First, Rattle Now
It works best just before the chasing stage. The bucks are on the prowl, and they are looking for a hot doe. Like kids on a playground, they can’t resist watching a fight, especially if mating is the prize. Be persistent. I’ve rattled thousands of times in my life. It rarely works, yet the biggest buck I’ve killed and the biggest I’ve missed came directly to the “horns.”
Pig Out on Stand
I rarely hunt without a grunt tube from the first day of the season until the last. It’s particularly useful during the rut. If a buck is passing out of range, I grunt to lure it closer. On a stand, I cold-grunt every 15 minutes in case a deer is cruising just out of sight. If a doe smells me and snorts, I grunt which usually calms her down.
Roam with a Tripod
For years I wondered why I saw so many bucks while hunting fall turkeys. Duh!!! It was because I wasn’t sitting in a stand. Sneaking up on a bedded or feeding buck is very difficult, yet if you move slowly, grunt and rattle occasionally, a buck may cruise right toward you. Lock your crossbow into a tripod and you can keep both hands free and make accurate shots at longer ranges. Works on turkeys too.
Lay a Scent Trail
Estrus Scent can stop a buck in a specific ambush spot as well as lead it to you. Make sure your boots are clean and walk across as many deer trails as you can on the way to your stand. Spray or pour estrous scent on several leaves and then wipe the soles of your boots on them. As you approach your stand or blind, circle it at a comfortable shooting distance so the deer does not walk right to you.
Maximize your Time
If you wear out waking up to hunt at dawn, change your schedule. During the rut bucks will move throughout the day and mid-day may be your best bet. So many of the rut tricks we read about work best in the pre-rut, but you must be in the woods. Make hunting the rut a marathon instead of a spring you will have more fun, see more deer, and increase your odds for success.
Common Sense about Scents
The worst mistake you can make is to stop and buy gas on the way to your hunt. Your boots will be laden with a petroleum smell, a scent even humans can detect. Take a shower, wear clean clothes and spray down with today’s scent elimination mists.
Put estrus scent on the leaves and walk in it so that every step you take helps lure a buck to you. Freshen scrapes near your stand by digging up the earth which releases a “fresh earth” smell a buck can detect at 100 yards. The pre-rut is the best time to trick a buck. Get out there and give it a try.