This is probably my favorite part of the routine. If you ask me a week from now, I might give you a different answer, of course, but in the meantime, what makes this deadline so great is that everything you’ve learned so far through research and hunting, more or less it still stands. . Bucks aren’t running all over the countryside yet, so you can expect to see them in the usual places. Likewise, haven’t they been pushed into strange covers by searchers yet, so you probably have a good idea where they’re feeding and roosting now.
What’s different – and what makes this period so good – is that bucks are now looking to do things in earnest, which means they’ll suddenly be spending a lot more time on their feet and covering ground in places that you’ve already identified the hottest food sources, the best deer bedding, and top pipes and catch points as your properties. There’s a good chance you’ve already got stands or blinds in the best areas to catch a buck right now. I’m betting on October 30th to kick off the action, and you’ll just have to take to the woods on Sunday to find out if I’m right.
Related: Best Days of the 2022 Whitetail Rut
Rut phase: Research
The Bucks are kind of in split personality mode right now. While they’re still actively working on rubbing lines and refreshing scratches, they’re just as likely to give up all that silly sign-making to just ask for things. Immature money tends towards the latter; their raging hormones almost have them running through deer bedding areas and feeding grounds. Mature money, on the other hand, is usually more patient. They will continue to visit ruts, which mature as they approach estrus, but will also skirt the edges of doe bedding areas and hot food sources, scanning for scent, sounds or signs of a doe in heat. Best of all, they’ll do a fair amount of this during daylight hours and, for the most part, stick to their pre-ground, as opposed to long deer hunting excursions. which come later.
October 30 Morning Hunt Plan: Slide into Doe’s Bedrooms
Doe bedding areas should have been pretty much off limits for hunting up until this point, but now is the time to start flirting with their edges on the morning hunt. Expect bucks to walk any deer trails or travel corridors that lead to these safe havens, as well as filter through feeding areas and lay down for the day. My favorite way to hunt mornings now is to set up on a trail along the downwind edge of a doe bedding area. Not only does this keep my scent from alerting the bed, but it’s also the way a buck will pick up as he scent checks these sanctuaries, hoping to catch a whiff of his first date of the year. Just as bucks know the best food sources to find, they also know where they roost during the day and will make morning milk runs along their upwind fringes.
I tend not to make noise or call too aggressively on these hunts so as not to endanger anything nearby. But if I see a buck with a shot and I have to steer him closer, all bets are off. I start with a snort or maybe a snort, but I might throw in a whistle or two if that’s what it takes.
October 30 evening hunting plan: Have dinner with does
This is the perfect time to spend an evening sitting right in the most popular doe feeding areas. Every dollar around knows where these salads are and will show up to tease the girls and fight for the competition. If I don’t have a stand in place, I like to quickly scout the edge of a food plot, farm field, or oak ridge and then check for the best feeding activity, the hottest trails, and the freshest dollar sign. Then I’ll hang a set at noon and settle in for the afternoon. If the weather is cool or a front is approaching, get up early and stay alert; it’s surprising how early deer will hit a food source when conditions are right this time of year. As with the morning hunt, I will now have my calls and spur horns with me, but will only use them on a buck I see moving out of range. That said, I can get a little more aggressive if I’m in a bustless position that’s in a spot where the deer can’t be swayed by the wind and scent me.
Hot tip: Get the most out of your mast crop
Hard and soft mast crops, including acorns, beech nuts, dates and apples, can be a big deal with deer right now, but in a good mast year, narrowing down the best spots can be a challenge. My friend and Arkansas whitetail expert, Philip VanderPool, likes to focus his research on areas that get the most sunlight, such as openings in timber, field edges, old pastures, and fallow landings. logs. “The mast crops will be more abundant in these areas and I think the fruit tastes sweeter to the deer,” he says. “Increased deer activity will attract the attention of area bucks, who will put up more signs and advise you on the best stand installations.”
So when you’re looking for the hottest deer food sources, don’t forget these less obvious hot spots. If the fruit or nuts are being pulled, the buck will follow, and because the deer doesn’t have to be exposed here like in an open field or plot, the odds of that buck showing up under your stand during shooting light are increased. .
Gear tip: Blow a bleat
With dollars desperately needed by society does, a good phone call can be especially effective now. If you spot a buck that doesn’t seem to be going on its own, give him a nudge and there’s a good chance he’ll come through. The most popular bleat calls, by far, are the tin can style versions. These are great on clam days and at close range, but there’s a problem: in many situations they’re just not loud enough to get a buck’s attention.
The exception to this rule is the can-style Quaker Boy Squeazin’ Bleat call. You don’t get this back. Instead, it comes with a bellows that you squeeze to push air during the call, which gives you better control over volume and tone. But you can get even more volume and overall control by pulling the bellows right out of the call and blowing with your mouth. Another big advantage of the Squeezein’ Bleat is that it doesn’t make small muffled calls in your pocket while you walk.
Read more: 50 expert tips for hunting whitetail grouse