• Outdoor Marketing Agency
October 20, 2021 Brett Hoffman

The Whitetail Rut And How To Hunt It

The scorching-hot days are coming to a close, and the whitetail rut is creeping up.

So far, this 2021 whitetail season has been a bit different for us compared to years past. It seems like a lot of the bucks we have been hunting stayed on their summer patterns much longer than usual. 

Now, with the cooler temps becoming more consistent, I am seeing much more rut activity. Our team has been boots on the ground chasing after these whitetail bucks for several weeks now, so let’s dive into what we are seeing.

Young Buck Activity

A hunter can usually get a pretty good gauge on how far out the whitetail rut is by watching the young bucks. Right now I am seeing lots of young buck activity in daylight hours, and they have been extremely responsive to calls. 

Most of the time, the young bucks will start showing rut activity before the mature bucks do, and I believe that is exactly what we’re experiencing currently. On nearly every hunt over the past week, I have seen bucks fighting, and have been hearing a lot of grunting. 

This is a great time to watch the trails, and scrapes that these young bucks are using. Typically, the odds are pretty good that when the time comes, the mature whitetails will use the same scrapes and trails.

Utilize Scrape And Rub Lines

Although whitetails use scrapes year-round, they become much more frequent at them when it’s time to rut. Every buck I have laid eyes on over the past week has been visiting a scrape nearby before eventually coming in. Most of the scrape activity has been from these younger bucks, but I have seen one of my shooters using a scrape in daylight twice now this past week. 

Rub lines are also starting to pop up on the ridges I have been hunting, and keying in on the big bucks that are starting to cruise is much easier when you have a rub/scrape line to hone in on. So if you aren’t getting pictures of your shooter bucks as of late, start looking for fresh scrapes and rubs nearby.

The Whitetail Rut Is The Best Time Of Year

As I already mentioned, the younger bucks are starting to show signs that the rut could be near. The beautiful thing about whitetail hunting is that when they finally do start to rut, any deer can show up at any time, and in any spot. So, if you aren’t feeling confident because your buck hasn’t showed up on camera in a couple weeks, stick it out. Go out and look for sign that may give you clues as to where he’s at. 

This time of year, a whitetail can change its pattern overnight, and the most important thing to do is make sure you are in the woods. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason as to why a certain buck shows up when and where he does, but the more you get out there and hunt, the better your odds are. 

Pay close attention to how the younger bucks are interacting with one another, and where they are using. It could be a matter of weeks, or even as soon as a matter of minutes before that big buck comes in to do the exact same thing. In the end, the beauty of hunting the rut is that all it takes is for the right doe to come in range at the right time, leading your shooter buck to you.

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A couple years back, Field and Stream wrote an article giving 50 tips for hunting the whitetail rut. To read that article, see: https://www.fieldandstream.com/50-expert-tips-for-hunting-the-whitetail-rut/