Hunting the Late Rut
While the heavy chasing action may be behind us for 2014, it is not yet time to give up on your hunting season for a big, rutted out buck. We wait all year for the rut but many hunters seem to give up too quickly if they don’t tag out by the first two weeks of November. With gun seasons underway or starting soon in most states, you still have a great opportunity to tag some of the biggest bucks in the woods, so don’t give up yet!
How to Hunt the Late Rut
Doe Bedding Areas
I feel like I really beat this to death, but during the rut, bucks want does. Find the thickest, nastiest doe bedding area and set up on a trail leading into it. If other hunters have been pounding the area, make sure that you set up away from where they were going, or on the back side of where they’d push deer to. Circle downwind when you set up and you could be in a dynamite set up for when the big boys come out. Mid-day sits are still some of the best and the big bucks, unless pressured intensely, will still be looking for the older, hot does that will be coming into estrous.
Hunt the Pressure
If you’re a public land hunter, or a private land hunter who has been hunting the same setups often, mix it up. Try to think like a deer. If the hunters have been coming to a consistent spot and pushing deer, circle that spot and get around them. Getting down wind and setting up where they will be pushed to earlier (especially on public land) can lead to bucks cruising right by your stand.
Lay Off the Calls
By now the deer in the woods have probably had almost everything in the book thrown at them as far as deer calling goes. Unless you’re on a large managed property, free of pressure, I’d suggest laying off the calls. Deer calling can work, and it has it’s place, but blind calling late in November is probably not going to lead to a big buck running into your setup.
The biggest tip that I can give you is to get out there! Don’t give up yet. You waited all year for the rut and November and while you may be burned out and miss your family, you can’t give up yet. Remember, you can sleep in January or even December, but November is for hunting whitetails.