Time is ripe for whitetail hunters

Rubs are popping up all over the whitetail range, signaling an increase in buck activity.

The recent cold front couldn’t have arrived at a better time.

After an unseasonably warm start to the archery deer season, Ma Nature finally released her grip on summer and cooler temperatures arrived in conjunction with a rising full moon. (The full Hunter’s moon is on Oct. 20.)

The timing was perfect because it’s also the time for whitetails to display their dominance and search for does.

Forget the rut for a week or two. If you ask me, now is the best time to be in the whitetail woods.

The rut is an exciting time to hunt because bucks are chasing does looking for a  mate. But it also can be a frustrating time to hunt because, well, bucks are chasing does and looking for a mate. They’re on the move and rarely slow down. Often times when you see a buck during the rut he is hot on the tail of a doe. If that doe happens to be receptive to his amorous pursuit, the buck will lock down with that doe and they will stay in one location – a relative tiny area – for a day or two while they carry on with nature’s plan.

Robs Buck

Mature bucks like this 8-point are on the move right now in anticipation of the upcoming rut. The author’s friend, Rob Wheatcroft, shot this buck on Oct. 18, just after it made a scrape.

The reason I like the current situation of the prerut is that bucks are already on the prowl wandering the woodlands and farmlands seeking love, but the does won’t be a bit interested for a couple more weeks.

Rubs and scrapes are popping up all over the whitetail’s range right now as bucks mark their territory and leave their calling card. Those community scrapes that both bucks and does have been hitting since summer are growing larger now as randy bucks – both young and old –leave their mark and scent in hopes of being the first one to get in on the action when the annual rutting period finally kicks in.

While food sources will grow a little stale when bucks lose their appetite during the rut, they are still hot spots right now. Acorns – especially from white oaks – berries, poke weed, honey locust, autumn olive, to name a few, along with most agricultural crops are prime food sources for whitetails.

My buddy Rob shot a nice 8-point last night that was nibbling at some clover strategically planted along a two-track. He watched the buck for some 20 minutes as it closed from about 150 yards into shooting range. The buck tended a scrape on his way in and made a couple new ones of his own.

Rob’s patience paid off when the buck wandered into shooting range and turned broadside. His  well-placed broadhead zipped through both lungs and the buck didn’t make it another 60 yards.

When he recovered the buck, Rob said he could smell it – the pungent aroma of tarsal glands saturated with urine – before he found it. The buck had been busy marking scrapes. His neck was already swollen, a telltale sign of a rutting buck.

If you’ve been waiting for things to heat up before grabbing your bow and heading afield it’s time to go.

While the weather has cooled off a little, the action in the whitetail woods is just starting to heat up!

Categories: Bloggers on Hunting, Michigan – Bill Parker, Whitetail Deer

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