Show notes for Pre&Post Bucks podcast #123
Many wildlife biologists agree that the diminishing ratio of daylight to darkness is the primary factor in triggering the rut.
For those that want to know the technical term its called â€œ Photoperiodismâ€
These shorter days induce hormone-level changes in both bucks and does. Because daylight hours diminish more rapidly in northern latitudes, rutting activity is generally more concentrated in the northern part of the whitetailâ€™s range. As Ontario is at the northern end of a whitetail range we experience the rut early.
Photoperiodism is only part of the rut story.
Moonlight intensityâ€”specifically a bright full moon waning to a dark new moonâ€”affects the timing of the rut. When daylight and moonlight reach a certain level, the doe prepares to enter estrus.
Daylight triggers it but itâ€™s the bright full moon that sets it off.
Whitetails begin to the rut normally by the first new moon following the second full moon after the autumn equinox. So checking the moon cycles for your area is essential.
The new moon is the key: It tells you when breeding is likely to peak. Once you have this date, you can accurately predict when each stage of the rut will occur.
The wild card here is the weather; unseasonably warm conditions may slow down the rut.A dumping of early snow like today may speed it up, but as the rut has already begun here it just makes for easier tracking.
The post-rut stage can be the most explosive but is the least understood. Because it follows the uneventful peak-breeding stage, many hunters are fooled into thinking the rut is over.
Instead, itâ€™s about to kick into high gear. Mature bucks have had their way for a week or more, but now theyâ€™ve run out of receptive does.
Bucks now go lookingâ€”trollingâ€”often at a frantic pace, and outside their core areas.
Aggressive rattling is ideal for trollers, so bang those antlers together like a pair of bucks squaring off. Cold, calm mornings are usually best, but donâ€™t rule out midday or afternoons.
When using tree stands minimize the risks of educating bucks as to where a given stand is located.Three important factors should be taken into consideration.
First, try to select a travel route both to and from your stand that will give you the minimum amount of exposure.
Next, always choose a stand location with adequate cover and where the wind direction is favorable.
Finally, no matter how good a stand site appears to be, you must restrain yourself from over-hunting the area.
Sitting in it all day also can lengthen a standâ€™s productivity. From the peak scraping phase through the peak of the rut, a mature buck may pass that stand at any time. If you intend to hunt the same stand both morning and afternoon, staying put all day long effectively cuts the disturbance of coming and going in half.
Getting comfortable is the key.
As important as it is to reach your stand without being detected, it’s equally important to be able to leave your stand without spooking the deer.
Few things ruin a stand faster than having deer watch you exit the woods. Especially big trophy bucks!
This is particularly true when you’re hunting crop fields or food sources in the woods. Your easily sky lined.
One good technique that seems obvious, yet is often underutilized, is that of waiting the deer out. Because of their browsing nature, deer to keep moving as they slowly feed through any given food source. In many cases, simply having the patience to allow the deer to feed in and out of an area is all a hunter needs to do to prevent discovery.
If you take the time to choose your travel routes carefully, select your stand sites with adequate cover and favorable winds, and exercise enough restraint so that you don’t over-hunt any given stand, you’ll find that it’s possible to hunt pristine stands from opening day to the close of the season.
By knowing when to hunt each stand at different times of the season, you’ll greatly improve your chances for success.
Instead of spending the last days of the season desperately trying to fill your tag, you can spend filling a second tag or admire the big buck you already harvested.