When the rut ends, it becomes a whole new ball game for those of us still
hoping to fill a tag. The biggest change is that we can no longer depend upon
rut-induced deer movement and that, has been a major
factor during that last week of October and the first three weeks of November.
Oh sure, you might stumble onto one last thick-necked, old bruiser out cruising
for just one more hot doe, and if you do, consider yourself very, very
fortunate. And yes, in much of the country there will be some secondary rut
activity kicking-in in another three weeks or so, but for now, the rut is
pretty much out of the picture. So what can you count on to put deer on the
move at this time of the year?
The answer is other hunters -- it's the biggie! Oh sure, some of us like to
cuss a little when we have to share the woods with other hunters, but truth be
told, without them, we would very likely see far fewer deer. When other hunters
in our area are walking into the woods in the morning, climbing down from their
stands and going in for lunch, walking back out after lunch, maybe trying their
hand at a little still-hunting or putting on a drive with their buddies, all of
that stirs up deer which otherwise would have simply stayed in their beds all
day. I can't begin to count the number of deer our family has feasted upon,
which were the direct result of other hunters setting them in motion. Anytime
that I know there are other hunters in the woods, I try to keep my butt in the
stand and then hope that they are not doing the same thing!
The other factor you can count on to induce some deer movement at this time
of the year is hunger. Deer have to eat. You will often hear that bucks do not
eat during the rut, so they are especially ravenous right now. Well, that not
eating during the rut thing is just one of those hunters' tales, which has kept
on growing. The truth is bucks do eat during the rut. They may not eat as much,
but I have watched a lot of them eat during the rut and I have yet to kill a
buck during the rut, which had empty stomachs.
But it is true that a sexually active buck will run off 20, sometimes 30
pounds while chasing does, and he knows that he needs
to put that weight back on before the snow flies. And, of course, the does, and
especially the fawns, are seemingly always hungry. For bowhunters
especially, that makes food sources and the trails leading to and from those
food sources prime stand locations.
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Gary Clancy writes a twice-monthly column for sportsmansguide.com. Gary has hunted whitetail deer in 20 different states and provinces. He has harvested many record-book animals, and presented hunting seminars from Tennessee to Wisconsin. Gary also has authored or co-authored six hunting books, four on whitetail hunting.