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If I could only deer hunt ten days a year, it would be November 3rd through the 13th. Those ten days are the height of daytime rutting activity in my home state of Wisconsin. It’s not that I’m guaranteed a buck during those days or that it is impossible to kill one during another time. But this time period offers the best opportunity for something exciting to happen at any time. With that being said, there are a few strategies you can use to increase your chances even further during the rut.
Find River Front Property
Deer are not afraid to cross water but would much rather keep their feet on the ground. A river isn’t impenetrable but it serves as a pretty good piece of funnel structure. As bucks cruise during the rut, they will run parallel to the river bank. If you’re confident shooting at 30 yards, set a stand 30 yards from the river bank. This will allow you to cover a stretch 60 yards wide, 30 yards on either side of the tree. If you can find where a trail intersects, even better. Now it is just a matter of waiting for the buck you’re looking for. Bucks don’t focus on food during the rut but will relate to water, especially during the peak chasing phase.
In The Hallway
Hunting a bedding areas has always been a popular tactic for putting rutting bucks on the ground. The only problem is many hunters get busted and don’t even know it. Bucks who have survived a few hunting seasons won’t run right into a bedding area, even during the rut. They almost always circle the downwind side of the bedding area before entering it. They’re checking for estrous does in doe beds and danger around buck beds. Instead of setting up on the bedding area, sit fifty to sixty yards downwind. This will help prevent busting bedded deer and put you right in the hallway when that buck circles the bedding area.
Use A Decoy
If you’ve never called deer with a grunt tube before, it is a blast. Bucks are not receptive to it every day but when they are, they will literally come out of the woodwork looking for the call. Sometimes they trot right in. Other times, deer will come in cautiously. They’re looking for the deer that was grunting at them. This is why I like hunting with a decoy, especially during the rut.
Set the decoy in a highly visible area upwind from your stand site. I like to put my buck decoy within 20 yards of the stand. This not only helps me range a deer but also gets the deer closer for a better shot. Bucks will want to look each other in the eye this time of year so face the buck toward your stand. This should put your deer inside 20 yards when you release the arrow.