Another Tactic for Hunting the Rut, Hunt the Does by Mitch Strobl
It is a long-standing belief among hunters that the rut is one of, if not the best, phase of season to be in the woods. The Rut is when the big boys abandon their vigilant instincts and have one thing on the mind, does. I would like to throw some very basic tips your way in order to improve your chances this rut.
Initially, there is no set way to hunt the chaotic rut; you have the basics of hunting scrape lines, rubs, rattling, calling and using scents. Another method that I incorporate into my strategy is simply hunting the does while being in the woods as much as possible. I find that it never fails to return to the basics when deer hunting. As I stated earlier, during the rut bucks have one thing on their mind, does. Thus it makes sense to simply hunt the does. In the preseason when you are scouting the deer on your property, take thorough notes on the does as well. You can use these notes to develop a plan for the rut. Once love is in the air, it is a sure bet that bucks have abandoned their normal routines. This is when you should immediately switch to hunting doe patterns.
When the timing is right and you are in the woods as much as you can be, this is when the excitement really gets going. This is when you have to control yourself, emotions can lead to rushing things, and yes I am referring to the grimacing yet magical term that every hunter experiences, Buck Fever. One way I have learned to cope with this is to pay attention to the doe, watch her every move, generally a buck will follow her every step. If he doesn’t you will notice with your peripheral vision, in which case you can quickly adjust. By paying attention to the doe more than the buck you are also limiting your chances of getting busted. Even though the buck may not be wary, the doe is still very much alert, and in all the excitement this can easily be forgotten. Therefore, I feel that this method is a win-win, you help yourself to calm down, and you also pay attention to your surroundings better. Once you feel you have a good opportunity for a shot, stay calm, and remember, pick a hair and put it there!