There is a lot of talk, every year, about a simple thing like deer fornication, aka, the rut. It is actually quite simple. The plain truth is, the rut will peak where you hunt, the same time it did last year and 100-years ago. The moon has not one thing to do with it. Mother Nature, figured it all out a long time ago and has had no reason to change anything.
There is not one product you can buy that will tell you the best day to hunt. In simple terms, the peak of the rut is when the highest percentage of does get bred. Depending on the makeup of your deer herd, it may be the worst time to hunt. The week preceding may be the best. Usually is. And not one person or product can predict that.
What screws hunters up is the temperature and weather. They base the rut on what they see. That is bad. You only see what happens in daylight and while you are in the woods. If it is hot, you may see very little chasing. It is happening at night when it cools. But trust me, it happens and does get bred.
So if you are trying to decide when to take your vacation, it is simple. Count back 10-days from the peak of the rut in your hunting area. For most, first 10-days of November will usually get it.
My bet-if it is cold enough, Nov. 3-7, should be the best five days of the season in terms of mature buck movement. But…only if I have cool to cold low temperatures. Last year, the lows were in the 60’s. They just lay down and rested.
Ive got 18 days of vacation I'm taking starting Oct. Oct. 26 thru Nov. 3rd and then another 9 days starting Nov. 9th thru the 17th .......... usually works for me... but I do want to see cooler/colder weather during those days ....
If I had to pick one and only one give me the week after Halloween. Weather, particularly temperature, may modify that only to the extent they'll rut more at night rather than daylight hours. I don't want them locked down with does, I want them on the chase. Give me that week with temps in the 40s, dark drizzly days...not rain per se...with little or no wind and I'm good to go.
Cagey veteran wisdom there. I agree also.... no matter the moonphase, weather, nor any other factor.....the deer breeding period is called the rut and depending on where you’re at that day, each hunt could very well be good, great, amazing or possibly even less than stellar. I will def keep that in mind for this season and every one thereafter....
You missed one salient point John.......people research and write up all this info on the rut and what can and should happen but they forget one very important thing........DEER CAN'T READ! They just DO.
Actually have video of a mature buck breeding a doe on November 4, and another video of a mature buck breeding a doe on November 30... Difference - the buck on the 4th was alone with her meaning other does were likely in estrus occupying other bucks at the time... On the 30th, I watch him almost all day with the doe, while he warded off 3 smaller bucks... By that time of the month, pickings getting slim and completion high, although anytime in November is good around here but peak 5 days are from November 7 - 11, Veterans Day... if I had only one day a year to hunt, it most definitely would be November 11th, Veterans Day...
As I stated Nov.5-15 is prime in Northern N.Y. but with the over abundance of does in our area;does are bred at later times also.I got a video Dec.17(week after late MZ season) of a large buck breeding a doe;also with all the small fawns we are seeing this fall there definitely was a lot of late breeding going on.
John - Since your thread here starting to lag a little, and other annual rut threads and predictions will likely start popping up the closer we get to November,,, thought since you started this thread first, will continue...
Was looking over my notes from last year, (kinda been keeping a field note journal for posterity for my grandkids someday), but anyhow here was a day last year, November 21, 2017 with locations blocked out:
"171121 - Peak rut is still on, while working, watched a BIG mature buck tending a doe or does on private property at xxx, bordering xxx... This was around 09:00 AM and there was other bucks running around, including another mature buck... I think there was at least 3 bucks running around there and half a dozen does... Must have been an orgy...8^) Then later around 4:00 PM watch a big mature nontypical tending a doe at the end of xxx just south of xxxx... Nontypical had a unique rack with a lot of mass... Wish I'd got better looks at these bucks, but was working and didn't have the time... This date was a good day of rutting activity..."
Z-bone don't confuse the peak of the rut with the best time to hunt. The rut will peak here, on or about the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Prime hunting days are about 10-day to two weeks prior to that. However, I have seen incidental chasing-following-breeding as late as last week of March. That does not mean, given competition level, you cannot see some serious action during the peak. It is, however common to see most of the mature bucks, already with does and not moving as much during the peak.
As you know, the peak is the period during which the highest percentage of does are bred, not when the peak of movement occurs.
Zbone-BTW, I started keeping journals in about 1984. You will find them a great source of information as you get older and may be treasures for the G-kids. My wife gives me a new leather-bound one each year for Christmas with the year stamped on the cover. Never fail to write something down that may seem insignificant, at the time. I have all mine on two shelves in my office.
"The rut will peak here, on or about the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Prime hunting days are about 10-day to two weeks prior to that."
Totally agree, same dates here... What I meant when I posted above, "anytime in November is good around here but peak 5 days are from November 7 - 11, Veterans Day"... Those are the peak days around here to be afield when all the crazy chasing, scraping, rubbing, fighting is going on practically 24 hours a day for those 5 days to a week or so, then things seem to slow down after about the 13th or 14th, although a lot of breeding is still going on, it's just not as frenzied later as it is from Halloween to Veterans day...
Oops, forgot to add... Am kinda semi retired and laid off since July and somehow with this time off got my internal clock screwed up and usually up much of the night and sleep a lot during the day... How in the heck you think I see these nocturnal groundhogs...8^)
I think little shifts due to weather and food in the areas you hunt change what you see... But at least here in MA, Ill take Nov 1 through 14. If I could only hunt for 2 weeks of the year, that's when I'd go, every year, for ever. My biggest buck was shot on Nov 23, and I've seen other great ones late like that... But far and away, the best days I've had were in that two week window.
I know guys who would slot it a week later or earlier (here), but overall, that first half of November is money for movement.
That's a long way of saying every single legal day is a good day to hunt... but if I had to narrow down the rut in my neck of the woods, the best of it is during those two weeks.
I think doing the fetal countdown (counting backwards) will identify the conception date. Once that is determined you can then estimate the other dates of the rut cycle. That is supposed to be a consistent method. I think I read there was supposed to be an earlier rut cycle this year.
FWIW.....I just got these vids of a small buck sniffing out the does that were in some previous vids. The date is October 11th.
Why does it matter the exact second it happens for guys that hunt every chance we get? Is there anybody that stays home when they could go hunting simply because a buck ain't shagging a doe?!? Not me..
Here's a good article explaining the early rut activity. The author separates it based it on "moon phase" and the "biology phase".
2018 – October 24th – Early – Average Rut
The closer the rutting moon (second full moon after the autumn equinox) falls to November 1, the more intense the rut should be. Looking ahead, 2020 should provide an exciting few weeks of rut hunting. This year the rutting moon falls on October 24th and they are calling for an “early rut” with peak activity occurring around October 24th and continuing through November 2nd. The seeking phase is predicted to begin around October 16th, the chasing phase to begin around October 27th, and the tending/breeding phase also known as “lockdown” to begin around November 5th. That’s an early rut! Instead of the infamous October Lull conditions, the woods may be on fire with pre-rutting activity come mid-October this 2018 deer season. In order for a synchronized rut to occur, three things need to align around November 1st (+/- 3 days): doe estrogen levels peak, bucks testosterone levels peak, and the rutting moon falls near November 1st. According to the rutting moon theory, synchronized ruts are by far the most intense in terms of rutting behavior and activity.
(This information pertains to states north of the 35th latitude where fawning dates are critical to survival)
BEST DATES TO HUNT THE RUT: October 24th – November 2nd
1. The "Based on Moon" dates are based on the actual moon.
2. The "Based on Biology" dates are based on the amount of daylight and are the same every year.
2018 Rut Predictions Based on the Moon
(This information pertains to states north of the 35th latitude where fawning dates are critical to survival) BEST DATES TO HUNT THE RUT: October 24th – November 2nd
Rut Predictions Based on Biology BEST DATES TO HUNT THE RUT: November 4th – November 14th
To sum it up......
The seeking phase is predicted to begin around October 16th, the chasing phase to begin around October 27th, and the tending/breeding phase also known as “lockdown” to begin around November 5th.
One key thing to remember is that you don’t necessarily want to target the peak of breeding (Edit added: Nov 5th and after) for your “RUT-cation”, as this is when bucks will most likely be tending does, thus moving less. Instead, target the ten days (Edit added: Starting Oct 26th) leading up to the peak, as this is when most bucks will be on their feet cruising for does in estrus.
He's just a pup getting excited, although I do believe a few does come in estrus early in October around here, and in fact if you think about it they are the ones that probably actually trigger the rut... Although never actually seen copulation in October (but have on Nov 4th) have seen multiple bucks chasing the same doe the last week of October and the earliest was Oct 20th... Whether one of these multiple bucks ever caught and mounted her, never seen, and something triggered these bucks chasing and likely coming into estrus and late April fawns aren't unusual around here indicating October mating..
Young bucks, 1.5-yrs., have been following does here, for about a week. This morning, I saw one about 125, run a doe through the backyard. It is getting close. Low tonight supposed to be about 30. Should be some following in the morning. I figure full-blown chase phase in about 10-days to two weeks.
Y'all would go nuts trying to pin down the rut in Texas. Depending on location, the rut will be anywhere from September ( cosstal) to January (S Texas). Where I hunt, the normal time to see bucks up and moving, assuming it's not too hot, IS the first of November up until Thanksgiving.
As my granddaughter would say, easy peasey. No matter where you are, it will be the same time it was last year and ten-years before that. In parts of TN and for sure in AL, it can vary by as much as a month from one county to another and from north AL to LA-Lower Alabama, it varies by two months. But...no matter where it is, it has not changed 10-days in 100-years. What you see sure may change, depending on weather. Try hunting Sask or Alberta, in the peak of the chase phase, with temps above 32-degrees. You swear there were no deer, let alone a rut going on.