Posts Tagged ‘hunting the whitetail rut’

Here in N.E. Ohio,the whitetail rut usually peaks right around November 15th.

There’s probably more deer killed on November 15th than any other day of the deer hunting season.

But that’s quantity,that’s not what you want-you want quality-as in the biggest,baddest buck in the area you hunt-you want the dominant buck.

There will be a few challengers around the dominant buck the last two weeks of Oct.

Now is the time to find those few biggest,baddest bucks in the area,as they’ll be fighting and settling which of the big boys is going to be the dominant buck during this year’s rut.

You should know what the food source is in your area,corn and soybeans are being harvested,so try not to focus too much on ag fields-unless they’ve been harvested recently.

Modern farming equipment leaves quite a bit of food for the critters in the fields. Deer will feed in a recently harvested field for at least a week-there’s always some stray ears of corn or some soybeans laying in the fields. There’s enough to keep them coming to the field every evening for at least a few days-usually a week to ten days.

Around here,once acorns start to drop-deer will eat acorns above all other food sources,as they are high in proteins and fats,and winter is fast approaching.

There’s one problem with that in a lot of N.E. Ohio-the cicadas caused a lot of the ends of oak branches to fall off the trees,as the female lays her eggs under the bark,the larvae feed on the wood,then the branch ends turn brown and drop to the ground.The ends of oak branches are where the acorns come from,so…there’s not going to be many acorns in a large part of N.E. Ohio.Yeah,it only affects those of us who live here-but pretty much all of the eastern U.S. gets the cicadas every 7 or 17 years-or both.

Something to think about in the future for those of you who don’t live in N.E. Ohio.

So,if there’s not many acorns-what are the deer going to eat? They’ll hit ag fields hard,then they’ll go for crabapples,apples,any decent greenery that’s not all fiber and no proteins or fats. Deer naturally eat some grasses,weeds,small trees,evergreen trees,and fruits,like apples,pears,blackberries,and grapes-deer love grapes,anyone who’s from or been to N.E. Ohio knows there’s tons of grapevines in our woods.

I’ve already seen plenty of signs of the deer hitting grapevines hard,not 100% sure,but I think they pull on the vines to try and shake some grapes loose. Deer also eat greenbriar,and young maple,dogwood,and sassafrass trees,they’ll eat chestnuts over acorns when both are available-but there’s not many chestnut trees around here. We do have buckeye trees,and I’ve seen deer eat the buckeyes. I don’t know if they wait until the very sharp,prickly outer husk falls off the buckeyes,or if they step on them to get the buckeyes out.

If you aren’t sure what the main food sources are in the area you hunt-contact a wildlife biologist from your state fish and game agency-O.D.N.R. in Ohio-and they’ll be happy to help you out.

Once you have the current food sources located-something you should already know-figure out the nearest bedding areas,and the nearest water sources-something else you should already kow.

Pick several stand locations,so you’ll be able to hunt no matter which way the wind is blowing.

Remember,this time of year,deer are starting to become mostly nocturnal,so you need to hunt mostly at dawn and dusk-except when the rut kicks off-deer are somewhat unpredictable during the rut,but still move mostly at dawn and dusk.

That’s why a some of your stand/blind sites should be between a bedding area and a food or water source,that the deer will be either going to the bedding area-(morning hunts)-or coming from the bedding area-(evening hunts).

Around mid October,bucks start making scrapes. Finding the scrapes will let you find out which bucks are making them-set up a stand or blind along a field edge that has plenty of young trees along it,that’s where they’ll make scrapes,and that’s how you’ll find the big guys.

Around Oct 21st,you can increase your chances of seeing and taking a big buck by making a fake scrape line-I wrote about the techniques Here and Here and Here

It works-plus your fake scrape line will get the attention of the dominant buck,and a couple of the up and coming younger bucks that are right behind the dominant buck in the deer “pecking order”. Deer,especially bucks as the rut approaches-want to know “who” the deer is that made your fake scrape line-and they’ll be checking it out at dawn and dusk.

Starting the last week of Oct.-(for N.E. Ohio)-I start using a grunt tube and estrous bleat can. The calls work-just don’t overdo it early in the season,once November 1st rolls around-use them every 10-15 minutes. I’ll use the grunt tube,then wait 5 minutes,and use the bleat can. Then,after a half hour or so,I’ll repeat the calls.

Last week of October is also the time to rattle,rattling works best from late October,until mid November.

I stopped using real antlers,I just use either the fake antlers,or the pieces of wood that come in a bag-both sound damn near like the real thing. Rattle loudly,and really crack the antlers-or the pieces of wood together-remember,when two bucks fight-you’ve got 150-200+ pound of deer cracking antlers with another 150-200 pound plus deer-they are loud. That’s why you want to really make some noise when you rattle.

I hope this helps someone out-you can look up deer hunting under the categories to the left of the page-click on deer hunting,and there are quite a few posts I did about deer hunting. I’ve been hunting since I was about 10 years old-started out going with my dad-at 16 I was hunting by myself-I was 16 in the 70’s-I’ve got a lot of years in the woods whackin’ deer. Well over 40 years-pushing 50 years hunting deer. That’s counting from when I was 10.

Scouting the area you hunt,finding the food and water sources, knowing what the main food source is at what time of year,and picking good stand/blind locations is at least 90% of what leads to a successful deer hunting season. Sure,there’s guys and ladies who by pure luck and chance get a big buck-but for them,it’s probably the only big buck they’ll ever get. Those of us who consistently whack a deer every year get the deer every year because we put in the time and effort to have the right blind/stand in the right place,at the right time of year.

I don’t use trail cameras-they only tell you where the deer were-not where they are,or are going to be. To successfully use trail cameras-you need at least a dozen of ’em,and I ain’t spending that kind of $$$ on trail cameras-that’s a new bow,a new archery target,a couple pairs of new boots-etc,etc.

I also no longer use tree stand-deer are so used to them that they now look up as they’re walking through the woods. Deer never looked up in the 70’s and 80’s,all it took was enough missed shots,and the deer knew there were guys in the trees in the fall,so while they’re looking up in the trees-I’m behind some camo burlap sitting on a hunting stool. I’ve had does and young bucks walk by the blind and they were less than 10 yards away.

Get out in the woods-get your blinds/stands set up-get a couple spots picked out for your fake scrape lines-make the scrape lines the last week of Oct. and chances are,you’ll get that big buck long before gun season gets here and scatters the deer all over the place for half of December.

*One last tip-figure out the date the rut peaked in your area-then 28 days later the does that did not get bred come into estrous again-so there’s a second,less intense rut,but grunt tubes and bleat cans work well during the second rut.*

Read. Learn.


Do more PT !

This is a re-post of something I wrote last year…

I wrote about this last year Here and Here and Here
*since I wrote those posts last year,I’ve seen 8-10 bucks raking antlers on branches above their scrapes-was too busy hunting to write up a new post on the subject during last year’s rut.*
I’m putting lots of hunting info up long before deer season gets underway.
It’s now September 12th-Ohio’s archery season for deer starts on September 26th-that’s two weeks away people-get out there and get set up,only a month or so away from the time to be making fake scrape lines-so read up on it…
Via Field & Stream Here
Minnesota whitetail nut Billy Jerowski is a fair-minded, modern husband—one whose manhood isn’t threatened by doing dishes or hanging laundry. But he never imagined his domestic experience would improve his deer hunting. That is until after he’d been watching numerous bucks work scrapes, when it dawned on him that the licking branch doesn’t have to be parallel to the ground. “I realized that bucks love getting their antlers up into anything—a deadfall or a vine—whether it hangs vertically or horizontally,” he says. “That got me to thinking.”
The Scrape Line
Always ready to experiment, Jerowski drove to his hunting area and strung a wire tightly between two trees, like a clothesline. To this wire, he hung short lengths of rope, a green tree branch, even a section of grapevine. “I roughed up some dirt below the wire to start the scrape,” he says. “But I doubt I needed to. The bucks just hammered those overhanging ‘branches.’ When I came back to check my experiment, the little scrapes I started under each had been hit so many times they’d melded into one giant scrape.”
Jerowski feels his technique trumps the standard mock scrape for several reasons. “First, I can put it wherever I need it—no need to find the right tree, with the perfect overhanging branch,” he says. Second, hanging several different “branch” materials seems to ensure that a buck will become interested in at least one. “Bucks are curious, and once one starts getting his antlers up into one branch and pawing the ground, it isn’t long before other bucks are in on the action, and hitting all of them.”
Hang Tight
When it comes to constructing this mock scrape line, the keys are “tight and strong,” says Jerowski. Bucks can pull down a light line easily, so use strong wire, cable, or a stout rope. Stretch it tightly between two trees, and tie it securely. “To attach the hanging vines or branches, I use zip-ties and I make sure they’re cinched down tight or bucks will pull them off,” he says. “You can scrape up the ground to get bucks started, but I don’t think it’s necessary. Once they start working those hanging ‘branches,’ the scraping comes naturally. In a couple of weeks you’ll have a super scrape right where you need it to be.”

Sit Tight

Where you hang your “scrape line” should be determined by the best possible stand location. Start by picking a tree that offers a good combination of cover and shooting lanes. Then look for another similarly good stand tree nearby that will allow you to hunt a totally different wind. If you position your mock scrape line so you can shoot to it from either tree, you’ll have a buck magnet you can hunt in almost any breeze, and one that’ll stay hot right through the start of the rut.
Do more PT !