by Haley Heath

For those of you that have been in the woods and seen the phenomenon of the rut-chasing phase, that experience will likely become the piece that you most look forward to when hunting whitetail. All those other hunting tactics you used during the early season and pre-rut become tossed out of the window—or are they?

Let’s face it, deer are crazy during that brief period and don’t follow all the “normal” routines or paths; however, keep in mind they still have a sense of smell and need to eat and drink. Hunting the wind and certain areas will give you greater odds to be in the hot spot when rut is in full swing!

Not only bucks, but also does, generally prefer to stay in areas in which they are familiar; however, some of this familiarity depends upon the doe population. If the doe population is higher, bucks may not travel far from their home base. That being said, they are certainly happy to travel several miles a day in search of a hot doe if one isn’t on your property.

Hunting where you can see good distances and areas the deer are familiar with like food plots,
open fields, or oak groves tend to be where I find the most success. These are also normally the
areas you can get trail camera photos of mature bucks at night during early season.

Wind direction and having either a cover scent or estrus scent (I prefer Monster Buck Scents
products) will likely help to not spook or alert deer of your presence. As you consider this, have a look at an aerial map of your hunting property (I use the Primos Wind Checker app) to find natural funnels and open spaces in relation to your current stands to see how the wind tends to flow in those areas. Adjust accordingly.

Good luck and safe hunting!