In the most recent issue of Deer & Deer Hunting magazine Charles Alsheimer released his annual rut predictions and with an abnormally late full moon this fall, the rut could be the latest we’ve ever seen it! Last year’s peak was predicted to hit in the North around November 10, but according to Alsheimer this year the heat of rutting activity might not be starting until Thanksgiving week!

Now I don’t necessarily agree or disagree with Alsheimer’s predictions or methods, but I certainly think they are interesting to consider. So lets first take a look at Alsheimer’s methodology. Before going any further, it’s important to mention that Charles Alsheimer is without a doubt one of the most experienced and respected deer hunters and researchers in the country. That being said, his studies into the annual timing of the rut must be considered carefully and given some credence. Alsheimer has been studying the timing of the rut for 14 years now and it seems that the key factor in kicking the rut into gear is the occurrence of the second full moon after the Autumn Equinox. According to the this theory, once the “Rutting Moon” hits, most doe’s estrus cycles kick into gear and the peak of the rut follows shortly!

So if we follow this theory, this year presents an interesting conundrum. The rutting moon this year falls on November 21, the latest it has ever fallen in Alsheimers’ study and given that, it looks like the rut could be later than we’ve seen in a long time. That being said, here is the “cliff notes” version of Alsheimers predictions for the 2010 rut in the North

  • A minor “sweet spot” of deer activity will occur around Oct 22, as the seeking and chasing phases of the rut will begin, but at a slower pace than usual.
  • Buck activity will really get kicked into gear around the 15th and increase steadily.
  • The major “sweet spot” and the peak of the chasing phase will occur from Nov 21 through 25.
  • Most breeding will be done in the last week of Nov and into early December.

So there you go, I can’t vouch one way or the other for these predictions, but they certainly raise some interesting questions. For instance, are most hunter’s going to be disappointed during their typical rut hunt vacation times of the first two weeks in November? Given these predictions, would any of you change your hunting plans?

If these predictions are true, for me it rings in both good and bad news. The bad news is that my hunts in Nebraska and Pennsylvania occur during what he describes as the lull before the real activity, the dates being Nov 7-14. The good news is that my hunt in Illinois, Nov 21-25, will be during the absolute peak of the rut this year! Definitely not what I was expecting, but I suppose it’s positive news.

So what do you guys think about these predictions and will they change your plans at all this fall?

For more information about Alsheimer’s predictions, tips for hunting the rut this year and much more, pick up the most recent copy of Deer & Deer Hunting or download the full online course describing this years rut predictions from D & DH here.