No, this is not a whitetail attempting to mount a truck. It is, however, one of the best times to smash a mature buck. While peak breeding is past, there are a handful of does still to be bred, and after weeks of running, fighting, chasing, and breeding, it’s the older, bigger bucks in particular that have the stamina to keep looking for those last breeding opportunities.
EXPERT TIPS 32. WORK THE WIND
“I like to set up along a travel corridor so that the wind is almost perfect for the buck and almost wrong for me. Sometimes that exists where there’s some obstacle that forces a buck to travel without the wind in his face for a short distance. Other times a buck may travel with the wind quartering into his face, rather than full into his face. He thinks he’s O.K., but there’s just enough angle for you to take advantage.” —B.W.
33. MAKE A MIDDAY RUN
“When older bucks are seeking out those last does, the action takes place near the best doe feeding areas. I leave these spots alone in the morning and check cameras there at midday to see where the most does are feeding. Then I hunt the hottest spots in the afternoon. I always see bucks that I’ve never seen before—I think they’re mature bucks from other areas—and it’s an excellent time to shoot a giant.”
—Chris Parrish, pro staffer, knightandhale.com
34. GO WITH A DOE
“At this point in the season, lots of bucks are tired of fighting. So I switch to a lone-doe decoy setup. I focus on ag fields and food plots in the afternoon and
use lots of estrous scent and a can call.”
—Tim Herald, hunting consultant and TV host, world widetrophy adventures.com
35. BACK OFF
“We kill mature bucks during this phase every year with a simple tactic: setting up 100 to 200 yards off a prime food source that does are hitting hard. Does bomb into the field to feed, but bucks linger in that safe zone, waiting for the does to come back to them. While they wait, they make plenty of rubs and scrapes. Set up on that sign, and you’ll have encounters with bucks in good shooting light, as opposed to hunting right on the food.” —T.C.
36. RATTLE LATE
“I like to head to field edges or other spots where I can see a good ways, and I keep my rattling antlers close. I feel that if I see a good buck, I can call him in. He’ll be frantic to find a doe, so the rattling will get his attention, and if he doesn’t charge in to that, I go straight to grunts and bleats. But rattling now kills some of the best bucks in the country.” —J.G.
37. GO FULL OUT
“I call this the ‘desperately seeking’ phase, and in my opinion it is the single best time of the year to kill a buck that is 51⁄2 years old or older. They’ve been so lazy all year long, they’re the only ones with energy left for does. My favorite time to hunt is midday during a full moon. A big, seeking buck is already apt to move at midday, and movement is always better when you’ve got a full moon.” —M.D.
38. TAKE A TARSAL
Many hunters know the trick of cutting the tarsal or “hock” gland off a buck or doe and using it as a scent attractant. What you may not know is that the pickup breeding phase is an especially good time to put this trick to work. At this point in the rut, after weeks of rub urination (done by both bucks and does), tarsals positively reek. Plus, increasingly wary bucks are more likely to fall for the most realistic scent you can get your hands on. —S.B.
Xxxxx Xxxxxx Xxx x xx x x x xx x xxxxxx x xx x xx x xx x xxxxxx.