A One/Two Punch For Targeting Rutting Bucks

The end of October marks the start of serious rut activity for deer hunters across the Midwest. Bucks will be trailing does, and while the peak of breeding is still a week to 10 days away, the best time to arrow a mature buck is right now.

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, and not because I enjoy dressing up in costume and filling a sack with bite-size candy. For me and many whitetail-crazy deer hunters across the Midwest, October 31 marks the beginning of the “chasing phase” of the rut.

At no other time of the year are mature bucks on their feet more during legal hunting hours. Because a doe isn’t quite ready to be bred yet, she often prances through the forest with the buck in tow. When everything goes right for you the hunter, she brings Mr. Buck within pinpoint shooting range. That said, if you don’t get a shot, the game isn’t over because if she plays “hard to get” long enough, he eventually loses interest and begins searching for another hot doe.

To take advantage of this rutting behavior, you should have a one/two punch ready to roll for these cruising bucks. Step No. 1 is using a decoy; it’ll grab a buck’s attention from a distance and get him headed in your direction. I prefer the Flambeau Masters Series Boss Babe decoy because it’s easy to carry and stands up in the wind without the need of stakes.

I place the decoy 15 yards upwind of my ambush location, then saturate the hind quarters, tail and legs of the decoy with Wild Estrus Bomb by Wildgame Innovations. It’s made with 100-percent pure whitetail deer urine and excites bucks into coming straight at the scent, giving me an ideal broadside shot.

FYI: Wild Estrus Bomb comes with a specialized nozzle that allows for continuous or burst spraying to cater to your personal scent-distribution preferences. I use burst mode for covering the decoy and am able to get a couple of applications from a single can.

I arrowed the South Dakota buck shown above a couple of seasons ago using this exact system, and you can bet I’ll be back in this same river-bottom using this same one/two punch during the next 2 weeks.

Shoot straight!

North American Hunter Top Stories