Pre-Rut Started – Big Bucks On The Move

It’s late October and most of the Big Whitetail Bucks have been caught on the game trail cameras either early in the morning or late at night. However, with the temperatures dropping and the crops being harvested we are starting to see the larger bucks (pushed out of the corn) in the woods again during the daylight hours. We also have the Pre-Rut starting, which has the more mature bucks running and chasing.

Has The Pre-Rut Started?

The Pre-Rut is in its early stages, which begins around the last week of October through the first week or two of November. In this Video below it was not a mature doe that this buck was interested in, but a first year fawn.

Does Doe Scent Really Work?

During the Pre-rut and Rut you want to be dragging a scent rag to your stand, which I call a drag-line. Watch this young buck walk past my stand approximately 35 yards out, and as soon as he hits my scent trail he follows it right to my stand, up to the scent rag, and takes a sniff. So yes these scents work and you should be using them!

How To Use A Scent Drag-Line

Two ways to use a Scent Drag Line. Start by using a material that will soak up and hold the scent. Tie a string to this material, making it long enough to either tie to your boot or to drag it on the ground from you hand. Use the drag-line for the entire walk to your stand. Once you’re near your deer stand hang the scent rag in a tree approximately four feet off the ground, this will allow the wind to carry the scent and help mask your scent.

Hunting The Pre-Rut!

If there is a time to be in the woods hunting the Whitetail Buck it’s during the Pre-rut! From my experience this time of the year is better then the Rut itself. During the pre-rut there is no best hour of the day as the bucks will be looking and chasing doe all day long. So plan your day and enjoy the scenery as you are waiting for that right buck to walk by. Don’t forget to bring along your rattles and grunt as these work well in the Pre-rut.

2018 Whitetail Archery Season – First Evening Hunt!

First Evening Hunt!

It is Sept 29th the third weekend of the Minnesota Archery season and my first opportunity to get into the woods for an evening hunt. The temperatures are swing from the high 30s to the high 50s and the wind is blowing aggressively from the Northwest. In this video the deer are very tentative and cautious for a couple of reasons; the wind makes it very difficult for them to hear and my scent is traveling in their direction. However, there were no shortage of bucks as I had 6 different bucks come through, all but one within 30 yards.

How Can You Judge Distance?

There are two methods I use for helping me keep my bearings on distance when in the deer stand; one is for the open field and the other for the woods. Open field, to help me calculate distance in an open field I will place 7 dead sticks (standing straight up) every ten yards (starting at 20 yards) at 90 degrees (3 sticks) and +/1 45 degrees (2 sticks each). This will give you a wide range and a pretty accurate idea of your shooting range in front of you. You can even place scent on the sticks at 25 yards to help attract the deer. When shooting into wooded areas I will use the same pattern as I use for the field, but instead of sticks I will use white spray paint. Make a large mark that is easy to see approximately waist height.

Where Are The shooters?

This is a good question, but the answer is simple if you understand Whitetail Deer. To start with, as soon as the bucks start to rub off their velvet they change their patterns, so you may need to move your cameras to find where they are during the day. Try the corn field edges especially where you have acorns dropping into the corn or beans. To find the big bucks focus on the food source and areas of the most dense cover such as; swamps, thickets, standing corn…

The Evening Pictures & Video!


2018 Whitetail Archery Season – First Morning Hunt!

Early Morning Hunt

It is Sept 22nd the second weekend of the Minnesota Archery season and my first opportunity to get into the woods. The temperatures have finally cooled down, the wind is almost motionless, and the deer are becoming more active.

Where To Focus- Early Season

For the early archery Whitetail season you will want to focus on the corn fields, looking for nearby Oak trees (acorns dropping). If possible Oak trees that are dropping those acorns right into the corn. Also take into consideration the Deer Corridors; traveling between their water supplies, bedding areas, and feeding areas.

Scent Protection

Even when it’s the first week of the deer season you will want to cover your scent as much as possible. The first and most important is your odor and clothing, then focus on your path to your stand and how you will want to approach it. The Whitetail Deer will detect your scent when they cross over your walking paths, so plan your path to and from your stand accordingly.

For early scent coverage try to use natural outdoor scent such as leaves, fungi, corn dust, etc. leaving the buck lures for the right time of the season.

The Morning Video!

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