Well it’s that time of the year hunters dream about. The RUT is upon us. I have seen many videos already showing some serious rutting activity. For others it will start heating up very soon. For our area it usually starts the second week of November but I think that it will be coming a little sooner than that. If you have been putting time in your stand you have been waiting to hear that buck grunting and chasing the does.
I hunted for years and was never able to harvest a big buck (by my standards). The rare occasions that I did see them they seemed to know right where I was and would avoid my tree. Trying to bow hunt big bucks is hard enough but when they have locked on to your location makes it even harder.
I did the typical rattling and grunting trying to attract that big boy my way. I even had a very nice 8 point come in on a doe a couple of years back. It was probably one of the coolest and most frustrating hunts I have had. The doe walked within 10 yards of me but the mature 8 seem to know right where I was and would make bug circles around my tree. I got to watch this happen for 20 minutes or so and it was awesome to watch. At the time it was the biggest buck I had seen while in a tree and he was magnificent. However there was a huge let down in not even being able to get a shot off. That does walked by my stand 3 times because the buck kept cutting her off. That situation made me want some knowledge on what just happened.
I thought maybe it was scent control and the buck was smelling me. So I focused the next year working on my scent, even though that doe had come right by me I figured she was just not being as cautious as he was. Well the next year I had 2 bucks come through on 1 doe and they both went around me again. Once again a super cool experience to see 2 mature bucks coming through the woods but I was getting frustrated. Hunting mature bucks was not turning out to be as easy as it looked on TV.
I started doing some research and came across some articles and videos about grunting and rattling. The problem wasn’t scent control the problem was the techniques that I was using to call these big boys in. I was doing a typical rattle and grunt call set roughly every 30 minutes while in the stand. Just trying to get a buck to come my way. Well I was making two major errors: the first one was when I was rattling I was rattling way to hard. If there was a buck in the area they would know exactly where I was just by rattling to hard. In the quiet woods I was just trying to get that sound to carry and attract bucks from a distance. The fault was it put the bucks near me on high alert and bucks have a way of locking on to sounds. The second mistake that I was making was with my grunting and that I was grunting at the same tone and generally in one direction.
This to me was the biggest tip I had found. You can go online and find videos of people that are considered world champion grunt callers and watch how they did it. They rotate in a 180 degree manner grunting and changing the tone as the go. This gave the appearance that a rival buck was not sitting still grunting but actually running through the woods chasing a doe. I even learned to throw in a doe bleat along the way.
After learning these two tips of rattling lighter and make my grunts sound as if I was chasing a doe it paid off. Last season I actually called in 3 bucks and all 3 did not lock onto me tree. I harvested on and had another come 10 yards from my tree but never offered me a shot. The other one came in but it’s interest did not hold long and went another direction.
I uploaded a video demonstrating these techniques over on our Facebook page, go check it out and let me know what you think. As always stay safe and have fun.