How To Hunt The 2nd Rut – It Takes A Rare Hunter

When Is The 2nd Rut

In the MIdwest the 2nd Rut starts the second week of December and goes to the end of the year. Now you may think this is a very tough time to archery hunt because of the cold and snow, but the opposite is true. Yes it’s very cold and walking in the snow requires more energy, but there are fewer doe in heat and the big bucks are covering a lot of area to find them.

Another advantage is that the deer are herding up, so seeing groups of 10 to 50 deer is not uncommon. If the snow is deep enough then you only need to focus on those trials heading to and from the feeding areas, so just wait them out. Many late season hunters bag big bucks during this time.

Are You Alone In The 2nd Rut

Depending on the Winter you may find yourself alone hunting the second Rut. With temperatures reaching down into the single digits and up to the low 30s most archery hunters will not venture out. The snowy cold is just to much to bare, but is there any thing better than having the woods to yourself.

Best time of the Day To Hunt The 2nd Rut

The time of day is all on your comfort level. For example I like to be there 15 minutes before light/dawn, as the deer will be bedded down on the East facing slopes waiting for the sun. Once the Sun is above the horizon they will become more active, but if you walk in at this time you will only push them out.

If the mornings are to cold, then focus on the noon hours, the bucks will be moving, scraping, and looking for doe that did not get breed during the first rut. The noon hours are also warmer so you can handle sitting in the deer stand much longer. The next best time is a couple of hours before dark. This is the time the deer will move into the fields looking for any grain that was dropped during harvest. So focus on those trails that go from the bedding areas to the feeding areas.

Snowy Hill Sides – Easy To See But Very Cold

Here are a few pictures on the land I purchased this year. These were taken during the Black Powder Season, unfortunately I still have not see a Buck that I want to take. I will try to get out a few times for the late archery season and see if I can tag one.

How To Hunt the Pre-Rut

Whitetail Deer

The Deer are in the Pre-Rut cycle now and in two weeks they will be in full Rut, it’s going to get exciting. During the pre-rut we have rattled and grunted in a lot of bucks, but just no shooters yet.

Where are the Larger Bucks

The larger bucks seem to be traveling during the early and late hours, when it’s still dark out, but that is soon to change. When those Doe come into Heat (reproductive cycle) the bigger bucks will start chasing and it will be all day long.

Signs Of Larger Bucks

Here we see large trees and even a telephone pole hit.

Bucks Taken by Archery

Here are a couple of Deer taken in the past week by a couple of friends, but I’m still waiting for something that will score higher.

Here are a couple of the videos from the first week of Gun Season

Midwest Whitetail Pre-Rut in 2 weeks

It’s the second week of October, the corn is still standing, the first frost is yet to come, and the long awaited Whitetail Pre-Rut is coming quick.

Current Deer Sightings

Right now we are still seeing many doe in the fields and woods edges, with very few Bucks, so where are they? They are in the standing corn waiting for the cooler days and a few of the doe to get them excited. So get ready as in the next two weeks the bucks wills start hitting the woods and chasing doe(s).

Pre-Rut Best Archery Season

So how do you hunt the archery season before this starts; focus on the corn, beans, and hay fields, especially where you have oak trees hanging over those corps and dropping acorns. But in two weeks when the corn starts to come off and we get a good frost things will change quickly. The bucks will either be forced to the woods for cover or for searching out doe(s) that are starting their estrus cycle early. Either way this time of the season is better than the Rut, why? Because bucks are not fighting for dominance yet, they are a little dumb focusing on finding a doe in heat, and they will be traveling in groups still. I have seen as many as 5 bucks traveling together during the pre-rut with the last buck typically being the dominant one.

Here are a couple of videos from the night of Sept 30th and the morning of Oct 6th

How To Make Deer Stand Skirts – Whitetail Hunting

How To Make Camo Skirts For Dual Ladder & Self Climbing Stands

If you have been searching for Deer Stand Skirts you have most likely found it difficult to find a camouflage skirt for a Self-Climbing or a Dual Ladder Deer Stand. In the following videos I will show you how easy it is to make your own and how they look on the stand.

Materials You Will Need

For materials go to the Joan Fabric website and print the 50% and 60% off one item coupons along with one for Thread (typically buy one get one free), next go to the Joan Fabric store and purchase your materials. For Fabric and Velcro purchase them by the yards to get multiple yards for the one coupon price.

Completed Deer Stand Skirting

Self-Climbing Deer Stand Skirt
Dual-Ladder Deer Stand Skirting

Cost To Make One Skirt

Wait for the sales/coupons, then you should be able to purchase all the materials for just under $13. It will take you ~40 minutes to make one of these skirts using a sewing machine, maybe less if you are efficient in sewing. if interested I would make one and include shipping for $25/skirt. *Note, for Dual Ladder Stands you will need two skirts.

Making The Skirt Step By Step Video

Assembling Onto A Dual Ladder Stand

How To Find Good Deer Hunting Land – Buying Great Hunting Habitat

Purchasing Great Deer Hunting Land

As some of you have seen or heard in my articles and videos my deer hunting land has been encroached upon by developers. This has pushed the larger bucks out of the area toward the large river that lies a mile away. I have also had people living in these developments stray unto my land during the archery season and walk right under my stand with their dogs. Now I do kindly ask them to leave, however enough is enough and I finally decided to look for a better deer hunting parcel further away from the small City I live near.

Finding the right ground is a labor-intensive process that may take months and possibly years. But, if you invest the time to do it right you will find what you’re looking for. I been looking off and on for the past 10 years, knowing the time would come when I will want to move further out, and that time is here.

What To Look For In Hunting Land

So what do you look for to make sure you are buying a great piece of hunting land? Well as in this article you need water, feeding area, thick cover, and bedding. Now since my trophy bucks have moved to a large river just a miles away I started looking at aerials along this river focusing on; woodland to cropland ratios, low land, high land, wood funnels (large game crossing areas between sections), ridges, and wood fingers stretching into the tillable land.

Once I find a couple of properties for sale I walk them 3 or 4 times and use my camera and a notepad to record the game (Deer, Turkey, Pheasant, etc.) sign and habitat (Water, Food Sources, Bedding, and Thick Cover). I also noted what the Woods versus Tillable land ratio is and what types of trees are on the property. I like to see 75% – 85% woods, 15% – 25% tillable (crops) and would even consider a few acres of wetland or pasture.

Here at a few things I look for:
1- The Woods must NOT have been logged within the past 30 years. If logged then only selectively logged.
2- Having a river on the property or near by is a big plus.
3- The woods needs to have major crossing areas from Crop fields, Water, and adjoining sections.
4- Major Deer trails packed to the mud, with a number of large scrapes and rubs.
5- Plenty of hardwoods such as Oak, Maple, Cherry, Walnut, hickory, etc..

The Hunting Land I Purchased!

I finally decided to purchase a 64 acre parcel just 12 miles North of my present location. The major river in the area runs across the North side of the property and winds down the West side. One major deer crossing comes from the West where there is 70 acres of tillable, 20 acres of woods, and then a narrow wood-line connecting to this land. On the East side are large parcels of tillable with multiple wooded fingers stretching out into the fields. From the deer sign it’s obvious there are Boone & Crockett’s in the area. Talking to the neighbors one took a 189 scored buck and the other a large 16 pt, but did not get it scored. So it’s going to be nice passing up those 135’s and focusing on those 175’s or larger bucks. I’m looking forward to doing videos on this property and sharing them with you.

The land ratio on this 64 acres is 81% Wooded, 16% Tillable, and 7% in pasture (grasses), which can be tilled. The river runs North approximately 200 yards from the property line and West approximately 400 yards away. I have seen many pheasants, deer, squirrels, rabbits, and signs of turkey, fox, and of course coyotes.

Don’t Rely On The Realtor When Purchasing Land

Purchasing land has gotten difficult over the past few years and it takes longer to complete the purchase transaction due to tougher County Regulations and Bank Requirements. Also any realtor selling land has the sellers best interest and of course their pockets, so have your own lawyer it will be well worth the money.

Also do not get discouraged as you will get through the process and your lawyer will help keep things moving. For this piece of Land it took me 3 weeks to get the bank loans approved and another 3 months to get the Purchase Agreement (PA) signed. Why so long for a PA to get signed, well this is what I ran into and was glad I had a lawyer from the beginning, he also wrote my PA. In this case the realtor’s best interest was NOT in the sellers or mine, but had different intentions. This realtor wanted the land or a section of it for himself and was delaying every step of the process, trying to either find a way to purchase the land or get the farmer or myself to sell him 10 acres. So I finally bypassed him and went directly to the owner were we worked out a Purchase Agreement. I then took legal actions against the realtor to keep the process from delaying any longer and within 2 weeks I had the land purchased.

Start Improving The Habitat right Away

This Spring I will start planting Apple Trees, Plum Trees, and fruit trees that produce small fruit for the grouse and pheasants. The pasture area I will put a few apple trees in and let it grow for deer bedding and the pheasants, mowing it once every two years. Since I have plenty of tillable (corn & beans) with oak trees (acorns) along the edges I will not need to put in any food plots. I will however put in a lot of apple trees since it cheap and easy to grow and graft them. For Winter I will leave a few rolls of corn standing and build a wire cylinder to place whole corn (with cob) in for the Pheasants. The tractor lanes going through the woods will be planted to a mixture of Clover & Chicory. I will also start clearing dead trees, downfalls, and thin areas to allow sunlight in, improving the vegetation in the woods.