Pre-Rut strategies

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Pre-Rut strategies

Unread postby Brad » Thu Oct 01, 2020 3:17 am

I'm curious what your thought process is for hunting in the last week of October & the first week of November if you don't have any target bucks to go after specifically... or even don't have a specific area that you know contains any bucks... what do you look for? certain terrain features? do you try to find a "rut funnel" (& if so, what exactly is that?) should I approach it just like I would early season, but include more morning and mid day sits? I'm just not sure how to approach that time of year to put myself in a better position to have success. Any input is appreciated.


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Re: Pre-Rut strategies

Unread postby cdeam » Thu Oct 01, 2020 4:09 am

Scout. Scout. Scout.
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Re: Pre-Rut strategies

Unread postby <DK> » Thu Oct 01, 2020 4:19 am

Oct 12th - 1st week of Nov I like to start hunting buck beds in the mornings. Its also a good time to start hunting scrapes. I also like targeting the best doe bedding areas I know of. During peak of the rut, I walk right into the middle of them for a morning hunt, with a solid wind advantage and using my red light.
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Re: Pre-Rut strategies

Unread postby brancher147 » Thu Oct 01, 2020 7:02 am

Scrapes. Doe bedding. Terrain funnels between doe bedding. Midday sits.
Some do. Some don't. I just might...
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Re: Pre-Rut strategies

Unread postby Brad » Thu Oct 01, 2020 12:06 pm

Yea, I have several places that I was able to do some scouting in the spring, but in the summer I spent most of my scouting focus on the area where I was drawn for a managed hunt the first two weeks of the season and another area that mostly shuts down for waterfowl hunting in mid October. I scouted a couple of other areas that are a little further away from me that I won't likely get to hunt much if any, and I didn't find anything earth shattering in those spots. I have another area that I know pretty well because of scouting and hunting there last year and turkey hunting in the spring that at times turned into scouting for deer season. The problem is I don't know where the bucks bed in the area, and I can't really say for sure where the does bed during that time of year. I have seen one buck there, but it was in an open area of creek bottom that has some swirling winds. I've also seen several rubs, but none appeared to be associated to bedding, and I would say it appears to be likely nighttime activity since I don't recall there being a great deal of cover. There is one other place I scouted in the spring where I found a great rub line that was just behind some small points with obvious bedding on them, and I was thinking about throwing a sit or two in that spot. Of course the rubs I've seen in both of those locations are from at least a year ago, so I assume I am just going to have to go in and look for some fresh sign.
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Re: Pre-Rut strategies

Unread postby Ghost Hunter » Thu Oct 01, 2020 12:09 pm

I have places I will not walk into till last half of October, weather dependent. If I go in there and there is no sign to hold me there. I turn walk out. Check again in a week or so.
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Re: Pre-Rut strategies

Unread postby Brad » Thu Oct 01, 2020 12:48 pm

Ghost Hunter wrote:I have places I will not walk into till last half of October, weather dependent. If I go in there and there is no sign to hold me there. I turn walk out. Check again in a week or so.


I'm interested in knowing
what exactly makes that a spot you only sit at that time?
and, what is enough sign to keep you there?
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Re: Pre-Rut strategies

Unread postby Ack » Thu Oct 01, 2020 12:49 pm

That’s when I start seeking out the doe groups. Find them and you will find a few bucks. Even better if the doe area also has bedding secure enough for a good buck. They like to keep close tabs on when those does first come into estrous.
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Re: Pre-Rut strategies

Unread postby matt1336 » Thu Oct 01, 2020 12:57 pm

Cold front mornings!! Love them all the time but they’re awesome in October!
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Re: Pre-Rut strategies

Unread postby Brad » Thu Oct 01, 2020 1:08 pm

matt1336 wrote:Cold front mornings!! Love them all the time but they’re awesome in October!



what about a cold front in october in a place you do not know where the bedding is located?
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Re: Pre-Rut strategies

Unread postby matt1336 » Thu Oct 01, 2020 1:38 pm

Brad wrote:
matt1336 wrote:Cold front mornings!! Love them all the time but they’re awesome in October!



what about a cold front in october in a place you do not know where the bedding is located?



...you gotta be in a place that makes sense obviously. Bedding, pinch points, scapes more so than in November are great. Like anytime, knowing where the deer live is key. I’d go In with your stand/saddle being ready to hang and hunt on hot sign. This is how I hunt 80% of the time. I don’t have enough time to be hunting sign that’s not hot
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Re: Pre-Rut strategies

Unread postby Brad » Thu Oct 01, 2020 2:02 pm

matt1336 wrote:
Brad wrote:
matt1336 wrote:Cold front mornings!! Love them all the time but they’re awesome in October!



what about a cold front in october in a place you do not know where the bedding is located?



...you gotta be in a place that makes sense obviously. Bedding, pinch points, scrapes more so than in November are great. Like anytime, knowing where the deer live is key. I’d go In with your stand/saddle being ready to hang and hunt on hot sign. This is how I hunt 80% of the time. I don’t have enough time to be hunting sign that’s not hot



One of my big focuses going in to this season has been trying to scout my way in and to notice fresh/hot sign. Last year I can't say I ever really noticed any, and in the first couple weeks of this season the only real fresh sign I have noticed are tracks and feces, but those have at least been enough to let me know the deer were were using the area recently. I have seen historical sign (mainly rubs) in the area I'm taking about likely hunting in october, and I know there are deer there, however I can't say I know for sure WHEN they are there, how they are using the area, or where they are bedding. I am hoping I am finally able to find that fresh/hot sign that everyone talks about so I can hunt it.
While doing this, are you just walking the transition lines, or elevation lines, until you find what you are looking for?
In mid and late October, what is the sign that would make you want to set up, and what would you consider insufficient sign?
and if you don't see that sign, what are you doing? leaving completely or are you scouting other adjacent areas hoping to find hot sign?
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Re: Pre-Rut strategies

Unread postby matt1336 » Thu Oct 01, 2020 2:14 pm

Brad wrote:
matt1336 wrote:
Brad wrote:
matt1336 wrote:Cold front mornings!! Love them all the time but they’re awesome in October!



what about a cold front in october in a place you do not know where the bedding is located?



...you gotta be in a place that makes sense obviously. Bedding, pinch points, scrapes more so than in November are great. Like anytime, knowing where the deer live is key. I’d go In with your stand/saddle being ready to hang and hunt on hot sign. This is how I hunt 80% of the time. I don’t have enough time to be hunting sign that’s not hot



One of my big focuses going in to this season has been trying to scout my way in and to notice fresh/hot sign. Last year I can't say I ever really noticed any, and in the first couple weeks of this season the only real fresh sign I have noticed are tracks and feces, but those have at least been enough to let me know the deer were were using the area recently. I have seen historical sign (rubs) in the area I'm taking about likely hunting in october, and I know there are deer there. I am hoping I am finally able to find that fresh/hot sign that everyone talks about so I can hunt it.
While doing this, are you just walking the transition lines, or elevation lines, until you find what you are looking for?
In mid and late October, what is the sign that would make you want to set up, and what would you consider insufficient sign?
and if you don't see that sign, what are you doing? leaving completely or are you scouting other adjacent areas hoping to find hot sign?


A lot of guys that are starting out don’t see a lot of the sign that the deer are putting down. Browse, tracks, beds... Ik I do it...pretty sure everyone does it. As humans we seem to always want/need to get to a destination. I’m always telling myself to slow the f down, observe, look, be a predator...a beast. It takes time I know what to look for. But man this sight, the beast shortens the learning curve. So be a sponge here and be a sponge in the woods. Here are some words that everyone that’s been on here or watched the good hunting shows that are out have heard before. Focus on diversity and edges plant and terrain. Follow deer trials if all else fails. Maybe start at a main food source and follow trials back to bedding. Maybe focus on learning first and killing second. Not sure how new hunting is to you.. but try not to run before you can walk. Take your time, be patient.
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Re: Pre-Rut strategies

Unread postby Brad » Thu Oct 01, 2020 2:28 pm

matt1336 wrote:
Brad wrote:
matt1336 wrote:
Brad wrote:
matt1336 wrote:Cold front mornings!! Love them all the time but they’re awesome in October!



what about a cold front in october in a place you do not know where the bedding is located?



...you gotta be in a place that makes sense obviously. Bedding, pinch points, scrapes more so than in November are great. Like anytime, knowing where the deer live is key. I’d go In with your stand/saddle being ready to hang and hunt on hot sign. This is how I hunt 80% of the time. I don’t have enough time to be hunting sign that’s not hot



One of my big focuses going in to this season has been trying to scout my way in and to notice fresh/hot sign. Last year I can't say I ever really noticed any, and in the first couple weeks of this season the only real fresh sign I have noticed are tracks and feces, but those have at least been enough to let me know the deer were were using the area recently. I have seen historical sign (rubs) in the area I'm taking about likely hunting in october, and I know there are deer there. I am hoping I am finally able to find that fresh/hot sign that everyone talks about so I can hunt it.
While doing this, are you just walking the transition lines, or elevation lines, until you find what you are looking for?
In mid and late October, what is the sign that would make you want to set up, and what would you consider insufficient sign?
and if you don't see that sign, what are you doing? leaving completely or are you scouting other adjacent areas hoping to find hot sign?


A lot of guys that are starting out don’t see a lot of the sign that the deer are putting down. Browse, tracks, beds... Ik I do it...pretty sure everyone does it. As humans we seem to always want/need to get to a destination. I’m always telling myself to slow the f down, observe, look, be a predator...a beast. It takes time I know what to look for. But man this sight, the beast shortens the learning curve. So be a sponge here and be a sponge in the woods. Here are some words that everyone that’s been on here or watched the good hunting shows that are out have heard before. Focus on diversity and edges plant and terrain. Follow deer trials if all else fails. Maybe start at a main food source and follow trials back to bedding. Maybe focus on learning first and killing second. Not sure how new hunting is to you.. but try not to run before you can walk. Take your time, be patient.


I think that's all great advice. This is really only my second season hunting. The problem is I'm kind of obsessive... when I get really into in something I submerge myself in it 100%, and that is basically what I've done with deer hunting. That's why I am trying to learn as much as possible from others experience, since my own experience is somewhat lacking. For a newbie I guess you could say I've had some beginners luck... The second day I ever hunted I took a doe with my bow (day two of the season) on public land, then day 1 of rifle season I took a really nice mature buck on a buddy's private land. I had a good number of opportunities to take does, but passed. Then I took my first public land bow buck 6 days into the season this year on a managed hunt (lots of deer, but lots of pressure with 150 hunters drawn). All of these things just make me more obsessed, which is a blessing and a curse...
another thing you mentioned that I am having trouble with is figuring out food sources in the area I am referring to. In the managed hunt it was obvious since there were ag fields ( which were pressured so heavily the deer never went near them close to daylight) and there were acorns dropping. In the location I'm likely hunting it is more hills and timber, and no ag fields. There are creek bottoms, and there are oaks in the hills, but most of those oaks seem to be in pretty open timber. The hill country seems more difficult to me.
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Re: Pre-Rut strategies

Unread postby Brad » Thu Oct 01, 2020 2:41 pm

<DK> wrote:Oct 12th - 1st week of Nov I like to start hunting buck beds in the mornings. Its also a good time to start hunting scrapes. I also like targeting the best doe bedding areas I know of. During peak of the rut, I walk right into the middle of them for a morning hunt, with a solid wind advantage and using my red light.


For some reason I almost never see scrapes. I can only say for sure I've seen two, and one i noticed only because it was in the snow. I can't say I know the best doe bedding areas, but I know where I have seen the most doe group activity during the day throughout most of last season. I am thinking there would likely be doe bedding in most of those areas, and there are also some transitions near those areas that I have wanted to check out. Maybe I will do a scout my way in to hunt, and see what I can find...


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