Lots of lovin’ in the woods right now as the whitetails are coming into rut and it’s a beautiful time to be on the hunt. Temperatures are slightly dropping, the rains have stayed at bay for a time and activity abounds. The bucks are actively scraping and chasing the does, and every now and then, they will pick a fight with other bucks intent on dating from their herds. The rut is on!
The “rut” refers to the time period each fall when deer breeding occurs. To us hunters, the rut signifies the time when there is a notable increase in buck activity as they go crazy for the girls. There’s quite a bit of debate as to what triggers the rut, and while there is some geographical variance in the timing throughout the state, the end of September and first week of October traditionally mark the first rut phase of the season. During the rut, the does will each enter a period of estrous for twenty-four to thirty-six hours and will run and tease the bucks into chasing them playfully for a time before standing to accept the breeding.
With so much loving on their minds, the bucks are quite vulnerable and are on their feet round the clock in search of the receptive does. This is where deer scents and calls can really make a difference to your success. I’ve been using mock scrapes with pre-rut scent attractants with great success up until now. Now, I will be switching gears to using attractants of doe urine, harvested during their estrous cycles.
Tinks #69 is probably the oldest and well-known brand of the estrous attractants. There are quite a few varieties of this type of scent and they come in a variety of dispensers. Regardless of which type and brand you use, under the right conditions they can do the job. It’s just important to set the scents out while controlling your own scent so that the buck’s nose believes that there is a receptive doe just out of sight.
For instance, my good friend Kelli Ellis of Inverness, messaged me with a recent photo of her success. As the rut opened amongst the herd of deer in her little corner of our county, she employed a scent station loaded with Tinks #69 estrous scent. It only took one whiff of that love scent to bring a fat little five-pointer close enough to investigate her stand site and with only about a dozen or so yards between them, she launched a broadhead.
Now that she has invited that buck home to supper, rumor has it that she and her husband, famed taxidermist Tim Ellis, will be enjoying my own enchilada recipe very soon. And now, I need to get myself back in the woods and fetch home another with my little recurve bow. I’m excited folks, because the rut is on!
I love hearing from so many of you in my inbox and I thank you so much for allowing me the chance to visit with y’all here each week. All feedback is welcome and I love to hear a good hunting story, so feel free to reach out to me at [email protected]. God bless and good hunting!