Hunting > Whitetails

Whitetail Rut: November 8-14

Last days of pre-breeding and into the peak rut, he'll be running wild.

Buck Behavior: Last days of pre-breeding and into the peak rut. You’re apt to see a buck prowling with his nose to the ground (with or without a doe in sight), chasing a gal flat-out, standing over a doe and guarding her or even mounting one. Studies show that most mature does come into heat around Nov. 7 or 8, and 80 percent of them will be bred over the next two weeks. If you suddenly stop seeing bucks on the move, the “lockdown” has begun; mature 8- and 10-pointers have moved receptive does away from competing lesser bucks and carted them off to thickets where they’ll shack up for at least two days.

Key sign: Well-trampled doe trails, buck tracks (3 to 4 inches long and 2 inches wide)

Moon: Last quarter on the 9th (as the bright moon wanes, anticipate deer movement to be best in the mornings)

Science fact: A Texas study of radio-collared bucks found that all of them (100 percent) left their home ranges during the rut and went on doe excursions; some of those trips lasted one to three days and covered 1 to 5 miles.

Top stands: You can’t beat a timbered ridge flanked by row crops on two sides; or better, grain on one side and CRP, a swamp or other heavy cover on the opposite border. One November Illinois whitetail expert Dan Perez hunted a ridge like that and had 18 bucks run past his stand with one hot doe—they were moving so fast, he couldn’t get a shot at the 190-incher in the rear! You can have amazing action like that on the right ridge this week. The more sign there, the better. It ought to smell like a barnyard of deer pee.

A great all-day stand for gun hunting is a point-to-point crossing. Hang a lock-on or ladder just inside a strip of trees that juts out into a weed field and creates a pinch with the timber on the far side of the field. Bucks trolling for or chasing does will move all day in this type of cover. You might spot a 10-pointer herding a doe out into the cover to breed her. Rattle to stop him for a shot. Or, if the terrain and cover permit, think about climbing out of your stand and stalking him.

Hot tactics: Lay a hot-doe trail into your stand, remove boot pads or drag line, hang it on a limb 4 feet off the ground and juice it some more; you can’t put too much “eau de doe” in the air now. Keep rattling; you might call in nearly as many bucks this week as last. Blow urrrp, urrrp, urrrp or urrrg, urrrg, urrrg for 10 to 20 seconds or longer on your grunt call; sound throaty and gurgly, like a horny old buck tending a doe. Mix in sassy bleats—meaaa, meaaa, meaaa—on a can-type call; a rut-crazed buck might hear it and come in.

Best tactic: Sit in a good stand all day, you might shoot your buck anytime. Best Tactic No. 2: Even if you don’t see a shooter from your best stand one day, come back tomorrow and the next day; a big buck on a doe excursion won’t be on your land every day, but he’ll swing through eventually—be there when he shows.

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3 Responses to Whitetail Rut: November 8-14

Dave wrote:
November 18, 2012

The rut going to hunt in october only 1 time in 10 years did i see any rutting action. Used a weeks vacation for what seemed to be a lock down period 11/10--11/18

Fred wrote:
November 03, 2010

The 9th will be the third day of the new moon. The 13th is the first quarter, waxing, not waning. Molon Labe Fred

paul stein wrote:
November 03, 2010

Great article - very helpful. When it comes to the rut, there are so many strategies and misconceptions. This info is straightforward, useful for all areas, and gives good specific points - and as deer season starts, I'm looking forward to putting this information into practice!