Once November hits my internal countdown clock begins driving me into a mild panic as each day passes without killing a buck. I know I’m not the only one.
A lot of us have been programmed to believe that the first two weeks of November are our absolute best chance to kill a buck all year, and if it doesn’t happen then, it might not happen at all. This is far from the truth.
In fact, the second half of November can offer plenty of opportunities on mature bucks as well. Here are a few ideas on how to get it done during the back half of our favorite month.
As we push a little later into November, the lockdown period will wrap up and the number of does in estrous will decrease. When this happens, bucks will start cruising again to find a willing female. This period can be one of the absolute best times to find a mature buck, as the older deer seem to be the ones getting after it the most.
In the last week of November, there’s an increase in cruising behavior similar to what you might have seen during the first week of the month. It’s not uncommon to see midday movement either.
If you can, get in a tree and stay there all day. This is a time to hunt travel corridors and downwind edges of doe bedding areas. Scraping activity will also pickup again, so keep an eye out for fresh sign making.
Another thing that some hunters have to deal with during late November is the opening of firearm season in many states. With gun season there’s always a dramatic increase in hunting pressure. If this is the case where you hunt, one of the best tactics is to simply hunt where no other hunters have been. With firearm hunters flooding the woods, deer will congregate anywhere they can get away from humans.
If you happen to know about a hard-to-reach patch of cover or have been keeping pressure off a specific property, now is the time to get in there and take advantage. You’ll likely find lots of deer using small areas to avoid the armies of orange.
If any lesson has been hammered home for me this year, it’s that anything can happen during the rut. Even though most of November is behind us, there are plenty of opportunities ahead.
Get back in the tree and keep on hunting. If you stay at it, good things will happen.
Feature image by Captured Creative.