Georgia Hunting Land For Sale South Carolina Hunting Land For Sale North Carolina Hunting Land For Sale Hunting Land and Recreational Property For Sale

Hunting the Rut


The rut is defined as the peak breeding season for whitetails. This peak breeding dates vary according to where you live and while there have been many calendars created signifying when the rut ‘should’ be in a specific area, experience shows these to be guidelines at best.

The rut begins in late September in the northern climates and as late as January in lower Alabama and Mississippi. Some argue that the peak rut in South Carolina is the first two weeks of November. However, Dr. Charles Ruth, Coordinator of the Deer and Turkey project for the South Carolina Department of Natural resources says that the peak breeding in South Carolina occurs on or near October 30th of each year. This being the case, the peak of the rut would fall between October 23 and November 6. Your particular experience may adjust these dates somewhat, but I can attest that in my area of the midlands of SC, this is just about perfect. Our records show that most of our deer are killed between October 25 and October 28.

Bucks are on the move looking for receptive does. They are not so much chasing, as they are searching for does that ready and willing. Fighting also increases as bucks compete for the willing ladies.

Here again, hunters who are willing to put in the time will increase their odds at killing that buck they are chasing. Sitting on stand for as long as you can will help to increase your odds and success. Keying in on areas that show a lot of rubs and scrapes will also help. Many hunters really prefer one over the other, when it comes to rubs and scrapes. I have seen on my property that I seldom find scrapes. For some reason bucks do not go through a lot of trouble making scrapes. But I do find a lot of rubs and for me, a rub line is one of the most promising sign I can find for big mature bucks.

As the rut gets into full swing, big bucks will begin making more and more rubs to spread their scent and mark their territory. Find big rubs and you will find big bucks. When locating big rubs, I also look for trees that have been rubbed for several years. Bucks will generally rub the same tree if its available. Case in point, a big mature buck I have been hunting for three years now, has some favorite trees that show scarring of previous year rubbing activity. I know he is in the area because the same trees are rubbed every year. That is not to say that other bucks wont rub the same tree, it’s just a good reference to find trees that have been rubbed for numerous years.

Secondly, when I find a heavy concentration of rubs, and or a line of rubs, I know I am in his core zone and there is nowhere else I want to be during this time of year.

Setting up along rub zones will definitely increase your odds at putting that buck in your crosshairs. Using the bucks territorial tendencies against him by setting up in his core area, grunting and rattling and sitting as long as you can will help your odds. The old saying is true, you cannot kill him if you are not there, so do all you can to keep yourself in that stand as long as possible.

The rut can produce some very exciting hunting, by using all phases of this annual cycle will give you the most opportunity to find and kill that buck of your dreams.