This years Rut is on. As the forests of the Appalachians have shed their leaves and mast crop, cooler weather and shorter days make huge antlered bucks, Horny! Sadly, this is their downfall as they search the forests and fields for a doe to mate with. Fortunately, one dominant buck can mate with dozens of does and often does.

Hunting the Rut requires the Right Stuff!  Here are some tips and suggestions. To improve your odds for success.

Most states only allow archery hunting when the Rut is on. Other states, or private farms, allow firearms to be used. Know the regulations for your preferred hunting area. If a bow is required or preferred, this means that you need to get close.

Bow or firearm   Be proficient with your weapon. Know and be comfortable with your limitations. Practice, and repetition makes for accurate and consistent shots. When the big buck comes in chasing a doe, you need to focus on the target and let muscle memory do the rest.

               Rangefinder     Technology is a great way to mark your ranges. Do this prior to taking a shot. Mark different landmarks and create a shooting card, just like a sniper. In this way, you can take a shot within your limits.

Optics     Use a great pair of binoculars to locate the deer first. The human eyes can see only so far into a forest or across a field. Deer can see further than you unless you use magnification. A 10×42 power pair of binoculars work well. Learn how to focus and range your binoculars correctly. Use them often and properly matched to your eyes. A chest harness will keep them available and tight to your body when not in use. Seeing is believing so be observant, ready, and prepared. Look for a part of a deer, a glint of antler, or horizontal lines that mimic the back and belly body of a deer.

CAMO   Dress for your date. Match the terrain or foliage. Try using HECS, Human Electromagnetic Concealment System wear. It sounds crazy, but the stuff works. Goggle this product and see what you think. Head nets or facemasks are a good idea. Deer are not stupid and have amazing sense of sight.

SCENTS    Never put Rut attractant scents on your person. Use them on decoys, scent trails or scrapes. Natural cover scents on your person, such as earth, apple, or non-scent products can help to mask human smells.

CALLS    Grunt or other calls can be useful when hunting the rut. You need to set the stage for success. You picked the spot, are hiding nearby, smelling like the environment and placing other attractant scents and a decoy. Now add some sound. Remember that success is never just about one thing.

PACK    Once you pick your Rut ambush, be ready to stay awhile. Comfort is key. If you can’t sit still, the buck will never come near. Your pack will carry snacks and drink. Maybe an extra handwarmer. All your calls, rangefinder, and other hunting gear will be close at hand and organized. Your gutting gear will also be ready when you need it.

BOOTS     Footwear is key. Too many Rut hunters get cold feet. Toes and fingers are usually the first to ruin your stalk or stand. Wear wick able liner socks and a second layer of a decent wool blend sock. Proper fitted boots will allow you to move quietly and comfortably.

INFORMATION    The more knowledge that you have about the Rut, the closer you will be to success. Google the Rut and see what you can learn. “The most important things we learn are the things we learn after we already know everything!” Be a student of the sport and prepare accordingly. This wil allow you to increase the odds for success.

Big Bucks get that way because they have survived several hunting seasons. They know most of the tricks and are very aware. Often huge, old bucks are nocturnal and can be found vulnerable only during the Rut.

If you have the Right Stuff, you could get lucky!

Montana Grant

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