Hunting the Rut

(Nov. 1999)

It's mid-November and most of the deer hunting is done, but there are a few states with some late hunts still going on. Arizona's premium hunt is in full swing and Utah's Wasatch front has an archery hunt running through December 12. Hunting in November is one of the best times to be in the hills because many of the doe's are in heat and the bucks are going nuts. The bucks are "EXCITED" and when they're excited over doe's, there's a much better chance that one will make a mistake. It's up to you to take advantage of any mistakes they might make. What I mean by bucks making mistakes is that they're often less wary and will spend more time in the open with the doe's. This gives you a much better chance of seeing them and possibly getting close. A great tactic for hunting in November is searching for as many deer as possible. As you spot bands of does, keep a close look all around them. If one of them is in heat, a buck will almost surely know and won't be to far away. The more deer you see the better, even if they're doe's. Throughout most of the year doe's have nothing to do with whether any bucks are around or not, but during the rut there will almost always be a buck near a doe in season. Finding the big ones still won't be easy, the fact is there just isn't a lot of them around and it often taking many hours of spotting just see one. My suggestion for hunting the rut would be to find a good vantagepoint in an area with good deer numbers and spot all day long. When the weather is cool and the deer know winter is coming, they'll spend more time feeding, even in the middle of the day. If you're lucky you might just spot that big boy on the tail of a doe. Here in Northern Utah we still have no snow in the high mountains, so the deer are still spread out and many are still high on the mountain. Once we get some deep snow the deer should move to the lower ground and spend even more time feeding throughout the day. Well, if you've got a late season tag then you'd better get out and enjoy it. It's a long wait 'til next year. Good luck!