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November Daily Rut Tactics

by Dana Rogers


Pre-Rut
November
1-6

Look for rubs and scrapes on the edges of tree strips and creek bottom drainages. Food source edges and crop fields are often the easiest places to identify the rub and scrape activity. They will be getting worked increasingly by the day as the bucks’ level of frustration continues to rise as the majority of the does are not quite ready for receptive breeding just yet.

Tactics I like to employ during this period include grunting and rattling. I start off lightly and continue to push the envelope of aggressive and louder calling with both the grunt tube and rattling antlers. Areas with less pressure and stress with a good tight buck-to-doe ratio will see much more success with calling and rattling tactics.

This is the week I really like the practice of decoying on those field edges next to cover and doe groups. There are several good decoys on the market today. Place the buck decoy facing your stand about 15 yards upwind. Be ready to shoot when a buck comes in and postures or you will likely wind up watching the buck thrash your setup.

There will be a very small percentages of does bred during this week, but most won’t. The oldest does seem to come open and breed first. If you find a good hot signpost run or primary scrape the last days of October and the first of November, hang and hunt with the wind on your favor. This is the week to hunt that steaming hot sign as the bucks will be moving more and more during daylight hours as the days pass along.

 

The
Seeking/Chasing
Frenzy
November
7-14

Things are really heating up now and it’s the time we’ve all been waiting for in the way of the most movement. Frustrated bucks and breeding starts in earnest. I still recommend the grunt tube, rattling antlers and decoys, but with even more intensity and force. I often rattle and grunt from the ground during this period and sometimes I literally roll on the ground, breaking sticks and growl with the grunt tube on many occasions. The dominant buck is more likely to pick a fight, or check out and challenge other bucks they think may have cornered one of the estrous does.

I don’t pay attention to buck rubs and scrapes this week, as does are nearly ready and more will be popping all the time. Bucks are covering a lot of ground now. I’m going to employ a few different tactics here. I’m going to do some glassing from vantage points and even from the road via pickup. I’m also hunting more terrain features like pinch point funnels and creek crossings. Bucks are moving.

You’re hunting does now as bucks will be right there moving from doe group to doe group. I also like to use estrous doe scents at this time, and employ drag rags and hanging scent wicks to and from my stand. I’m hunting all day every day this week and packing a lunch. Buck movement will come at all times of the day and you can often see some great movement between that 11 a.m.-1 p.m. time.

 

Peak
Breeding
--
Lockdown
November
15-23

I’m still hunting this week of course, but it can turn into a frustrating time frame, with more does that come into heat and get moved out away from the normal bedding and living areas. You’ll still see movement but this is when I often find a good buck way out in an open stubble field or pasture bedded down with a hot doe for that 72-hour period she’s receptive. If the ratio is good you’ll still see sub-dominant bucks moving as well as bucks trying to locate that next hot doe once the one they just left went out of heat.

If you’re in a pressured area, try hunting during the week. Monday through Thursday are great times when most other hunters are at work. Gun seasons may also be starting in your area so pressured movement will put the rut toward nighttime hours and under cover of darkness once the first wave of bucks are tagged and riding in the back of a pickup.

For areas that are still strictly bowhunting, I love decoying from the ground if you can locate a locked-down buck you want to shoot. Garrett Roe of Heads Up Decoys out of Kansas makes some great buck and doe head decoys that attach to your bow (www.headsupdecoy.com). If you have a slough or some stubble with height enough to stalk in close, this decoy game can be a fantastic and exciting method to fill your tag and be aggressive while most of the deer are laying low and more of them have been harvested.

 

Post
Rut
November
24
on
out

It’s starting to slow down now and become much tougher to bowhunt. Movement is slowing as more pressure is being put on deer and there are fewer of them alive the longer the season progresses.

I still hang onto those rattling antlers and grunt call, but I’m using them sparingly and much softer now. I put away the decoys and transition away from the sign to the food. It’s getting to the point where it’s all about survival and the rut is but a memory.

This is the time of year that all my summer food plot work comes into play. I planted 40 acres of Real World Wildlife seed soybeans in May and this is the week that they will really start to pay off. Temperatures are dropping and there’s likely several inches of snow on the ground. The native grasses I planted from Real World Wildlife seed Bedding in a bag mix also comes in as critical thermal habitat that’s vital the rest of the way. (realworldwildlifeseed.com)

 

Check yourself each day and watch your surroundings this November. The rut marches on no matter what the moon or weather is doing. Take some of these tips and tactics to the field this November and I think they’ll help you be successful.

Anytime you’re afield, please remember to show respect for the land, the landowner and wildlife.