When deer start rutting, it’s easy for bowhunters to get in a rut. “It’s the rut,” we say… “I can take shortcuts, get away with improper scent control and wait for a buck to make a mistake.”
No doubt, many hunters “get lucky” during the rut, but if you want to shoot a buck worthy of a magazine cover, you should strengthen your focus. Remember how methodical we were about scent control during the first few days of the season? Get back to that mindset and wash your clothes with unscented detergent or baking soda. Hang on the line to dry and then store in an oversized Zip-Loc bag.
It’s also a good idea to spend some time at the range if you have been going hunting more than you’ve been shooting your bow. Bows change. Weather, humidity and the wear and tear of being hoisted up and down the tree can knock a setup out of alignment. Make sure you can still hit your marks, and if you have time, add a few yards to your maximum range.
To increase the chances of killing a big buck during the rut, we should hunt with the same caution we do during the early season. Yes, bucks are naïve this time of year when they are looking for ladies, but they – especially older bucks – are not senseless. Avoid being busted by a buck-of-a-lifetime and hunt hard, smart and stay alert.