Watching Bucks Chase Does Around Is Cool. But It’s Not The Rut. Sooo, When Does The Rut Start? And How Do You Know? Plus, My Hunt Goes On! And I weigh My Options!

Robert Hoague

Robert Hoague

The way it all comes down is like this. When the bucks testicles descend they get interested in does in a sexual way. That feeling intensifies when they are close to shedding their velvet. And after the velvet separates from the buck’s antlers he is ready to breed does (yes, I said does, not doe) he wants to breed every doe he can. However, the does are not good with that … yet!

For the most part the does want to avoid the bucks as their biological clock slowly brings them closer to their rut. It’s not until the doe’s body goes into rut mode that she will be receptive to a buck approaching her.

But before that occurs the doe changes her scent statement away from ordinary by urinating on her hocks and back legs. And as she gets nearer to actually being receptive to breeding, her scent gets more potent every day, until, Bingo, she wants to breed. Now she needs a buck to find her. But we’ll  come back to that, let’s talk about the hunt on October 26. It went like this…

Seems like it was darker than usual this morning. I sat in the dark for over an hour and still couldn’t see it if something was around. I thought about adjusting my alarm time a little. Heck I can probably sleep 10 to 15 minutes more.

At 8:13 I watched 2 does walk along the edge of the gulch. They stopped at a scrape and hung out for 5 minutes and then went on. Soon a young buck walked out near the scrape and came over by me. It looked around but didn’t stop and left through some hay bales to the south. I saw a few more does, mostly solo ones.

At 9:28am a doe walked into view on the edge of the gulch. It stopped briefly and I got it’s picture as it looked around the area. I couldn’t know it, of course, but the pace of my 2016 deerhunts was gonna change … fast.

deer pictures by robert hoague

The doe was alone and it walked over to my immediate area and looked around. I noticed that its hocks were dark, almost black. A minute later I saw a buck walk out of the gulch. I put the binocs on him. He was a 10-point with a large body.

I had another buck in mind but this is an odd year for me because of my shoulder injuries just before the season. I’m using a Darton Scorpion crossbow now because I can’t draw my bow and climbing trees is not an option either. I decided that if I got lucky enough to get a chance at this nice buck I would.

Quickly, I picked up my camera and took a one-handed picture of the 10-point as he came out of the tall weeds and grass. Then I switched the Sony for the crossbow. The doe stood and watched the buck as he got closer to her. He was walking casually rather than being all keyed up.

whitetail buck deer pictures by robert hoague

When he was inside 20 yards and about 10 yards from the doe she came over by my blind and stood. The buck turned toward her. He was a perfect broadside to me and no more than 15 yards. I put the dot of the crossbow sight on his vitals … and pulled the trigger.

Nothing happened! I had neglected to turn the safety off!

I froze for an instant. Both the 10-point and the doe were still here, they didn’t have a clue about what I had just done or that I was only a few yards from them. And I realized something important. These two deer were together. The doe was in rut and she had attracted a ‘buck of interest’. And, while unknowingly, they were still in my hunt.

Cautiously I moved out of the ground blind’s viewing window.