Best places to hunt during the rut
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Best places to hunt during the rut

White-tailed deer remain among the most mysterious animals known to hunters. Which makes hunters which makes it one of the favorite topics for hunters to talk about.

From November to early December, The Deer Rut gets into full gear. This is one of the rare times when wily old bucks make mistakes. The rut can expand well into December, but the first two weeks of November are key.

To make sure you don’t miss your chance this time to capture the true trophy we made a list to show you the best places to hunt during the rut.

  • Small Patches of Cover.
  • Habitat Edges.
  • Trails.
  • Food Sources.
  • The Suburbs.
  • Where the Does Hang Out.
  • Wooded Draws.
  • Marshes and Swamps.

Best places to hunt during the rut

Hunting spot for deer
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To get the most out of your deer season and catch on a big buck this year, Try to focus on hunting in these locations to maximize your chance of winning the big prize.

Small Patches of Cover

Most people tend to walk right past fence lines, overgrown ponds, and small stands of timber without taking a second look.

Therefor, Bucks feel more safe and less pressured, Which makes it a great place to catch a deer unaware.

These places are perfect for bucks since they tend to offer them a place to lie-up with a good view, and you’ll be surprised how many big deer you can find in a small patch of land.

Habitat Edges

Habitat edges are one of the best places to tag your buck deer since they like to hang out at the junction along the forested edge of an agricultural field…etc.

Also, Look for places where dense bedding cover butts up against feeding areas.

Both bucks and does will travel along these natural corridors, So make sure to position yourself here and plan to sit all day.

You’re also likely to catch a buck as he transitions between feeding, bedding and searching for does.

Trails

As rutting activity increases, bucks are frequently on the move, patrolling for does and keeping an eye out for rivals.

If a buck isn’t actively trailing a doe that’s ready to breed, you’re likely to find him cruising along the trails in his home range.

Focus your attention on heavily used trails that lead into and out of bedding cover and be ready to intercept a buck at any time.

This is a good place to catch a buck unawares as he is transitioning from patrolling his territory to lying up in dense cover.

Food Sources

Contrary to popular belief, bucks do utilize food sources during the rut.

The caloric demands of trailing and breeding does require bucks to spend a portion of their time during their rut feeding.

While most hunters are busy trying to shoot a buck that’s preoccupied with does that are ready to breed, make sure you position yourself near a known food source.

Big bucks are often taken by surprise when they come to feed, and does that are coming to a food source will often draw in resident bucks.

The Suburbs

Some of the biggest bucks are hanging out just outside the city limits.

If you’ve got a place to hunt on the edge of the urban sprawl, you’re likely to have an opportunity to tag a really nice deer during the rut.

Suburban deer spend their time moving from one patch of undisturbed cover to the next, and you need to be in a position to cut them off.

These deer are often relegated to small patches of cover, so spend your time in the transition zones that will bring the deer into range as they move from one area to the next.

Where the Does Hang Out

Bucks are focused on does, and if you do the same you’ll be in position to intercept a big deer.

Because does tend to have much smaller home ranges than bucks, you’ll find those does in the same areas throughout the season.

Once rutting activity starts, position yourself within the home range of those does, especially at the edge of heavy cover. They’ll bring the big bucks right to you.

Wooded Draws

When a buck isn’t on the move, he’ll likely look for a secure place to bed down, and one of the best places is in a wooded draw.

They provide excellent cover, and in the evening the cool thermals will pull scent into these areas.

In the morning, you can catch bucks that are returning from patrol, and in the evening you’ll be in position to see the deer when he begins moving again.

Narrow creek beds are a good place to set up shop, and you’re likely to be in position to catch a deer transitioning between resting periods and actively searching for does.

Marshes and Swamps

Wet ground provides bucks with a safe haven from hunters and a good place to while away the midday hours.

Sometimes this swampy ground is hard to hunt, and these areas are oftentimes overlooked by hunters who are focusing on more traditional locations.

You can either still-hunt these areas or set up on the edge of the wet ground, and expect bucks to pass in and out of these areas at any time of the day.

When they show up, you’ll be ready.

Deer rutting behavior to look for

buck and does Deer behavior
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To become an achieved hunter and get the job done during the rut, You have to be able to recognize behaviors the bucks tend to exhibit. Here are some of those behaviors. Learn More

Rubbing

Even though it is one of the easiest hints to catch, It is still very important not only identify it but also to really understand why deer do it.

Research claims that bucks don’t rub to mark their territory and that bucks aren’t territorial in the traditional sense.

So what are rubs supposed to mean? The claim is that they use it as a sort of communicative signposts.

Scraping

This is also another very easy behavior to spot when seen. Yet again, It is just as important as any other hint.

Most people think this one is a sign of dominance to mark his territory but just like rubbing there is scientist that says the opposite.

Instead, The bucks and does deer use this scraping method as a way to communicate with the rest of the group.

Lip Curling

Also referred to as flehman, lip curling plays an essential role in the rut.

When a buck lip curls, the urine-scent from the doe passes across the vomeronasal organ in the roof of the buck’s mouth.

However, the reason we know for sure this is not the buck checking for estrus status is because that organ does not lead to the decision-making part of a buck’s brain.

Instead, it leads to a part of the brain that controls physiological and reproductive responses. In essence, it’s a sexual stimulant for bucks.

When a buck is flehman (lip curling), it’s elevating its body to be in peak breeding status the same time the doe is.

Posturing

During the rut, and even during much of the rest of the year, deer will posture to show their dominance.

But, again, it’s certainly the most prevalent leading up to and during the big dance.

When a deer postures, it’s saying to all of the other deer around it that it’s the boss.It’s the dominant deer in the area. And if one of the bucks doesn’t back down, a fight will ensue.

You’ll recognize this behavior by the pinned ears, bristled hair, lowered head, rigged body and stiff-legged walking.

Vocalization

Deer are very vocal animals. Much more so than most people realize, but they’re especially so during the Pre-Rut and rut.

Some vocalizations to know include: social grunts, tending grunts, buck growl/roar, snort-wheeze, etc.

Knowing these when you hear them will give you insight as to what’s happening in the deer woods so that you can act accordingly.

Plus, it makes your calling efforts much more fruitful when you know what you’re communicating to the deer around you.

how to call/attract a buck deer during the rut

Deer calling
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Knowing how to call and attract a buck/does deer during the rut is a very important point to implement so you can make your hunt more efficient.

Here is a list of ways to do by using either sound or scent.

Using Sound

Fawn Bleat Call

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Accurately produces the quiet, contented bleats of a calm fawn and loud, frantic fawn-in-distress sounds. Easy to use, with a volume loud enough to reach distant deer.

Doe Bleat Call

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Developed after careful observation of young deer in distress.

The call appeals to the natural instincts in parent animals to respond to a fawn’s cries of distress. Call brings in both does and bucks close . 

Buck Grunt Call

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Reproduces a deep, resonating aggressive grunt that is made by bucks during the rut.

Bucks make this aggressive grunt when they are trying to get an Estrus doe to stop or to warn other bucks to get away from the hot doe they are trailing. 

Snort Wheeze Call

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Just like the last one, The snort wheeze call can produces a realistic snort wheeze that is howled by bucks during the rut.

Using Scent

Smell Scent
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Doe and Buck Urine

This is exactly what it sounds like. It’s simply urine from a deer on any average day.

These are useful for calming a deer’s nerves and raising their curiosity level since it simulates a new deer in the area.

It can be used during any hunting season, since deer pee in the woods all the time. Generally, doe urine will attract does and bucks, while buck urine will only attract other bucks.

It’s also a useful cover scent as you’re walking into your tree stand since it’s a fairly common place.

When used in combination with some of the other scents below, they can become a powerful lure.

Doe Estrous Scent

This scent is gathered from a doe as she is in heat (often called estrous or estrus). Hormones change and the chemistry of a doe’s urine signals to bucks that she is ready to mate.

By using this scent on the front or back end of typical rut periods, you can usually convince a buck that smells it to come investigate.

It can also work during the peak rut, but sometimes they will already be locked down with breeding does.

Try as you might, you’re probably not going to get a buck to leave a hot doe to check out a scent during this time period

Buck Tarsal Gland Scent

If you’ve ever seen a buck make a scrape, you’ll know that it often holds its back legs together and urinates down them.

This urine trail will flow over the tarsal glands which infuses it with additional oily secretions and hormones that indicate a deer’s status and hierarchy in the herd.

While deer use this communication style throughout the fall, it should really only be used when bucks are actively rutting and checking scrapes for the maximum impact.

hunting food plots during rut

Deer eating food from plot
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In general, food plots are best hunted in the afternoon. Outside the rut deer are there for only one reason, to feed.

You can get there ahead of them in the afternoon, but in the morning they’re already there; and all you’ll succeed in doing is chasing them off.

That rule of thumb changes slightly during the rut, when bucks are cruising for does.

It may take a buck several hours to follow up the trail of a hot doe. She may be long gone, but her scent will remain.

Furthermore, bucks are repeatedly checking areas of doe concentrations – like food plots – and could show up at any time.

If you want to learn more about it Check this site.

Conclusion: how to hunt deer peak rut

In the end, We hope you enjoyed our guide on what are the best places to hunt during the rut and how to do it in the most efficient way possible.

If you have anything you would like to add whether it is a question or a suggestion, Make sure to leave it down below in the comment section.

If you not a hunter yet but still want to learn about the topic, Go check our guide on how to go hunting for the first time.

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