Wisconsin bowhunters hitting their stride as whitetail rut kicks in

If you are a bowhunter, of either the compound, recurve or crossbow variety, now is the time we’ve been waiting for – the rut is upon us.

According to local reports from bowhunters, they’re seeing more daytime movement of mature bucks – in person and from trail cameras photos.

On our own property, we have a cell phone-enabled trail camera that emails our computers when deer pictures are taken. So far, we’ve been getting a lot of pics of smaller bucks on the prowl, but the big bucks are mostly still moving at night. This style of camera is awesome because you can get Intel on your deer inventory without having to physically go check the camera – which is good because of distance involved, time involved, or because each time a person does check a camera, there is potential for the woods to get contaminated with human scent.

Scrapes are getting tended and it won’t be long before they are used by deer more as a sign of a doe in heat rather than simply a communication tool.  In fact, by the time many of you read this, things should be a full-out go.

There are a few new things to consider this year. For one, baiting is legal in several counties, although not all of them. For baiting and feeding regs, click here.

The DNR is also offering free podcasts in an effort to help new hunters (although even veteran hunters can benefit, too). The podcasts make it easy for hunters to watch on their smartphones right from the tree.

Some topics include preparing for success, handling the harvest, habitat helper, and deer hunting as a lifestyle. All of the topics are individual podcasts, so they can be watched in any order.

For about 11 months out of the year, bucks are mainly thinking about food and survival. So hunting food sources is a very good bet, or figuring out where they like to bed. Now that hormones are kicking into high gear, food still is on their minds, but it’s not a priority.

Food sources are still good places to hunt because does still need to eat and the bucks show up where there are does. Around our property, we are starting to see a few fawns by themselves, which often means that their moms have kicked them out until they’re done breeding.

I’ll be using a compound bow when I’m elevated in a treestand and my crossbow for when I’m hunting from the ground. I’ve found this to be a nice one-two punch. I still love my compound bow, but there are simply places that don’t have a good tree for hanging a stand. In those cases, there’s no reason the crossbow can’t get fired up. It’s given me a lot of freedom the last two years to not just hunt places that have the perfect tree for a stand.

Oh yes, if you are a bowhunter, it’s the greatest time of the year. And now, with my football coaching duties finished for the season, I can’t wait to get out and enjoy it.

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