PEAK BREEDING

Field and Stream - - COVER STORY -

THE LOW­DOWN

This is when the ma­jor­ity of does en­ter es­trus. Most bi­ol­o­gists con­sider this the rut’s peak. Most hun­ters call it lock­down—and want to pull their hair out. Bucks that teemed in the tim­ber just days ago seem to van­ish as they tend does. But they’re not gone.

EX­PERT TIPS 25. BUST THEM LIKE BUNNIES

“Dur­ing lock­down, bucks cor­ral does in small odd­ball cov­ers. My rule is: If it’s big enough to kick a rab­bit from, it’s big enough for a buck to rat-hole a doe. I’ll sneak close to that iso­lated cover and rat­tle or call to suck in a buck that’s tend­ing a doe. We’ve killed eight or 10 bucks scor­ing 170 or bet­ter with this tech­nique.” —J.G.

26. CATCH SOME SUN

“Does—even re­cep­tive ones—seek thick cover now to avoid be­ing ha­rassed by bucks. South­fac­ing slopes are per­fect, since they fea­ture brushy habi­tat that’s also warmed by the sun. That com­bi­na­tion makes these ar­eas great am­bush sites for re­cep­tive does and the ma­ture bucks that fol­low them.” —G.W.

27. MOVE A LIT­TLE CLOSER

“Breeding pairs are fa­mous for lock­ing down for hours at a time. But sooner or later one of the two deer will want to get up and stretch its legs, and the other one will fol­low suit. Since they’re not go­ing far for a cou­ple of days, I use that chance to move a stand closer and wait for them to re­turn. It might take a cou­ple of set­ups, but even­tu­ally I’ll be close enough to get a good shot.” —D.P.

28. QUIET YOUR STEPS

“Doe bed­ding ar­eas are good places to find a buck that has a mate pinned down. To get to stands in these ar­eas, I make places to put my feet along the last 75 yards of my en­try path by scrap­ing 12-inch spots down to bare dirt. Then I can slip in with­out a sound. I’ve

some­times had a big buck stand up af­ter hours of be­ing bed­ded close to my stand with his doe.” —B.W. 29. STAY PUT “If you can only han­dle a cou­ple of all- day sits in a sea­son, save them for lock­down, and set up near a thick doe bed­ding area. Once a buck is done tend­ing one doe, he’s go­ing to look for the next, no mat­ter what time of day it is. Plus, lock­down aligns with the ri­fle sea­son in a lot of states, which can get a buck on his feet at mid­day.” —T.M.

Locked Down

Bucks are tend­ing does now, but you can still score.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.