Mature Buck Strategies

Powerful Rut Cruising Whitetail Habitat Setups

rut cruising whitetail habitat

When you combine mock scrapes, a waterhole, giant rubs, natural habitat funnels and a few minutes of chainsaw work, you can easily create multiple high powered whitetail rut cruising stand locations. And when you do, don't forget to hang a trail camera to make sure that you don't miss out on all of the rutting action!

Powerful whitetail rut cruising conditions can easily be created to produce daylight mature buck movement past several stands at once. If you can put a little elbow grease on the private land that you hunt or scout and find some of these locations on your favorite public land hunting grounds, it isn't hard to experience some great hunting action during the rut!

*Creating advanced whitetail Habitat for Mature Bucks, isn't about filling the woods with improvements. Instead, great habitat features precision micro-movement creations that create the potential to highly define buck movements, during the hours of daylight.

Ingredients Needed For Rut Cruising Setups

Asside from having at least 1/2 of your habitat included within an overall plan that allows deer to never see you, hear you or smell you, creating highly defined cruising movements within your habitat can be an extremely powerful tactic. Buck Micro Movements will not only keep the deer focused in the right direction, but can create incredible daylight cruising activity during the rut!

Think of each micro rut cruising movement as one giant arrow of buck movement. The more your arrows align to keep deer focused from food to bedding and bedding to bedding, the more you can control and define movement within your parcel boundaries across your entire habitat. At the same time keep in mind that the more arrows of movement that you have, the greater the likelihood that you will experience random and undesirable buck movements that can actually hurt your hunting, habitat and herd management efforts. Less is more when it comes to creating a rut cruising setup, and I would not only make sure that every habitat improvement that you makes points towards another improvement, but that you are making no more than 1-2 for every 20 acres of cover. Here are 6 ingredients that you can take advantage of, to create high powered rut cruising movements, during the hours of daylight:

1. Mock Scrape Setups

The beauty of a mock scrape is that they take very little time to create, and that you can place one just about anywhere you need one to be, within a highly defined mature buck line of habitat movement.

2. Deer Waterhole Movement Anchors

Would you like to pack the power of a late standing bean field into a 110 gallon tank? Then make sure to consider adding a waterhole to your favorite rut cruising setup. Since the mid 2000s I have been teaching my clients, readers and viewers to use container created waterholes to Anchor Deer Movement, and simply - they work!

3. Natural Rut Cruising Habitat Funnels

The best buck movement setups contain a lot of natural features, which is why you can often find a combination of these rut cruising setups on public land; it just takes a lot more boot time. When the lay of the land, topography and habitat combine to create natural funnels, it pays to take advantage of them! Typically my favorite movements allow for two treestands to be located approximately 50-60 yards apart, right at the edge of the movement. This moderately wide funnel allows for stand locations to be used in a variety of wind directions, morning and evening hunting, as well as potentially different access routes. By placing your mock scrape and waterhole combo right in the middle of the movement, you can create great bowhunting opportunities from either stand location.

rut cruising whitetail habitat

*Don't be fooled into taking a survey of the local deer herd during the off-season. During the season is the only time you can actually create a quality herd or hunt, so your buck number matter most in late October, not before the season even begins. Make sure to trail cam your favorite buck movements, so that you can get a critical important, in-season survey of the Local Buck Population.

4. Cruising Buck Travel Corridors

With a chainsaw and a few minutes of work, you can create some outstanding Rutting Buck Travel Corridors! Cutting a 4-5' gap in downed logs, cutting gaps in old fences and brush choked habitat and making sure there is no room for interpretation, can place a cruising buck exactly where he needs to be for a shot with a bow. It often doesn't take much cutting to get the job done quickly.

5. Giant Buck Rub Rutting Activity

When you add scrapes, water, funnels and corridors between large social hotspots of bedding and food, guess what happens? Giant buck rubs appear. Think of a giant buck rub in a new rut cruising setup, as a buck's way of saying "Well Done!", for your all of your hard work.

6. Trail Camera For Rut Activity Assessment

Folks, trail cameras don't spook deer (ok, some of the old style glowing red infrared bulbs do), people spook deer. By placing your trail cams at 6' or above, hiding their profile, keeping them hidden and making sure they are not directly in the line of a deer's nose or eyes, you can place a trail camera near your favorite stand location and count on, Not Spooking Deer. One of my favorite tactics for deciphering mature buck movement on small parcels located in high hunting pressure regions, is to use a trail cam within shooting distance of several key treestand locations. Trail cams do not spook deer, if just pay attention to a few small details. Just like "guns don't kill people, people do", the same can idea can be said for using trail cams: "Trail cams don't spook deer, people do". When you create a high powered rut cruising set up, don't forget to stick a high quality trail cam on in it, and enjoy the intel that you can collect.

*Would you like a trail camera that you can leave in the woods for 365 days, and rely on it to still be taking pictures and video when you retrieve the SD card?The Exodus Trail Camsthat I have been using for 2 seasons will not only provide that level of quality for you, but the folks at Exodus actually guarantee their trail cameras will not mechanically fail, for a full 5 years!


Creating a few powerful rut cruising setups on your land can payoff big time during the entire hunting season, let alone the rut. The ability for you to create highly precise mature buck movement, pointed around your land and between food and bedding, is a great way to not only keep deer on your land during the hours of daylight, but to be able to hunt and manage the herd with a high level of success.


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