The rut is that magical time of year when a mature buck is prone to making a mistake. There are three stages of the rut starting with the pre-rut stage.
The pre-rut triggers bucks to become more mobile earlier in the evening and later in the morning. Now is the best time for soft and faint calling which gets the best results if you can find your way near a common food source. If you are set up near a natural place where deer congregate, you can grunt gently to get a buck’s attention. Now is the time for slow rubbing of an antler on a tree, or the rustling of a ground litter as if a scrape is being made. Soft grunts and slight hitting of antlers can bring in a big boy out of curiosity.
The best calling success occurs around the peak of the rut. This is when bucks are on the prowl, scraping and seeking does. Now is the time to step up your calling game and getting aggressive. Grunt more, and louder, make some estrous-doe bleats with a can-type call, followed by some tending grunts. Your rattling should also be more aggressive during the peak of the rut, most times a buck will come running in. Just remember find the does and the bucks will show.
When the post-rut arrives, go back to setting up close to bedding areas and hunt funnels that lead to food sources and tone your calling back down. Most bucks are just trying to survive after being depleted during the chasing of the rut. The post-rut is a tricky time and you will actually have to determine what calling techniques might work. One day a soft grunt may do the job and some days it won’t, but one of the most important things to remember is that deer calls will not generally spook deer so there is usually no harm in using them at any time.
The three phases of the rut offer a great opportunity for hunters to shoot a big mature buck, so understand what the deer you are hunting want to hear and call them in for that shot opportunity.
Here is a quick video offering tips on how to call in a deer during the rut.
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