By Mark Kenyon
The first couple weeks of November, for most of the country, receive the bulk of the “rut hunting hype”. When you dream of the rut most of us are thinking about those magical days between Halloween and the middle of November, and for good reason. A huge part of the cruising, chasing and seeking is happening at this time – and more big bucks hit the ground each year at this time than any other. But, now that those days have passed us by, it’s important to remember that there is plenty of rut action still to come! Now is not the time to give up. That said, here are four tips for helping you pull off a late rut hail mary.
1. Stick to your rut basics: During the last third of November, bucks will still be seeking out does that are ready to breed, the biggest difference now though is that fewer does are in that state. That means bucks, especially the more persistent older ones, will be searching longer and harder for those final females. This means that they’ll still be checking out doe hot-spots like bedding areas and feeding areas, so stick with your usual rut hunting stand sites downwind of bedding areas or in travel areas and funnels connecting such spots.
2. Get tight to cover: While I recommend, in general, to stick to your earlier rut plans I would say that you should push in tighter to security cover, if you’re not already doing so. By the later parts of November, hunting pressure has risen pretty close to a high point and does are also getting sick of the harassment from local bucks. For this reason you’re most likely going to see more activity the deeper you get.
3. Hunt the midday hours: As painfully cold as it can be this time of year, I’d still recommend sticking it out during the midday as much as possible. I’ve seen a good number of mature bucks moving in the late morning/early afternoon during this late November timeframe, including my two top Ohio bucks last season Jawbreaker and Glenn.
4. Don’t be afraid to get loud: Calling can definitely still work at this point, as bucks are getting more desperate for some final action and more likely to fight off anyone intruding on his chance for that final exploit. That said, don’t be afraid to get aggressive with some rattling or a good snort wheeze. I rattled in Jawbreaker last year on November 25th and nearly got a shot opportunity.
If you still haven’t filled your tag with a rutting buck, don’t get discouraged. There are still some great hunts yet to come in November, so stay after it and good luck!
Want more late rut hunting tips – check out Don Higgins’ great article “Thanksgiving Bucks” by clicking this link. Or this overview of late November hunting, “How To Kill A Buck During The Second Half of November”