That most magical time of deer season is just around the corner.
We all know that time as the"rut", when the woods go crazy with the activities of those big bucks we all cherish. While this is written to arrive to you in early October, now is the time to prepare. Sign begins to show.The patterns that we've seen during the early seasons are beginning to change. Don't expect to see those bucks traveling together and feeding openly in those crop fields. Their instincts are kicking in, telling them it's time to prepare for the upcoming breeding season. Velvet is shed and they are feeding heavily in anticipation of the energy they will expend while seeking those receptive does.
If you are preparing correctly, and cautiously, you are spending time looking for the early signs of the rut; scrapes begin to show, rubs are fresh and particularly young bucks begin to shadow does in their travel and feeding areas. Good preparation in advance of the rut will increase your chance of success. Here are some of my tips for early preparation:
A. Double check your supplies; while you have likely prepared for bow season, it's time to double check to ensure you have the right tools for the upcoming gun season. It will still be warm in many areas of the south so be prepared to handle the discomfort of bugs and hot weather. Dress light in early fall and take your time as you scout and hunt. Odors due to excessive sweating are dead giveaways for animals that have noses ten times better than yours. Deer calls and scents change with the season. Those fawn in distress calls won't be effective, but the grunt tubes are critical to success during the rut season. Can calls also are very effective in pulling in those bucks seeking the companionship of hot does. Don't forget to check ammunition. Get rid of any that show signs of corrosion and make sure you have enough to get you through the season. If your gun is already sighted in, now is not the time to change loads. Go with what you have previously sighted in with. Load changes can and will affect the accuracy of your rifle.
B. Know your stand locations. Hopefully you've placed stands, or identified where you will place a stand, based on deer travel patterns. Stand sights on travel corridors are very effective in the pre-rut period, particularly those that overlook trail intersections. Bucks are smart and will travel parallel to trails and will stop to check intersections where does frequently travel. Bucks in the early season will no longer enter food plots during daylight hours. Rather they will post up in the woods near field edges to watch for doe movement and will most likely not enter until after daylight has faded. Stands you've placed inside the wood lines around food plots or fields will be great sites to view early season buck movement. If you played your cards right you've also established stand sites that allow you easy and quiet access, without disrupting deer movement.
C. Be mobile.It's always a good idea to have an extra climbing stand or ground blind for those special spots that may show up in the early season. If, while scouting, you come across that spot you think might be hot, you will have the opportunity to quickly set up for a hunt. Remember the rule that you need to plan for entering and leaving the area to limit noise and human scent that might affect and completely change deer patterns. You might also want just to "tag"the spot for later in the season, maybe when the rut is in full swing. Again, plan your route to and from the site to limit "mucking" up the area.Try as much as you can to limit the weight of what you might have to carry in and don't forget your scent neutralizing spray to try to limit scent in the area as much as possible.
D. Watch from a distance. When trying to pattern deer movement in the early season keep your binoculars close to you. It's always better to scout from a distance from where deer travel. Again, less activity in these areas will limit your need to get close and disrupt the normal travel patterns of you herd. You can even "scout"trees that may be ideal for that quick set up.Always keep your GPS or compass handy so you know, based on wind direction,when it is right or wrong to hunt. Remember that during the early season, even before the pre-rut starts, you will see many changes in deer behavior. Be on the lookout for these changes and prepare yourself for that magical time that is just around the corner. Academy Sports can provide you a wide selection of what you may need to ensure your success during this falls deer season. Shop early to take advantage of the best buys and selection of items you need to increase your success thi sseason. Good luck and prepare yourself; the rut is around the corner. Good hunting and don't forget to include family in your outings.