Contrary to what the name implies, still hunting is the act of walking through the woods, slowly looking for game. It is slow, effective, and very hard to learn to do correctly. Once mastered, still hunting can be one of the most productive hunting methods is the whitetail woods.
Hunting the rut is the single most productive time for deer hunters. The rut is the time when does are in estrous and the bucks are actively chasing them. This is the time when the popular saying "Find the does and you will find the Bucks", really applies.
Due to the does being in estrous, bucks tend to travel large distances looking for does, during the rut. Well worn-trails between bedding areas and food sources are excellent places to set-up a stand.
Rubs and Scrapes
Rubs and scrapes that are actively being tended are also excellent areas to concentrate hunting activity. Rubs (raking the horns against a tree) during the rut are not made to remove the velvet, they are made to signal to other deer, dominance and the desire to breed. The buck leaves behind sent from the glands around its eyes. Scrapes are made by pawing at the ground and then urinating over the glands in the hind legs leaving behind a scent. Both rubs and scrapes indicate that a mature buck is in the area. Set-up your stand a good distance away as bucks will often "test" the air, when approaching a rub or scrape.
Calling is very effective during the rut, especially if you are fortunate enough to live in an area with a high buck to doe population. Doe bleats are very effective, as they will bring in any buck in the area. You can also try rattling and buck grunting, during the rut, both are great ways to bring in the mature buck, as he will be trying to keep his area free of all other intruding bucks. If you happen to see a buck chasing a doe, try a buck grunt, he will want to chase out the intruder before continuing the pursuit. In the above situation a doe bleat will seldom work because the buck is already on a doe.
The single best scent for the rut is doe estrous. Bucks, again, will be running all over the place looking for does that are in heat. Any that cross the scent will come in for a look.
The rut is the best time to get in the woods early and stay late. By picking a good location (trail or rub/scrape line) and using calls and scents, you will increase your chances of success.
Happy Hunting and Good Luck
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