November was fun, but all good things must come to an end. In most parts of the country the chaotic days of the rut are behind us and we are now hunting the post-rut. But what does that mean? Lets look at it very simply. Bucks are coming off of a several week binge of sex-driven wandering and mating. They are starved, exhausted and have been heavily hunted. This scenario can make for tough hunting, but it is far from impossible to bag a late season buck after the rut.
Two main points need to be considered when chasing post-rut bucks.
- Bucks have been highly pressured over the last month or two. Therefore they are going to be much more skittish and will most likely be relating to heavy cover as much as possible. Think thick and nasty.
- Bucks now are thinking with their stomachs and not their baby maker. Food sources are the name of the game.
These two key points should drive your strategy going forward into the last months of hunting season. Finding a late season food source is key to setting up on a good deer. Standing corn or soy beans are typical late season crops that can give deer the nutrition they are looking for. Find thick and nasty cover for bedding area, that is close to a great winter food source and you are in the money. Set up in a safe and concealed travel corridor between these two areas and you are in a typically great stand for post-rut success.
Other Post-Rut Tips To Consider
- Late-season rattling has been said to be the most effective time to bring in mature whitetails.
- Hard cold spells will spur deer movement, make sure you are in the woods during these times.
- If it’s getting close to the end of your season and you still haven’t got your deer, try the hail mary by hunting inside one of those thick bedding areas you think a big buck is in. No worries about spooking him, it’s now or never.
- A small number of does will come into estrus about 28 days after the peak rut, so keep an eye out for the occasional “hot doe”. If you spot one, the bucks will be following shortly.
So when it comes to post-rut late season hunting, remember to keep at least two things in mind. Find heavy cover where highly pressured deer have retreated to and hunt near nutrition rich, late season food sources. If you can key in on these two strategies, you have a great foundation for bagging a buck in the post-rut this year.