October 24, 2023
With November just around the corner, whitetail hunters across the country are salivating, chomping at the bit for their chance at a love-sick buck. Everyone only has so many days of vacation each year, so use your days wisely and hunt strategically to ensure you’re efficient this year. Below I’ve laid out specific days I would (am) targeting whitetails this season and why these days are important . Also, you’ll notice these dates are around a weekend to help extend your time in the woods this year.
PRERUT: October 26-29
There’s no debating that the rut is in November, but hunting the days leading up to the rut can yield big bucks moving during the day to find does. Studying the moon cycles will pay dividends— with the full moon falling on October 28th this year. Bucks start making scrapes and increasing overall movement during this time. They may not be on the search for the first doe in estrous yet but will still have enough testosterone driving through their body to be continuously making rounds along field edges and near bedding. If there is a cold front moving into your neighborhood, you should be in a tree. As I write this, I’m on the way to Missouri for that exact reason.
Historical data shows most does are bred between Nov 14th & 15th each year. This is why I look at this four day stretch as the optimum time to be in a stand. Knowing that “lockdown” is imminent, you can catch a buck tending a doe that’s not fully ready to stand and be receptive to breeding. This is when an old buck is fully vulnerable with only one thing on his mind; he goes where that doe goes and stays where she stays. Be where the does are. Be aggressive by using decoys, calls and rattling antlers to get that buck’s attention, challenge him and get a shot.
Turkey Day! This is on the backside of Thanksgiving, with good reason. Most people have a long weekend here anyhow, and you should be taking full advantage of it. Though the peak of the rut has passed and most does have been bred, there’s always a chance for a late-cycle doe to come into heat. It’s this time of year that bucks that aren’t ready to give up the rut and are cruising to find one last girlfriend before winter. Most does will start to congregate back on main food sources and you never know when a bruiser could come cruising by to harass them. Finally, most gun seasons around the country have opened by this time which can highly increase your chances of filling that tag in your pocket.