Being Caught in the “Rut” of the Rut

deer hunting by M Glasgow, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  M Glasgow 


Archery season in Northwestern PA was all but usual this year. The rut came in late, way late. Questions over exerted my mind causing fatigue and disappointment, but I still kept my head lifted high. Why aren’t I seeing any bucks? Where are the signs? Why are those four mature does all by themselves? Why are does coming in to my casual grunt? Ultimately, where are the bucks?

The lack of seeing any rut activity was not all to be blamed on Mother Nature. Although she does play an important roll of predicting where to look for monster bucks, however, I was to blame as well.

Just a few months before the opening of archery season, I decided to go back to school and obtain a Bachelor degree in Business Administration and Management. Although I have a good paying job for my area, I needed a second job to pay for tuition and books. As you can probably guess, time is the main factor in this equation.

One huge contribution to a successful archery season is scouting. Knowing that I didn’t have the time to dedicate to scouting deer before season, I realized how I could have done things different. Sure some people can put up a ladder stand just about anywhere and be successful. This just doesn’t get the job done in my case.

I had an almost sure bet I knew where the big bucks hang around every year. The only downfall is: deer have an average territory they cover of 1 square kilometer. The odds were against me from the start of my action plan. One square kilometer, compared to one tree inside of that territory, doesn’t give much hope for the luck factor. I depended solely on the rut activity this year. What a mistake! The rut didn’t fully kick in until after the fall archery season surpassed.


How am I going to do things differently next season? Game cams, game cams, game cams! The busy lifestyle of a hunter can be broken down a hair to get out and hang some more cams. Trail cams have come way down in price and capture higher resolution picture and video, since the debut of their existence. I can purchase a WildGame Innovations Blade 5 for around a hundred bucks. The images are amazing for this price! (A full review will be posted in the near future). More and more area can be covered with the use of trail cams, but more importantly I will cover more turf. More time to look for scrapes, rubs, trails, bedding/feeding areas, etc. is now being implemented as a time saving mechanism.

The Apple App Store and Google Play App Store must understand time pressed hunters. A vast selection of low cost and free GPS tracking apps are available. What does this mean for me and other hunters? All those important signs deer leave behind can now be documented. Patterns will develop. Indicate your trail cam locations, potential stand locations, locations of deer signs you come in contact with, etc. Study this information and decipher deer patterns and collaborate this information into the best plan you can.

Multiple stand locations can serve a significant benefit to a time pressed hunter. Double ladder stands, with a weight rating of 500lbs gross weight, can also be found for around a hundred bucks. Climbing tree stands can get expensive, but it all depends on your comfort level while sitting in a tree for a few hours at a time. Other factors driving up the price of climbing stands include: noise reduction technology, weight capacity, carry weight, etc. I’m not stating that you should empty out your bank account. Build up to obtaining more gear year after year. Hunting will always be a huge aspect of my life, and each year I can improve my tactics and obtain more gear.

I have learned the hard way that “some” time spent in the woods is more beneficial than “no” time spent scouting my hunting area. I’m already looking forward to next season, and implementing new strategies.

J.D. Arp

J.D. Arp





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