Whitetail Deer Rut – When is it?
Every year I get asked “how do you predict the whitetail deer rut”? I actually have a very simple answer, even though it may not be a simple question.
There are many studies on what triggers the whitetail rut. We know the amount of daylight, the slowly waning amount of daylight hours, is certainly the main trigger. As the days reach a certain length in your area, the deer are triggered to begin the rut. Others say the cooling temperatures are an added rut trigger, but as variable as our crazy weather is, it certainly can’t be a really large contributor. Other studies say it is the phases of the moon and its light and gravitational pull that starts the whitetail deer to begin their breeding season. Of course, to complicate matters, there are other studies that debunk the moon as a contributing factor.
Lucky for us, we live in the Internet Age. Data for rut timing for many years past is always available for every area of the country. So how do I determine the rut? After pouring through years of data, it seems to be very simple: In Wisconsin, the rut seems to peak very near November 7th every year. Sure, it may be a few days early or a few days late, but it is generally right in that time frame. I try to schedule time in the stand for the weekend proceeding November 7th, the weekend after November 7th and as much time as possible during that week. If I do that, I will see rut activity.
The rut makes bucks more accessible. It doesn’t make whitetails dumb as sticks. Control your scent. Play the wind. Choose the best stand. Use the current weather patterns to your advantage. And last, make sure you use the best whitetail deer rut scents you can get. Don’t waste money (or spook deer) on spoiled urine scents or poor quality synthetic rut scents. Sure, knowing the exact day of the rut may be somewhat helpful, but if you short change any of your other preparations, success will be much harder to achieve during this years whitetail deer rut.