Rut Report: November 1

Day No. 1 of a 13-day rut hunt is in the books. Discover what North American Hunter Senior Managing Editor Dave Maas learned during his day in the Wisconsin woods.

It didn’t take long this morning (October 31) to spot a buck; the only downside is it was the small 2x2 shown above. He was slowly moving along an oak ridge and just happened to walk underneath my treestand. Thankfully, he stopped long enough for me to capture his photo on my iPhone.

Later in the morning I switched locations and watched another small buck cross a distant swamp. At 11 a.m. my brother, Steve, walked a few hundred yards from his treestand location over to my ambush site (a natural ground blind) to discuss strategy, and at the exact moment I was ripping open a mock scrape with my rubber boot and whispering to Steve, a 120- to 130-class 4x4 approached quickly and then spooked after spotting us. Damn!

My 76-year-old father hit a good-size buck at 8 a.m. this morning from a natural ground blind (17-yard shot), but it jumped the string (he had to stop the buck with a bleat because it was walking too fast) and his arrow hit too high. We bloodtrailed the buck for more than 300 yards (after waiting 5 hours), and the buck never bedded and finally we lost all blood sign. While it’s always sickening to hit a deer and not recover it, I’m confident Dad’s deer will survive. That said, we’ll continue to look for the buck’s body and keep an eye out for crows and eagles.

Our afternoon/evening hunt was very slow. Six of us were in the field, and Steve saw one doe and I spotted two fawns. I was hunting with a doe decoy on a 1-acre brassica field that has numerous scrapes around its perimeter and good bedding cover nearby. I might try the same field and decoy tactic tomorrow morning. I’ll have to dress warm; the forecast is for 19 degrees at daybreak; hope that makes the big bucks move.

I’ll keep you posted!