You can sure smell fall in the air can’t you. I spent the better part of the past few days working on some land improvements on my farm in Iowa. I won’t have any hunters on this farm this year…so I took advantage of the weather and starting the process of adding another interior food plot for next year, put in a bridge over a small ditch for access to part of the farm, and so on. Back home here in Wisconsin we got a day of rain today with cold temperatures. It is only October 13th, but already I can sense that hunters through out the mid-west are starting to ramp up archery efforts. I’ve talked with a few people that are starting to witness some chasing and the feeling is that the rut is just around the corner.
I think hunters are like rutting bucks—especially the young bucks. They get all excited early on and use information they collect now to convince themselves the rut is early and to start hunting their best spots, start using calls and other rut techniques, and to start putting pressure on the deer they are hunting. I can and will say one thing to all this and thus the reason for this post; my experience has told me that over the past 20 years the true breeding season of whitetails in the mid-west is a relatively constant thing. Every year you can and sometimes do witness early flare ups of rut activity that would get us all excited that it is on. I can only guess that in every year, some small percent of does can and do come into heat early—making us all get excited if we witness the action. But hold on and be patient, do not abandon your game plan. In about 20 more days I would start to transition over from a fall feeding pattern type of hunting style to the rut hunting style. Now, that doesn’t mean I ignore rut sign I find now and adjust my stand locations accordingly; but it does mean I need to control my own testosterone levels and be patient in my hunting strategies. The rut will come….not just yet though. And to make a full out switch from a more passive approach to a rut type hunt would be a mistake this time of year. Play the odds.
I wrote an article on simple strategies for the season (click here to read the article) and often get asked for dates on when early season strategies switch to rut strategies. People want a date. For me, I have always considered all hunting up until about October 20th or so to be passive. Sneaking in and out of food plot locations on evening hunts. Around about the 20th, I might, and the key is might, start to transition over to rut type hunting. That is for another post. But for now, be patient as far as the rut is concerned.