Rut Hunting 101 | Strategies, Tips, Tactics, and Videos
Rut Hunting Strategy, Tactic, Tips, and Videos
The weeks of November…the weeks you have been waiting on for months, are finally here! The next 3 weeks will be the best action in the whitetail woods. You hit-list buck’s guard is down, his hormones have him up on his feet, and he now stands a very good chance of making a mistake within range of your tree stand. Yes the rut is upon us and your chances look good, but it doesn’t automatically mean success. These rut hunting strategies, tips, tactics, and videos will dive into exactly what you should focus on during this time.
Pre-Rut to Rut Transition
The transition from the October lull, to the pre-rut, and now soon to be the rut is fast paced. The rapid changes are hard for hunters to stay on top of and adjust. What was once slow, variable movement, depending mostly on weather fronts has now given way into what can be perceived as even more variable action. The last week of October was expected to bring out more opportunities but instead, your high anticipation might have been met with little to no movement. As the pre-rut approaches the transition to the rut, it is important for you to understand what exactly is going on.
Hunting The Pre-Rut
(video) November is finally upon us. In this episode, the Trophy Pursuit team is hunting the pre-rut, and the action is definitely heating up!
This week on Muddy TV, Trophy Pursuit encountered classic pre-rut deer activity. Both Tayler Riggen and Alexandria Dunkin had bucks showing common behavior. The bucks in this episode relied heavily on scrape use, but also showed they were scent checking and actively searching for does, but seemed to have a reserve to them. During that time bucks scent checked areas and scrapes for signs of the first does to come in. Why they were not actively dogging does and running through the timber, they did show signs that the phase was actively approaching. During the pre-rut phase, hunters relied heavily on their trail cameras to reveal which bucks arrived with an increased home range, which bucks left, and which bucks were susceptible for an encounter with daylight activity. Our mock scrapes were hot, and deer sign like rubs and small scrapes seemed to be visible everywhere in the woods.
With the last week of October now behind us, and the first week of November at our doorstep, we can’t help but wonder what strategy should we change, and where we should be our November hunts on.
Rut hunting Strategies
Before diving into strategies, hunting tips, and tactics, it might be important to discern what we are actually talking about with the term “rut”. The “rut” or actual breeding peak is not what hunters associate with the term. Instead to hunters the term “rut” means endless buck activity, chasing, dogging, fighting, and everything we associate with being the best days in the woods. For the cases of this article “the rut” will encompass the intense action, what hunters might call the “lockdown”, and even the action of the “post-rut”. Why? To think there are actually “stages” to base your hunting off of during November is favorable thinking at best. It’s a hope that you can actually be spot on in predicting what you will see, when in fact, breeding, activity, and behavior will be regional, and very often property specific. With this said, the first 3 weeks of November are the best times to be on the stand, regardless of which “stage” or time period we are determined to be in.
For hunting the “rut” or better said, first three weeks of November, you need a strategy that puts you where the action is! Many hunters hold the belief that just about anywhere, or their tree stand location they call “old reliable” will get the job done. While this might just work with the amount of action and activity we are approaching, a better strategy would be to base your tree stand sites around what actually draws in bucks…does!
Early Rut Hunting Strategies
(Video) Bill Winke covers early rut hunting strategies and exactly where to concentrate hunting efforts on during the morning and the afternoons of early November.
Where should you hunt during the rut? Bill Winke breaks it down into morning and afternoon.
- Bucks will seek out does around bedding areas
- Focus on where does will be bedding after they return from feeding
- Pick a stand location on the downwind side of the bedding area
- Access the stand from the opposite side of the food source
- Does are still feeding in open area, for the most part, bringing the bucks with them
- Both the morning and the evening is based on does and where they are feeding or where they go after they feed.
- Hunt a funnel or an edge of a feeding source
- Do not walk on, or across the main run or section deer will access the area with, keep your scent away from the trail
Trail Camera Tips for the Rut
During November the best trail camera tip can be to not completely rely on your trail camera information. Activity is at an all time high, bucks can suddenly appear or disappear on a property without warning, or being caught on your trail cameras. Even if you have a camera per 10 acres, your chances are still slim to catching ALL deer movement. This means that your trail cameras are not always correct or reliable for making decisions on. The fact is that you should hunt in the locations above, regardless of what your cameras tell you!
However, you should still optimize every trail camera location and site to capture as much activity as they can. The information will guide hunting this year but more importantly will reveal how the intense deer movement worked across your property for next year’s hunting. The cameras might also catch information pertaining to which bucks leave the property, stick around, or are extremely daylight active, giving you insights on who to target next year.
Trail Camera Tips For November and the Rut
(Video)- This week go with solid tactics and trail camera tips, which are placing trail cameras on food sources, by bedding areas being reasonable with human pressure, and of course on funnels!
Remember these settings and tips when you are setting up trail cameras for the rut!
- Location: where the does will be (food sources, doe bedding areas, transition areas between food and bedding)
- Setup: At a 45-degree angle from the run, trail, or funnel. High to avoid spooking bucks.
- Settings: long video ( 1 minute +) or series of multiple photo bursts (6-8 ) with a short delay ( < 10 seconds)
Trail cameras with settings such as 4 + photo bursts or longer than a 1-minute video are not common. The Muddy trail cameras feature these settings and more, and it might be well worth having the extra capabilities during the peak of deer activity!
Insert Pro Cam 12 PNG on left with info on the right – https://www.gomuddy.com/muddy-outdoors-trail-cameras/
- 12 Megapixel
- 2 – 8 Photo Bursts
- 1280 x 720 HD With Sound or VGA (32 FPS) with Sound Video
- 2-minute video capability
- 6 Second Trigger Speed
- Invisible Flash with 36 HE LEDs
- Simple to Program
- Backlit LCD Screen to easily navigate through settings any time of day
Make the most out of November and the rut with these rut hunting strategies, tips, and tactics. If you liked the information and series of deer hunting videos and web shows used in this blog, visit Muddy TV each week. Shows like Trail Cameras Weekly, Whitetail 101, Trophy Pursuit, and Hallowed Ground relay the latest information from their hunts, trail cameras, and observations to support their content and predictions so you are up to date.
This week take the advice and do yourself a favor. Setup trail cameras, tree stands, and hunting sites based on where the does will be. Just as the videos have shown you, get out and hunt, these upcoming weeks will be filled with some of the best action you will see!