When you picture deer hunting during the rut, you probably have visions of does being chased and arrows being bloodied. That’s not how every November unfolds, though.
There are occasionally moments of excitement like we dream of, but usually it’s just a grind. Long days on stand, early mornings, freezing cold weather, and hours of seeing no deer are the norm.
When the going gets tough this time of year, it’s easy to get frustrated, upset and discouraged. I often find myself in a rut during the rut, and can offer some advice to those going through the same thing.
Back to the Basics
When the action is slow, it’s tempting to start questioning your decisions and searching for a secret to success. It can feel like you’re banging your head against a wall.
During the rut, the best thing to do is keep it simple by focusing on the basics – does and funnels. If you’re not hunting pinch points of some kind or an area that should have does, consider rethinking your plan. If you’re sticking to these basics though, just keep after it.
If you’re in the right area, you just need to grind it out. The action might be slow now, but if you stick to it you’re bound to be in the right place at the right time. Don’t get lazy and sleep in a few mornings or takeoff for afternoon naps. Stay in your stand, and things are bound to turnaround.
If you’re hunting the rut from dark to dark, that means you’re spending about 12 hours a day in a tree. With all that time sitting around, if you’re not seeing deer, it can get easy to get bored and lose focus. That can ruin a hunt.
During the rut, things can change 180 degrees in just a matter of seconds and your season can go from disappointing to the best ever. Make sure you’re ready when these opportunities drop into your lap. When you find yourself dozing off or getting distracted, remind yourself of this. It can all change in seconds!
Do your best to stay positive, too. Even though you imagined your rut vacation going differently, there’s no use in letting it turn negative. If you can stay focused, stay positive, and stay in a tree, then eventually good things will happen.
The only thing you can control is your own attitude, so make sure that you’re mentally prepared for a shot opportunity to show up at any time. This attitude is the key to being able to apply the other pieces of advice. If you’re able to stay positive then, then you’ll be better equipped to carry out your rut hunting plan.
Don’t worry if the rut is already giving you fits. There’s plenty of action yet to come. Take this advice to heart, and I trust you’ll be in for some exciting hunts in the coming days.
Feature image by Captured Creative.