- By Brandon Wikman
Across the Midwest hunters have been awaiting this precious time. A time when people take off work, skip school, and use those sick days to their advantage. It’s the whitetail rut!
The rut may be in full swing, but the intensity of the lovesick chase is dwindling by day. Bucks that are love-struck and seeking a companion that’s willing to give in is hard to find when most of the activity is occurring at night. The rut is just as glamorous as the weather this time of year. When the weather is mild, so is the daylight activity. Bucks tend to move during the cooler hours of dawn and dusk, which puts hunters in a predicament.
It’s clear to say that the moment of truth can happen at any given time during this period of the rut, but the odds plummet drastically. Deer are lugging around a thick and burly winter jacket right now. They don’t like to move as much when temperatures escalate. In fact, it’s proven that whitetail movement decreases and the heat index increases. Deer waylay throughout the day and hit up a late night fiesta. It would be like you or I tossing on extreme arctic weather clothing and running laps around our house. Not fun.
I’ve been filming for my cousin for the last week. He’s yet to score on a buck this season, but like most, he’s hitting the woods hard right now. It is fascinating to witness how dramatically the weather influences deer movement from our point-of-view. Last week the weather was very brisk. A cold front stormed through the Midwest and the woods went bonkers. We camped out all day in the stand and saw bucks cruising throughout the day. In fact, every single hour in stand proved to be incredible. It wasn’t a day after when things changed, for the worse.
An unseasonal high pressure system boosted the temperatures into the mid-50s by day and 40’s by night. We were both hoping for the best, but had an idea things weren’t going to go our way. Needless to say, the only movement we saw was a few dink bucks during first and last light. I’ve been looking at the weather forecast for the next few days. It doesn’t look good. The upper Midwest will be seeing temperatures jumping to the 60’s by the weekend, which is near record highs for most states during November! It is a dreary thought, but the weather is beyond our control. We are able to reduce our odors, choose our locations, and so much more, but we can’t change the weather.
My best advice is to focus on bedding areas during dawn and dusk. The mid-day rutting activity will slow down to a dribble. We are planning to hunt mornings and evenings, and save our backs and behinds some trouble.
I wish everyone the best as we approach the middle of November. This is a time when many hunters find their dreams evolving into a reality. Hunt hard, hunt safe and good luck!