Rut Report: November 5

Day No. 5 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 South Dakota.

If there’s one thing you can always count on when bowhunting in South Dakota, it’s the wind. And today was no exception, with steady winds of 25 mph and gusts to 35 mph. The good news is I have enough stands placed deep enough in the river-bottom to escape it, and these SD deer seem to go about their business no matter how hard it blows.

During my morning sit, I spotted two bucks and about a dozen does and fawns. The biggest buck was a 110-class 4x4 with a broken G2. He hung around my ladder stand for several minutes, and I enjoyed watching him tear open two scrapes and rub a few saplings. He was shadowing a big doe.

The deer activity came to an abrupt stop at 9:30 a.m. when a small all-white coyote raced through my area, spooking a doe and two fawns, as well as a group of eight gobblers. I sat in the stand for another hour but didn’t see anything else. I’m 99 percent sure this is the same coyote my wife missed (clipped belly hair) 2 weeks ago; I wish more than ever that she’d killed it!

Immediately after my morning hunt, I drove my pickup into the river-bottom and dropped off two decoys near proven decoying/treestand locations. The deke you see standing in the photo above is from Dave Smith Decoys (DSD), and it’s killer on rutting whitetail bucks. I have four decoys with me in SD, and tomorrow morning I plan on carrying the smallest one (Flambeau Boss Babe) a half-mile onto the neighbor’s river-bottom. The owner asks that I drive on his land only to retrieve a deer, so I’ll have to leave earlier than normal.

My hunting land is 17 miles from my in-law’s house. To maximize my time in the stand, I’ll pack a lunch tomorrow instead of driving home for food. I hate to miss much time in the woods this time of year, and any day now I think I’ll see all-day buck movement. I can’t kill a deer from the kitchen table or couch.

My afternoon hunt was as much a scouting mission as an actual bowhunt, as I sat in a treestand with nearly a half-mile of visibility on the prairie. I wanted to make sure that the river-bottom deer weren’t leaving the trees and headed south onto ag fields, and based on my observations, I think the deer are targeting my food plots to the north. I spotted three bucks tonight (all different ones than this morning) and nine does and fawns. All of them headed north.

It’s supposed to be windy again tomorrow, so I’ll spend the day deep in the river-bottom near the water. And hopefully a Pope and Young-size buck will appear and show interest in my Boss Babe deke!

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