As deer hunters, we are likely to focus on the rut lots. We consider it as our massive probability, the time when these dream bucks emerge from the shadows and stroll round in daylight. But when the rut is your time to shine—these valuable few days of PTO that you just look ahead to every year—why wouldn’t you put together as a lot as doable to place your self able to make alternatives occur?
The effort and time you place into October might be the distinction in your looking success this fall. When you take stock and discover tendencies for journey in key areas with a low-impact strategy of utilizing trail cameras throughout this pre-rut part, you might be on the “X” when the daylight exercise picks up. Listed below are some nice locations to begin.
Vacation spot Meals Sources
This one could appear slightly apparent, however earlier than you punch the again button in your net browser, cease and take into consideration the small print path digicam photos can let you know a couple of vacation spot meals supply within the pre-rut.
First, they’re nice for taking normal stock. Sure, lots of the pics, particularly mature buck photos, shall be after darkish. However take into consideration the place of the digicam. And do not be afraid to move it around to a few different locations to be taught different issues.
I prefer to leverage low factors in a discipline or a secluded nook or cove. Older bucks like to entry fields or open areas like oak flats from low factors as a consequence of wind and thermal benefits, in addition to staying hid from a sight perspective.
Take note of when deer are showing up on the camera. The time of day, wind course, and climate circumstances can inform you numerous about how and the place deer entry a specific meals supply. You possibly can rapidly start concluding, or a minimum of assuming, the place and the way deer are bedding in relation to a meals supply and the way and after they’re touring to it.
Sift through the pictures carefully. Are you seeing bachelor teams of dollars, a couple of bucks, or massive doe household teams solely? Is the deer density excessive or sparse? Answering these questions may also help you perceive when this meals supply is probably the most enticing to the deer throughout this pre-rut time earlier than the herd begins spreading out.
Creek crossings are simply one among my favourite options within the deer woods. They act as a magnet for deer and make it handy to get an concept of what bucks may be (or simply as importantly, won’t be) within the space.
Creek crossings appeal to deer throughout this pre-rut part when temps might be scorching and circumstances are dry. Moreover, the terrain options shaped by creeks funnel deer motion right into a concentrated space. This helps collect stock and pre-rut shot alternatives as soon as the season opens in a centralized location.
This focus of motion additionally makes creek crossings ideally suited pre-rut digicam areas in areas the place you’ll be able to’t use an attractant or feed in entrance of cameras. Take note of the circulate of motion and the course of journey primarily based on time of day and wind course. File the small print of the images, correlate them with a map, and make assumptions on how the situation components into bedding, feeding, and potential buck cruising areas as soon as the rut will get nearer.
Major Scrape Areas
Primary scrape areas might be powerful to search out, however whenever you discover one, it is like hanging gold. You will not discover them on discipline edges or foremost journey routes simply contained in the timber. These are a focus of scrapes in a comparatively small space, often inside or adjoining to thick safety cowl. They act as communication hubs for deer—particularly bucks—on this pre-rut time interval main into the rut.
As bucks’ testosterone and need to breed improve, they start freshening these scrapes and marking their territory with elevated frequency. These main scrape areas are dynamite pre-rut path digicam areas. They supply a wonderful stock location for seeing what bucks are within the space and the course of journey in relation to bedding and feeding areas. Ideally, they’re being visited extra typically in daylight because the rut nears, permitting you to begin planning your hunting strategy round these scrape areas and the journey routes to and from these areas.
Characteristic picture by way of Matt Hansen.