Hunting Pressure And The Rut

There is no question that hunting pressure can be a big factor in buck movement during the rut. Light hunting pressure, which is typical of most bowhunting situations, may influence bucks a little, but not enough to keep them from their appointed rounds during the rut.

Many hunters assume that the rut goes on as normal even when hunting pressure during the firearms season is at its highest, which is opening weekend. The reason they believe this is that on occasion, a buck which is completely addled by the increased amount of testosterone coursing through his system, will do something really stupid to reinforce this assumption. Something dumb such as walking thru a field in broad daylight, or seemingly ignoring the gauntlet of gunfire leveled at him as he doggedly pursues a hot doe.

Gary Clancy
Gary Clancy

Bucks have been known to charge in to fight when they hear the rattling of chains on a farmer’s tractor, a gate chain or even the rattling of a chain on hang-on stand being hung. Of course, many of these things do happen, but they happen only very rarely. But this kind of stuff gets around quickly in the whitetail world, especially these days. It is no wonder that many hunters consider such rut antics to be common place.

But I can assure you, that such is not the case. When hunting pressure is heavy, whitetail deer simply postpone their rut activities. No, they do not delay them for a couple of days, or a week, they simply greatly reduce daytime rut activity and take care of business at night. The rut goes on as planned and on schedule, you and I just cannot see it happening.

What can you and I do about it? Two things. First be sure you are in the woods and on your stand early. I like to be all settled in, at least 15 minutes prior to shooting light. When bucks have been out cruising and carousing all night, they rarely just dive right into cover at the break-of-day. Instead they continue on with their rut activities for an hour or so. Usually, this will provide you with your best opportunity.

Second, try to hunt a couple of days midweek. Once hunting pressure slacks off, which it does after the opening weekend, bucks and does get right back at the business of procreating the species.

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