While the peak breeding is still about a week out, expect the best buck movement in the next five to seven days
Last week, we said the rut was about ready to rock, and we were right. This week has been even better, and we're nearing peak seeking and chasing. The next 10 days should see the best buck movement of the year. Afterward, the bulk of bucks and does will be locked down, with intermittent movement for the week following that.
Heath Rayfield with Buckventures hunts all over the Midwest. In general, he says the bucks are starting to push a few does, but he expects the best action to be a week or so out. Recently, he shot an Oklahoma buck that was still on a clear bed-to-feed pattern.
Drilling down on specific locations, Realtree pro staffer Carl Drake is in Indiana, and he says the mature bucks are beginning to move in daylight regularly. Mature deer are checking scrapes, but not chasing. He expects great action to break out in the next day or two.
Also in Indiana, Realtree contributor Dan Infalt is hunting some public ground. He says that although most does aren't receptive, the bucks are certainly cruising. Mature bucks are in search of the first estrous does. He's seeing all-day activity.
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Outdoor writer Clint McCoy is currently cashing in some timber time in Illinois. Mornings are cold and clear with high pressure and light wind, making for excellent action right off the bat at first light, he says. Mature bucks are starting to daylight more, and I am seeing some light seeking behavior right now. Midday has been unproductive for me in the last three sits. Midafternoon movement has been increasing, and I've been seeing good activity from 2 p.m. to dark. Bucks are certainly feeling their testosterone. It's a great time to find fresh rubs or try a decoy to provoke a fight.
As for me, I'm spending time in Indiana and Ohio. In the Buckeye State, the mature bucks are really starting to daylight and are harassing does daily. In the Hoosier State, bucks are doing the same. Hopefully by this time next week, I'll have a buck on the ground to show for it.
As a whole, the region is a tinderbox about to flame up with serious rut action. If you're a bowhunter and want to experience the best hunting of the year, you'd better spend the next seven days in the deer woods. It's go time.
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