It’s here – the month we’ve all been waiting for. While the last week or so of October is generally underrated and offers much better deer hunting than many realize, there’s no denying that the calendar run through November generates another level of excitement for whitetail hunters. Basically, this means that the rut, proper—the heart of the breeding season—has begun. And the forests are about to explode with activity.
And I’m betting on November 5th – this coming Saturday – to have the most explosive activity, as the doe-chasing phase should begin, with deer running through the woods late into the morning, well before to dark and maybe even midday when it comes to the biggest bucks. The question is, where should you put it? And what tactics should you use? We’ve got the answers below, but first, here’s what you can expect to encounter in the white woods this weekend.
Related: Best Days of the 2022 Whitetail Rut
Rut phase: Pursuit
This is the stage of the routine that most deer hunters love best—and it’s hard to miss, with bucks running through the timber and panicked screaming bucks in tow. And what activity you don’t see, you can very well hear: hooves pounding through the leaves, branches snapping, grunts, growls, screeches, horns clacking together, and generally the sounds of total chaos in the forest. As the name implies, the chase phase means that the buck is no longer content to observe or control the scent; instead, they are now physically chasing every female that may be just hours from being open to breeding. When not engaged in an active pursuit, bucks are hypervigilant for any sight or sound of an exterminator that might join them. How any given doe responds to this harassment is a mixed bag; if she is close to estrous and scratching is not too severe, a doe can tolerate a nose or two around her. But if it turns into a big buck chase, a deer will usually run at top speed until it finds cover. Madness is short-lived, often only a few days, but I’m betting that on November 5th I’ll be one of them.
Nov. 5 Morning Hunt Plan: Call In a Buck near a Doe bedding area
Once again, your knowledge of deer bedding areas is great now. For your morning hunt, you’ll want to be in a stand or blind located near these areas, along a natural terrain funnel or other vantage point. And if you’re ever going to be a whitetail caller, this is the time to build your confidence, because bucks are so attuned to finding other deer, they’re alert to any sound that remotely mimics a whitetail. . In fact, I’ve long said that the absolute best call is the one that was never invented – the sounds of deer crunching through leaves. If you’re shooting from the ground, don’t hesitate to mimic that commotion (with safety in mind, of course). I have seen more bucks run to the sound of a chase than any manufactured call. That said, grunting, buying, and snorting are all extremely effective now. And if you’ve never spanked, this is the magic window to get that first one under your belt.
November 5 Evening Hunting Plan: Hunting scratch lines on macro tubes
Bucks will be on the move in search of mates this Saturday, and one of the first places they’ll look is the main snags, especially those located in the macro-pipes that connect multiple covers. Scout quickly during midday to find freshly worked ruts in funnels connecting large sections of cover or between deer bedding areas and food, and immediately place on the best mark you find. The beauty of this setup is that any macro funnel itself is apt to be on fire right now as bucks cover tons of ground, and a fresh scratch line is a bonus that makes the spot even better. I love this part of the routine mainly because in most of the environments I hunt and the areas I frequent, I don’t expect to see many deer. What I foresee is a possibility that the monstrous buck I might have seen, or caught on my trail cameras, has been more or less a ghost. There are only a few times he will make a mistake all fall, and this is one of them.
Hot tip: Pull out a fake
Decoys can be clunky, noisy and a general pain in the butt, but hot damn is there no more exciting way to lure in a great buck and now is the time. Place it in a high visibility area such as a food source or grassy area around one, and place your fakes upwind and within easy shooting range of your stand. If you’re not seeing deer, get the calls that will attract bucks to your setup. Bucks are often so focused on covering the ground and using their noses to find any sign of open action that they are apt to walk past your decoy, so hit them with a call. to make them look up. I’m always amazed at how many hunters will let a buck run in front of them and consider it bad luck. For heaven’s sake, if you spot a buck cruising by that won’t naturally fit into your setup, make a little noise to get his attention. And when he breaks down to come check out your scam, be ready.
Gear tip: Double up on Deer Decoys
At this time of year, it’s hard to say what’s more effective, a subdominant doe or a doe. Any real buck that isn’t actively chasing or grooming a doe will happily go in to kick an unknown “rival’s” butt. On the other hand, it is that the money is mostly behind now. For me, the best answer is to go with one of each.
If you’re hunting a spot where a buddy can drop you off in a truck or side-by-side (making it easy to carry two carts as one), then place a subdominant bait next to a bed or feeder. sly doe. This configuration promises a mature money the two main things in which he is most interesting now: a fight and a meeting.