- By Rich Miller
It is tough to live a thousand miles away from somewhere you really want to be this time of year - Kansas. Especially when every time I turn around I am hearing how many bucks they are seeing out there. I am getting phone calls saying that the bucks are on their feet and really starting to move. On the plus side, right now most of the bucks they are seeing are younger deer so it should be another week or so before the big bucks really get going. What makes all of this so bad is I still have about 10 days before I am supposed to leave to head that way.
I planned my dates earlier in the year for my Kansas hunt and I guess I could leave earlier, but last year I left on the 2nd of November and hunted for about eight days. Although I did get a nice buck, it seemed like we were there about a week early. Trying to figure out which days to be there is always one of our biggest decisions. We only have a limited amount of time to get the hunt done and we need every advantage we can to get a step on these big deer.
You always hear everyone saying they are trying to hit the rut when they travel for a hunt, but that is not what I am after. I want to hit the pre-rut more than I do the full rut. I want to catch these big bucks on their feet, cruising for does and checking scrapes. This is the time of the season when the bucks can be called in and are more predictable in the areas that they have been using.
When bucks are acting like this, grunting, rattling, and decoying works as good as you could ever dream. During full rut, bucks seem to get on a doe and they will not pay attention to anything other than the doe he’s after. You have to count on a lot more luck to get these deer to stop in bow range when they are running a doe. Don’t get me wrong I have taken a lot of deer, and luck was involved in a bunch of them. I will take all the luck can get, but I would rather count on being prepared and correct timing to get it done.
To make me even more anxious, over the past couple of weeks several of my buddies have called and told me about connecting with a Midwest brute already. Chris Parrish tagged a great Missouri buck, Tracy Breen took a trophy Kansas 8-point, Matt Swain thumped a monster buck yesterday afternoon, and Mick Bowman would have been done a week ago if he wasn’t so picky. The stories and pictures from my friends make me want to load the truck tonight and hit the road, but I think it is just going to keep getting better over the next couple of weeks. There is one thing for certain it won’t be long until I am perched in Kansas tree during sweet November.
What about you, would you rather hunt pre-rut or during the rut?