Good tips for hunting the whitetail rut require the hunter to adapt to different whitetail deer behaviors as the rut moves from phases to pase. Here are some good tips for hunting the peak of the rut also known as the "full rut."
- Bucks typically will hang out with a doe for 24-36 hours. A good tip here is to to set up on a highly traveled doe trail. Scouting will help determine a great site to set up on but if you dont have time to scout, pick a food source or a water hole. Doe's will continue to travel trails that lead to common food and water sources if they are not being chased. Since daylight is becoming less of an abundance, set up further in the woods so you have more time to get a shot.
- During the rut, bucks will often find a mate and bed down together. This helps both the buck and doe conceal their identity and remove the risk for conflict with other bucks. Check scrapes and rubs as these can often be more of a sign of a bedding area more than a scrape or rub line.
- Bucks often will reduce their workload by simply watching and listening, and this may be done with little travel at all. Doe's will often let bucks know if they are interested or not. If she is not she may simply urinate on the ground to let the buck identify that she is not in estrus. If she is interested she will hold her tail straight out and walk in a stiff legged trot. Ridgelines and hilltops allow for bucks to do this surveying with little travel, set up just off of the ridge and do a little estrus bleat and listen up, he may be closer than you think.
- Here is a neat trick to try, does in estrus will respond well to grunts during the peak rut. If you see does, try grunting them in. Once the does are within 30 - 40 yards, try using a soft estrus bleat. You are basically telling the bucks that may be watching, exactly what they want to hear without the does really even telling him.
- Open areas may be your best opportunity during this phase. Dominant bucks care about one thing and one thing only, women. If you were the big boy on campus, you can show your stuff off by hiding in the woods, you want the women to see you. Watch the edges of open areas and fields as dominant bucks may take the road less traveled to help improve his visibility to women.