By Mark Kenyon

Is it happening today? How about tomorrow? Have you seen any chasing? How about daylight activity, got anything? How about you? And you? You?! Any grunting? You?! Been seeing does in the field? Anything? Any rutting? Any rutting? ANY RUTTING?!

Can anyone else out there relate? These questions are all it seems anyone is talking about these days. Haha, I think it’s safe to say we’re all getting a little rut crazy (as you can see in the picture at the top, I am too!). And for good reason, that most glorious time of year is almost upon us.

That said, waiting on pins and needles for it’s final “arrival” doesn’t necessarily accomplish anything and chewing your fingers off in nervous angst certainly isn’t going to help either. So with that in mind, I wanted to share a couple things you can be focusing on now to better prepare you to launch into the rut marathon when it finally, truly arrives.

So without further adieu, here are 3 ways to keep from chewing your fingers off while waiting for the rut!

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1. Aerial Map Coloring Book Time: It’s time to put a rut plan together. When the rut is in full swing, and you’re hunting from dark til dark, it can sometimes become difficult to think through all of your options clearly. That said, now’s the time to lay out a plan for hunting locations and make it easy for yourself come rut time. That said, print out an aerial map of your hunting property/s and pull out a marker. Now circle or highlight every known doe bedding area. Once you’ve done that, you’ve got something to work with.

Everything during the rut revolves around does, and where they spend the most time. During the rut, popular spots to hunt include downwind of doe bedding areas, in funnels between doe bedding areas, in corridors between doe bedding areas and feeding areas, the list goes on and on. The moral of the story here is that doe bedding areas should be at the hub of your hunting strategy during the rut. Make sure you know where they are, and then begin mapping out your possible options for the next couple weeks from there. Go ahead and take note of all the different options you have for stand locations, what wind directions they can be hunted with, and what access/exit options you have for each. List this all out, or store it well in your noggin. A week from now, when you pull yourself out of bed at 4:00 AM and can hardly see straight, at least you won’t need to think too hard when trying to decide where to hunt. Just check the wind, check the weather and look at your map. You’ll be glad you put in the work now.

2. Pick Up Supplies: If you’re like me, the rut involves a lot of time in the tree and for that reason it requires some special stocking up of supplies. Now’s the time to make sure you’re well equipped. Here’s a few of the “special” things I like to make sure I have on hand to get me through 14 straight all day sits in the woods! Reading material, individually packaged food snacks (nuts, chips, crackers, cookies, jerky, etc), water bottles, hand warmers, extra TP, lots of extra scent eliminating spray, extra paracord + duct tape (you never know what you might need to fix), a tree umbrella, extra pairs of wool socks, caffeine pills or drinks (I like 5 hour energy), vitamins, and thank you cards. What are the thank you cards for, you might ask? To thank your wife or significant other for letting you hunt so much!

Speaking of special someones – I just need to give my amazing wife a HUGE shout-out for picking up a rut care package for me! Look at all these tasty treats she hooked me up with…

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3. Family Quality Time: Speaking of special people, now is a great time to get in some quality family time. The rut is probably the toughest time for our significant others and family members, as we all disappear for days or weeks on end. So it’s important to give them a little love before we take off. I think it’s safe to say that none of us could chase this passion the way we do, if it weren’t for those back home who support us. So make sure you take some time to make sure your family knows they’re appreciated, take them out for a nice night, and show them you care. It can go a long way in helping them deal with your absenteeism over the next few weeks!