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Episode 21

In the Wind

This week we're waiting for the right wind to get into a high traffic area!  When the wind switches to the south, it's game on.

Talking Points

Biology of the Rut
 There are five phases of the rut, and each phase means different hunting tactics. Here’s a brief description of each phase.

Episode In Depth

In this week’s show the rain has set in on Cottonmouth! The guys are waiting for the weather to break so they can get into the woods to chase after some rut crazed bucks. Lake strikes first using a combination of the Can and Buck Roar II to call a great pre-Christmas 9 pointer into range. The next day Jimmy is sitting on the Secret Patch, in a SurroundView Blind. The rain is steadily falling but even though there are small holes in the SurroundView fabric, it stays water resistant. Check out this video for more info SurroundView in the Rain. Jimmy spots a giant wide buck in the woods and it comes out into the food plot where Jimmy promptly sends a round through the ol’ bruiser! Will and Jimmy head out, and will encounters a great young buck but lets him live another year. Jimmy is in the blind trying to shoot a few does, when another buck comes into the plot. Jordan grabs Jimmy’s gun and shoots a 3rd buck, wrapping up a fantastic week at Cottonmouth!
 
The Pre-Rut is one of the most exciting time to be in the woods, as bucks are chasing does making it easier to catch one on it’s feet in the daylight. Here are a few tips for capitalizing on a great buck during the Pre-Rut
  
Pre-Rut
 
The Pre Rut is a time period when the bucks know the does are coming into estrus soon, and they’ll start cruising around in search. Generally the early part of the pre-rut is marked by younger bucks running around in search of a doe. The mature deer are smart enough to wait until the does are very close to coming into estrus before they start to get careless.

There really are two parts the the pre-rut. The second part of the pre-rut is the chasing phase. This is the time to be in the woods. Big deer are on their feet, in search of a doe in heat. As a general rule of thumb peak chasing normally occurs right around the 8th-14th of November in the Upper Midwest, Canada and the Northeast United States. Once you get south of the Mason-Dixon, rut dates can vary wildly.
 
Peak Breeding
 
The peak breeding phase of the rut is closely tied to the chasing phase. Deer movement breaks wide open, and it’s a fantastic time to kill a buck.
 
Lockdown
 
This is one of the most frusturating times of the rut. When a buck finds a hot doe he will stick with her, and keep them close under their thumb. He’ll often pin her down in an out of the way location and keep her to himself until she is bred. The lockdown phase doesn’t happen all at once, and when a buck breeds a doe, he’ll be back on his feet chasing.
 
Second Estrus cycle
 
This happens to some extent in the upper portions of the United States but it’s much more pronounced in the southern regions. This is when unbred does will come back into heat if they haven’t been bred during the first go round. Normally it will occur two weeks after the peak breeding time. Some young of the year fawns will also come into heat. While the second cycle isn’t nearly as hot and heavy as the first, it’s still a viable option to kill a mature deer.
 
 
 
Tactics to Kill a Pre-Rut Buck
 
Calling 
 
Calling is a great way to attract a mature buck into gun or bow range. If you want to learn more about using calls to pull in a giant, read this comprehensive guide with video included.
 
 
Decoying
 
Decoying deer is a super fun way to kill a trophy buck. The interaction of the deer with the decoy will sear an image in your mind you’ll never forget. Many people opt to use a buck decoy such as Scar, to attract a buck. You’ll likely encounter the best success if you’re hunting a property with a high buck to doe ratio. The reason for this is because there is more competition for does, and bucks are more apt to get into a brawl. The best areas to put out a decoy are areas where there is high visibility such as CRP fields and open timber. If you’re using a decoy in an agricultural field, place it near the edge so the buck has to come up and get a better look. Using a doe decoy isn’t always a great idea because curious does will come up to it and know something is wrong.
 
Best Areas to Hunt During the Pre-Rut
 
Food Sources
 
Just like in this episode, food plots can be a great place to find a buck during the pre-rut. The bucks know there will be does in the food plot and will come scent checking it for a hot doe. Many times it’s a good idea to get off the food plot on the down wind side because a lot of mature bucks will never even get into the plot, and will skirt it downwind trying to smell a doe in heat before he reveals himself.
 
Bedding Areas
 
For some of the best midday action, a bedding area is a fantastic bet. Normally we save these areas for the best days of the rut because you don’t want to push deer out of the bedding area prior to prime time. Set up again on the downwind side and you’ll find bucks crusing, scent checking for hot does in the area.
 
Pinch Points
 
There are no doubts, bucks are moving more this time a year than any other time. Pinch points between two blocks of timber can be straight money. Even though a buck might be rut crazed he’ll often still want to travel within cover. These spots can be great to catch a buck moving from one area to the next looking for does. The reason why pinch points work are because it funnels the deer movement down to one tighter area, and the chances of you seeing him increase greatly.