Editor’s Note: If you’re still working on killing your buck during this year’s rut, we’ve got a resource that should help! After checking out the rut predictions below, be sure to check out our new eBook focused 100% on expert rut hunting tips and strategies – “Rules of the Rut”! Click this link to get more info.
By Mark Kenyon:
Earlier this year we shared rut prediction dates from Charles Alsheimer, of Deer & Deer Hunting Magazine, in which he uses the moon to predict when rutting activity will be at it’s peak. This information was based on the Whitetail Lunar Calendar that Deer & Deer Hunting produces each year. (Read that article first by clicking this link –> 2013 Rut Predictions)
Now Charles Alshiemer has published the annual rut predictions article in Deer & Deer Hunting Magazine, and we have a little more information to work with. The biggest revelation coming from this article is that Charles is predicting a “trickle rut”this year, much like the one we saw in the 2010 season.
This is awful news in my opinion, as I remember the 2010 hunting season well, and the rutting activity or should I say lack of rutting activity, was awful!
What Is A Trickle Rut?
A trickle rut, according to Charles Alsheimer, is one that ebbs and flows for several weeks, without a distinct “peak” of activity. In the case of this year, it is predicted that a small number of does will cycle into estrus 1-3 weeks after the October full moon (Oct 18). This will lead to intermittent “rutting behavior” during the end of October and first few weeks of November. But then by November 15th, activity will ramp up leading to the so-called “rutting moon” on November 17th.
What This Means For Hunters
Charles predicts that the 7-10 days after November 15th will see the most “chasing” occurring, leading to a peak in visible activity. Then the bulk of actual breeding will occur from November 20th through the 30th. Per the article, “if you can pick one week to hunt this year, it should be from Nov 14 through the 21st, because bucks will be on the move”
My Thoughts and A Disclaimer:
All this said, I caution you to take these predictions with a grain of salt. I myself don’t make hunting decisions based on these moon predictions alone. While interesting to look at, and fun to debate, there still isn’t much science or data to actually back up these predictions (other than the data that Alsheimer’s own studies have produced). Numerous other studies have shown that the actual breeding occurs during the exact same time every year, and this has been proven with fetus measurement studies. That said, this data directly conflicts with Alsheimer’s hypothesis. I highly recommend you see the Alternative Expert Rut Opinions section of our earlier rut predictions article to better understand the other views on rut timing. I think Lindsay Thomas Jr of the QDMA summarized it very well by saying …
“The science on this is decisive. A significant number of scientific, peer-reviewed studies have shown the timing of the rut in any particular location is triggered by photoperiod, or day length – not by the moon, or temperature, or anything else…I think hunters often confuse visible rut behaviors, like chasing and grunting, with the peak of breeding. When you document breeding dates in a location, they actually change very little year to year, even though the dates of peak rut behaviors might vary. That’s because weather, moon phase and food sources – things that fluctuate widely year to year – affect deer movement patterns. But even when the weather reduces deer movement, you find that breeding still takes place the same time it normally does. If a doe is coming into estrous, a warm front isn’t going to change that.”
The Debate Rages On
Given all that, it’s safe to say that the 2013 rut and it’s timing will as usual be a topic of hot debate! Some people swear by Charles Alsheimer’s rut predictions, other people swear at anyone who believes in them. That said, we’re sharing his predictions, but not in any way endorsing them. Keep an open mind, do your homework, and decide on your own terms how you want to view the rut.
In the end, I can only guarantee you one thing. Regardless of the moon, weather, fetus studies, or my latest horoscope – come November you’ll find me high up in a tree, waiting on that rutting buck. One way or another, he’ll come by eventually.
So what are your thoughts? Do you live by Alsheimer’s rut predictions or think they’re a bunch of rubbish? Does the trickle rut prediction instantly make you fall into a deer hunting depression? Will you adjust your hunting schedule based on Alsheimer’s recommendation of hunting the week of the 14th-21st?