Mature Buck Strategies

Whitetail Secondary Rut Hunting Strategies

whitetail secondary rut

Instead of long days on your treestand where a mature buck can cruise by at any second during the primary rut, the secondary rut features short bursts of precision morning bedding and afternoon feeding movements. If you plan to connect during the annual 2nd rut, you will need to alter your traditional rut hunting strategies.

While I always encourage you to not limit your all-day primary rut hunting opportunities to just 1 stand, that strategy becomes even more critical during the secondary rut. The need to use separate morning and afternoon stand locations is a great tactic during all phases of the rut, because it allows you to maximize your opportunity to hunt whitetails as the focus on morning bedding or afternoon feeding movements. Rarely does one stand have it all. During the secondary rut phase, you will find deer focusing more and more on herding within drastically shrinking acres of secure daily bedding and feeding opportunities. The more that deer change their habitat focus as the season progresses, the more the you need to change your hunting strategy from all-day primary rut cruising setups to more compact, morning bedding or afternoon food source specific, secondary rut stand locations.

*Rut Cruising Setupsthat focus on either afternoon food or morning bedding, can be exceptional hits during the annual secondary rut!

How To Hunt The Annual Secondary Rut

While mature bucks can cruise in any number of high quality rut habitat funnels, from deep in the woods to within an open food source, the secondary rut is all about the ladies. Doe family group daily movements are compact, predictable and easy to take advantage of. You can plan for an expect, secondary rut mature buck opportunities to follow suit. Here are 3 ways that you can take advantage of the secondary rut, this season.

1. Secondary Rut Weather Forecast Opportunities

Extreme cold, sleet and snow can create some high precision hunting opportunities during the secondary rut. By focusing on the calm periods just before a major system blows thru, during significant breaks in the weather and during the 1-2 days right after the event, you can experience the high powered combo of both the secondary rut and weather-influenced late season feeding movements.

2. Afternoon Food Source Rut Setups

Remote hotspots that combine food, mock scrapes and sometimes water, can attract the focus of a mature buck seeking his last receptive doe of the season. The first spot that does pour into during their afternoon food source movement, is the #1 spot to connect on a secondary rut buck. That location is also the most precise and secure of their daily movements, often placing them in the back hidden corner of a field or food plot, and well out site if frequent hunter traffic areas. The longer you allow the movement to go unpressured on a daily afternoon basis, the more likely you are to pull the trigger on one of the oldest bucks in the neighborhood. Secondary rut evening food source mature buck opportunities, may just be some of the biggest slam dunk hunt opportunities of the entire season.

3. Morning Secondary Rut Precision Cruising Strategies

While you have to make sure that you don't diminish the value of a potential evening secondary rut slam dunk, setting up between major doe bedding areas during the morning can turn a cold morning hot, pretty quickly! However, don't be surprised if you find deer bedded down at daybreak, trying to conserve energy during the coldest time if the day. Mid-morning Woody browsing opportunities near bedding areas can be a great bet, and make sure to take note of significant morning to morning warm-ups, following bitter cold periods.

whitetail secondary rut

*Don't forget about using highly defined whitetail movement hotspots like Waterholes and Mock Scrapes, to create precision secondary rut stand location opportunities.


Doe family groups rule the secondary rut. If you keep your hunting focus on the ladies during the season's most compact but high quality, mature buck hunting opportunity, you can use 2 stand locations per day to create some exceptional rut sits!


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