High Percentage Rut Stands – Strategic Habitat

High Percentage Rut Stands

​Just want to share an observation about several posts I’ve seen recently on social media.

We’re well into the seeking phase of the rut and firearm season starts this month in most areas, and you can tell some hunters are getting a little anxious that they haven’t put a tag on a nice buck yet.

It seems more guys are posting pics and video clips of them passing on young bucks and are holding out for a more mature buck which is great.

But a lot of these recent pics and videos are taken from the edge of food plots or ag fields.

No problem with that if they’re hunting low pressured area like Iowa or Kansas. But if they’re in a high pressure state like MI or PA where deer are born looking up and walking backwards, then they probably not putting themselves in a high percentage spot for success.

Yes, it’s true in deer hunting that anything can happen at anytime. But just because they saw a buck breeding a doe in a 1 acre food plot 13 years ago, doesn’t mean it’s a high percentage spot to bowhunt after sitting in that blind right on the edge of the food plot for the 5th time by early November this year.

That’s how hunters can ruin a food plot in October before November arrives.

Mature bucks know what’s going on in their neighborhood. They live there 24/7. They can discover a hunters scent trail to and from a blind several hours after he’s left and gone home. They will find out a hunter has been there whether they see him or not.

Mature bucks, and mature does, are masters at the game of association. That’s why they seem to disappear after opening day. They’re still in the neighborhood. But they know how to avoid hunters.

This is why a better strategy for getting close to mature bucks at this time year is to get back into some cover especially within bow range of a funnel or pinch point.

Bucks are cruising and seeking this time of the season. They cover a lot more ground during daylight hours. And if these funnels are left alone during the early season, then both bucks and does won’t hesitate to go through them during the rut phases.

And another great thing about these funnels is you can hunt them multiple times within a few days when the wind is right, because these bucks are not in their early season bed to food pattern when they take their time inspecting their area for the scent that hunters leave behind on the ground as they move around.

Bucks are traveling further, making their rounds checking and making scrapes, and scent checking doe bedding areas and food plots for estrus does. So you as a hunter can get away with a little more repetitive intrusion into the same treestand inside their core area before they realize what’s going on.

This is how you can really increase your daytime sightings of mature bucks and get more opportunities at filling that tag.

So for the next couple weeks you might consider moving off your pressured food plots and getting into some daytime cover.

And if you don’t have any daytime funnels inside thick cover on your property, then you can add that to the top of your list of habitat improvements for 2019.

Good hunting out there and I hope this helps you to see more bucks this month.