks normally abandon feeding areas when the rut is on. When the bulk of the breeding is done, instinct tells them to begin the recuperation process and that means adding body weight before winter hits.

4. Bucks buddy up again
Once all the fighting and breeding is over, bucks once again tolerate each other. If you seen a handful of bucks hanging out together, it's a pretty clear indication that the rut is coming to an end.

5. Roadkills tail off
Less chasing means fewer car/deer collisions.

Remember that the rut usually ends as gradually as it begins, and a couple of deer-less treestand sits does not necessarily mean that your rut is over. Compile some evidence. When the majority of deer behavior you are witnessing seems to point to one of the signs above, it’s time to make some tactical adjustments.