American Hunter - November 2016 - 62


tactics&technique

12
TIPS
FOR THE RUT
During the rut, the bucks themselves may not always know where they will
be next, so how can you expect to know? Luck will always play a role in your
success, but when you play the odds and focus on those things that are predictable, luck will find you a whole lot sooner.

D

on't over-think this. Bucks have
very basic motives this time of
year. As long as you line up
with those motivations and
don't let the bucks know you are hunting
them, eventually you will be successful.
Here are a dozen tips to help you simplify the rut this season.

1

Hunt Scrape Lines Early
Then Forget 'Em
You can catch bucks on scrapes during
the last two weeks of October and the
first few days of November.
Start by picking the right scrapes to
hunt over. You want scrape lines, not individual scrapes. Scrape lines are located
along a buck's travel route. They are not
found on the edge of an open field.
You are not hunting the scrapes as
much as you are hunting the travel routes
the bucks used when they made them.
The scrapes just tell you which routes to
focus on.
Though bucks are not on strict feeding patterns during this time, they are
still roaming within their home ranges
and still using feeding areas regularly-
they grab a few bites, check on a few
does then keep moving. So the simplest scrape lines to find are those leading toward feeding areas. You can just

By Bill Winke, Field Editor
work backwards a hundred yards from
the bedding area and set up.
When you start to see bucks aggressively chasing does, it's time to stop
hunting scrapes and start hunting does.

2

Hunt Does to Find the Big
Bucks
Once bucks start aggressively chasing does, shift all your focus to finding
the best doe patterns. In most parts of
North America, this occurs during the
first week of November. The bucks will
stop using their normal travel patterns
and begin to look for does.
From this point forward, buck sign
becomes much less useful. The sign only
marks where a buck has been, not where
he will be. If you want to know where he
will be, just consider what he is looking
for: does! Find the does and you will find
the bucks. Spend your time where the
does concentrate and in stands overlooking any funnels between two such places.

3

Bottlenecks Simplify the Rut
If you have limited time to scout,
focus all your efforts on bottlenecks.
They are easy to find. When bucks are
traveling, they like to use the path of
november 2016 ❘

least resistance as long as it keeps them
hidden. Anytime you can find a seam in
the terrain, or a strip of cover that offers
both concealment and easy passage, you
have a potential hotspot.
You don't need to know much about
the deer in the area, you just need an eye
for spotting bottlenecks, and you can be
successful during the rut.
Terrain-related funnels include saddles, steep bluffs, ditch crossings and
river crossings, to name just a few.
Cover-related funnels can include brushy
fence lines, narrow fingers of cover and
the inside corners of open fields that
extend into thick timber. Any narrow
strip of cover can be a bottleneck if it
lies between where a buck is and where
he wants to be (the next area where does
concentrate).

4

Hunt From the Outside In
When hunting a new area it is best
to stay conservative. Choose a vantage point such as a brushy fence line, a
long finger of cover or a creek crossing
for your stand. These are simple spots
to find and they are easy to get to and
from without bumping into deer. You
can learn as you hunt without the risk of
burning out your hunting area.
It takes discipline not to rush right in

62 ❘ americanhunter.org


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Hunter - November 2016

Contents
American Hunter - November 2016 - CW1
American Hunter - November 2016 - CW2
American Hunter - November 2016 - Cover1
American Hunter - November 2016 - CW3
American Hunter - November 2016 - CW4
American Hunter - November 2016 - C2
American Hunter - November 2016 - 1
American Hunter - November 2016 - Contents
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American Hunter - November 2016 - C102
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