We’re at the point in the whitetail season where the rut is rapidly approaching. In less than a week, the oldest bucks around your property are going to start trying to chase around the does. While the does won’t quite be in heat yet (for the most part), it will be a good chance to catch the big guys starting to slip up in their routines and get a little more daytime active.
The fact is, love it or hate it the rut is going to go into full swing anytime after Halloween and it could throw a serious wrench into your plans to get a shot at that buck you’ve been watching on trail camera all summer. These last two weeks of October are your best chance of killing him if you can do so without bumping him off the property. Once the rut is in full swing, all hell can break loose in the woods and that buck may be running several properties away chasing does on your neighbors property—and if your neighbor hunts, that can spell trouble for your plans.
However, the rut isn’t all doom and gloom and there is certainly a good chance of getting some looks at bucks you haven’t seen yet this year. They may show up chasing does on your property. It goes both ways. If you are targeting a specific buck then you may want to put a plan in motion to move in for the kill sooner than later because if he leaves your land he may not be back before rifle season when anything can happen.
I’m not suggesting you go marching into the bedding area 5 days in a row and burn him out. That can have the effect of sending him packing to a nearby piece of property too. Small calculated risks, though, can pay dividends right now. Try a bump and dump strategy. Hunt a couple of mornings. Hang a mobile stand 200 yards from a buck bed while remaining upwind. Break out the grunt calls, do some light rattling, even set up a decoy.
Get ready, because the rut is coming!