2016 Rut Report

    Well that time of year is here and the season is underway.  With the start of the season we at wisconsinbowhunters.com are rolling out our 2016 Rut Report a little early this year.  If you are smart you will have a journal of past years so you can nail down the perfect time to hunt the rut and if you’re like us take that last week of vacation to bag that big buck.  If you don’t know don’t sweat it we can help you on that end.  We check our journals going back to 2001 and how this year is setting up we think we have the plan for you.  Most sites want you to pay for a moon calendar, or buy a calendar for the year and they will put the dates on the calendar for you, not us this is free to you from our research from past years.  I am a believer in the moon phase, but that is not the only factor that comes into play and from past years we can nail it down. 

    First off let me tell you rut really begins when the velvet comes off and the buck’s horns are hard enough to fight off the bachelor groups and they start becoming loners.  Early phases of the rut start right away in September, so let’s kick this off and get you set for the real season.


Phase 1. Feeding phase September 15 – September 30

    This is a phase that is overlooked at great lengths, for the most part bucks velvet is gone and they are hitting the food sources early and often.  In this phase you will still see bucks running together and searching out 2 things food and water.  With that alarm clock going off in their head they know they have to put mass on and food and water is a must.  High protein foods are best, soybeans are great the leaves have changed color and the pods are ready to eat.  If you can set up on a field that has food bucks will not stay in the staging areas long, they want to get to the fields and fill up.


Phase 2. Bachelor group break ups September 30 – October 10

     Here is a phase that is tricky, bigger bucks will start becoming anti-social with other bucks and that will get them on edge.  In this phase you will see bucks chasing other bucks off and this will drive the bucks farther back into cover.  This is where you have to find the bedding areas and set up between the bedding areas and food areas, this is their staging areas.  Sightings of bucks are getting earlier and later so get into your stand an hour before light and sit till dark to have a chance at seeing the buck that is on your hit list. 


Phase 3.  October lull October 11 – October 27

     Many people think that the October lull is when the bucks just shut off and they do not move.  This could not be farther from the truth, sights during the day are very tough, but that’s because most people are set in the wrong spots.  This is the phase were you need to get off the fields and get into the woods.  Moving into the bedding areas is another mistake people make during this time.  Many think that they are lying down and I am going after them.  Do not do this stay patient and things will work out.   Bucks will get on their feet and move around, but you need to get into the traveling corridors, this is a tough phase, but hang tight bucks are still eating they are just getting to the fields late.


Phase 4.  Seeking phase October 27 – November 5

       Here we go this is the start of the best days in the woods.  Barring any set backs with weather this will be the start of what you waited for all year.  During this phase the bucks are just searching for the does and most of the searching will be at night, but hold tight in the traveling trails from bedding to food.  Rubs and scrapes will be noticeable now and if you find a fresh rub line get a stand on it, that buck will come back through.  At this point doe sightings will be down and the food source will be hit at night.  With the Rut moon late it could be a trickle rut, but my journals state different.  I am not saying anyone is wrong, but if the weather turns bucks will be moving.  Look for scrapes and rubs this is a sure sign of things to come.   

Phase 5.  Chasing phase November 6 – November 15

       This phase will overlap the seek phase and it will be very noticeable by the 1st of November.  Intense chasing of does and fighting among bucks will be at a all time high at this point.  The does will be coming into Estrous around the 31st and bucks will be very active.  Scent, rattling and grunting, along with decoys are a great play right now.  Get on the does and the bucks will come running.  Stay seated all day, because daytime sightings of bucks will be at a high.  One key issue with this year is daylight savings time falls on November 1st and the bucks will be moving early.  Rubs and scrapes will be all over the woods and this will be a intense 10 days. 


Phase 6.  Breeding phase November 15 – November 25

       Bucks will have the does on lock down breeding, but once the breeding phase with one is done he will move and find another.  This is the toughest hunting of all phases, but if you use the grunt call and scent correctly you will still have a shot at the buck

Magic week in the woods 

  Ok so if you have a few days that you need to be in the woods this is it.  these days are a must to sit all day and not move.  November 2 to November 12 are going to be the hottest days to put that buck on the ground.  Taking into account the daylight hours and the moon, everything is set up for these 11 days.  Sit tight and they will come, during these days, rattling, and grunting will pay off.

Mike Coulthard

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