Target doe groups. That’s what rutting bucks do and so should you. The does will remain closer to home, and tend to stick to thicker cover. Hunt the fringes of doe bedding areas, particularly the downwind side. Those heavy cruiser bucks have learned how to save time by scent-checking areas frequented by does.
Focus on travel routes. You can’t get into bedding areas without busting deer. And feeding routines get blown up during the rut. But bucks are on the move and will follow travel corridors that offer the best cover and the least resistance. Look especially along stream and river corridors and narrow strips of timber in agricultural areas.
Hunt all day. This time of year bucks could be moving any time. In fact, ask most outfitters and they’ll tell you most of the really big bucks get killed between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when most hunters are out of the woods.
Grunt, rattle and smell. Calls and scents become especially effective during the rut. Research shows rattling is most effective in the morning, but can work any time of day. Aggressive grunts and growls, and mock scrapes may lure passing bucks out of hiding.