Rut Report Nov. 8: Mature Bucks On The Move!

Day No. 8 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.

First things first: If you read yesterday’s post, you know I missed two coyotes. As expected, it was pilot error. My bow gear is functioning perfectly; all the blame sits with me.

Regarding today’s (November 7) bowhunt: It did not disappoint! During my morning sit (far west side of neighbor’s property, I spotted a dozen does and fawns, but only one decent buck, a 2.5-year-old 4x4 that used to have a single droptine on his left main beam. We have trail cam pics of this unique buck, but he’s busted off most of his droptine while fighting. It was still cool to see him. The photo below illustrates how a decoy can position a deer for a perfect bow shot. This button buck posed for the camera perfectly.

At noon I was forced into spooking most of these deer. You see, they were bedded not far from my treestand, but I wanted to move to another spot. November 7 comes around only once a year, and I didn’t have confidence that this river-bottom bend would be as good during the afternoon hours as other areas.

My decision to relocate a half-mile away turned out to be a good one. I hadn’t been in the treestand 10 minutes when the buck in the photo above strolled by at 14 yards looking for a doe-in-heat. I think this is the third time this 120-class 4x4 has been in one of my shooting lanes during this rut hunt. (Note: You can also see a portion of my arrow and my stabilizer in the photo.)

Not long afterward, a slightly bigger buck was chasing a doe behind my treestand, but he winded me. I was encouraged, however, to finally see a “shooter.” Then, only 15 minutes later, the buck in the photo below walked through my shooting lane. He’s a bit heavier but narrower than the buck shown above. He has great G2s; I hope he makes it another year because he’ll be something special! All of this buck movement happened from 12:45 p.m. to 2 p.m., when many hunters are home having lunch.

Finally, the winds changed too much for my afternoon treestand setup, so I got out of the tree and quickly fashioned a ground blind with logs on the edge of the nearby brassica/clover field. I placed a doe decoy at 22 yards in hopes it would take attention off me to draw my bow. At 4 p.m. the winds really picked up; according to my weather app, they were gusting to 45 mph! A doe finally appeared on the field, followed by a mature 130-class 5x5. He approached my decoy and stood broadside at 19 yards, but due to the severe winds, I decided to pass. It was one of the times when my gut instinct told me “stop.” I don’t know how the crazy-strong crosswind would’ve affected my arrow flight, but I simply didn’t want to take the chance.

My wife is joining me in the SD river-bottom for November 8 and 9, so hopefully I’ll have twice as much to report tomorrow night!

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