We strategize, plan and work all year for the deer season, as the months and many weeks of hope and anticipation drag on. Then it happens. The Pre Rut, Peak Rut and Post Rut fly by so quickly that Christmas is just weeks away. However, don't worry because 2017 Post Rut opportunities are coming in hot!
During the Pre Rut every buck gets jacked up at the prospect of days less than a week away. During the initial stages of the Peak Rut every buck finds a date. By the time the Post rut rolls around however, does have been harassed to no end, bucks have lost considerable weight and the while an old monarch may still be ready to breed, he may have a very hard time finding one last doe. The lack of receptive does combined with a few old bucks that aren't ready to call it quits, can create some outstanding opportunities for you!
*The Post Rut offers some great opportunities for a long range cruising monster, and here is How To Hunt It!
Post Rut Forecast Keys To Mature Bucks
There are big opportunities that present themselves during the waning days of the annual whitetail rut. However, make sure not to kid yourself because if you are waiting for bucks flying and does running scared all day long, the Post Rut may demolish your hunting spirit. While the Post Rut may be lite in the number of overall buck sightings, it can provide some incredibly high quality sightings. If you value quality over quantity, the post rut is for you! Here are several important Post Rut factors that you need to know, to be successful in 2017:
1. Mature Bucks Don't Give Up
While the majority of does have already been bred and the less experienced bucks may have fallen back into their traditional Fall patterns, the old boys just don't want to give up. In my experience mature bucks are willing to travel great distances to exhaust every potential of their last hook-up. This is a great time of the year to find an encounter with a giant cruiser who's core daytime bedding area is a mile away or more.
2. Post Rut = Long Hours On Stand
When will that giant from a long distance away, pass by your favorite treestand? Who knows! Long, draining hours of deerless sits can be the norm, but your patience can be handsomely rewarded when the conditions are right, and your stand location has been appropriately chosen for the Post Rut.
3. Cool Weather Post Rut Hunting Opportunities
Imagine this: It's 80 degrees, there are 30mph winds and you are expecting an old bruiser who is thin and worn out from the rut, to cruise a mile or more away from home past your favorite tree stand. I just don't think that is a realistic hope. Instead, make sure to focus on average to below average temperatures for your region, while considering the potential of the current weather patterns to be conducive to long distance mature buck travel.
4. The Rut's Last Weather Flirt
The post rut is not a time when a high % of does are coming into estrus. While a mature buck may travel many miles for one more conquest, the Post Rut can be shut down extremely fast by a major weather warm-up. Make sure to take note of any drop in temperatures or breaks in significant storm patterns, and don't miss out!
*While the moon can guide you to success, it will only happen if the weather is great FIRST! The weather is always the lowest hole in the bucket for daylight mature buck activity. I suggest that to simplify and more accurately forecast your hunting approach, you ignore any moon predictions and follow this proven Whitetail Weather Formula.
Post Rut Funnel Hunting Hotspots
Just about any buck in the woods should know where the doe family group hotspots are located. So, it doesn't take a lot of imagination to guess that a cagey old veteran of a buck, is intimately familiar with every doe hangout within a very large area. My favorite locations to hunt a mature buck during the Post Rut phase, are between major doe bedding areas, and between doe bedding areas and their preferred afternoon food sources. However, another Post Rut consideration should be added to your stand selection strategy: Major land funnels.
During the Post Rut mature bucks can cruise great distances in search of their last doe. With that behavior in mind, finding a stand location between major blocks of cover while still considering the proximity of major doe family group movements, can really pay off! If a doe movement originates from large acres of cover, with connections to other large blocks of timber, then the conditions may be perfect for you to find a stubborn old monster that has drifted through cover for a great distance before heading by your stand.
If you don't have your mind set on seeing huge amounts of rutting activity, but can appreciate a few scattered high quality mature buck encounters; the 2017 Post Rut is for you! Whether you are hunting in MN, WI, MI and NY during the middle of the November, or in Iowa, IL, IN, OH or PA about a week later, the Post rut is coming in pretty fast! Are you ready? Make sure that you don't miss these last few days of the 2017 Rut, because quality has a great chance to overcome the lack of quantity, during your annual Post Rut hunting pursuits.