2018 Whitetail Rut-cation Journal
This journal will chronicle my Rut-cation and review tactics, based on weather and timing, to hunt NE Ohio whitetail deer. I look forward to sharing this ongoing story with you.
Good Luck Everyone and – Stay Afflicted with Whitetail OCD
- Pressure 30.43
- SW wind 5 MPH
- Low 28 degrees
- High of 43 degrees
- Waxing Crescent
- Rise: 7:48 AM
- Set: 6:15 PM
- Hunt the hot stand
- Transition zone near doe bedding
- Focus on local intel/observation
- Bucks are seeking, take advantage
- Hunt the hot stand
Finally, the barometer is on the rise. With the colder temperatures and barometric pressure above 30.1, I entered the day optimistic that the bucks would be on their feet. There are a lot of theories about deer movement in the whitetail community. Two I am completely convinced of are the barometer and temperature. The high pressure and low temps always seem to drive buck movement and deer movement in general. According to the weather, the day looked like one of the best we have had all season long.
I headed back into the “BIG ROCK” stand and set up an hour before daylight. Family had told me they were seeing big bucks on the hoof during daylight the past three days. I used this intel to position myself in the best possible stand and settled in with the wind in my face. The air was a cool and crisp 28 degrees and my optimism was high. Just after daybreak, a small six-point made his way down the edge to my stand. His nose was to the ground and he seemed to be on a mission. He worked in and offered a broadside shot at 15 yards. This one and a half-year-old did what I needed a mature deer to do. I watched the youngster walk up the woods edge and out into the field. Seeing that buck on his feet, I felt even more confident in the setup and the movement in general.
I waited until 20 minutes after the buck moved off and hit the grunt tube. With deer on their feet, my intent was to call to a cruising buck and bring him into range. I made three solid contact grunts and I was just putting my call away when I heard footsteps in the timber to my left. The sun was in my eyes but the sounds were definitely those of a deer approaching. I grabbed my bow and stood for a possible shot. Five minutes later, the buck showed himself. It was another young buck with a broken right main beam. He worked into the area looking for the deer making the noise. When the buck came to 15 yards he offered a perfect shot slightly quartering away. The deer stood there for several minutes looking for the source of the call. The young buck decided nothing was going on and moved back into the timber and then exited the woods crossing the hayfield to the opposite woodlot. Two bucks in 30 minutes all within range! It may not have been what I was looking for, but the deer were on their feet.
I gave the buck five minutes to be sure he had moved completely to the other side of the field before making my next calling sequence. This time I chose to be more aggressive with the grunt calling sequence. I grunted long and loud five times with some short pops in between. My intent was to mimic an older age class deer. One to possibly deter the youngsters. Second, to create the illusion of a mature buck intruding the doe bedding area.
I remained standing, scanning the overgrown field for movement. Fifteen minutes later, I spotted antlers moving through the high weeds. Picking up my binoculars, I could see the heavy main beams and the large body of the buck about 90 yards out. He was moving towards the hayfield with a purpose. I picked up my bow getting ready for an opportunity. The buck exited the high weeds with his nose on the ground. It became obvious that a doe was in estrous or close to it with all the bucks in the area and their noses on the ground. The big buck stood at 90 yards and continued to smell the ground. Pulling out my grunt call, I gave two soft grunts. The buck picked his head up and looked in my direction. He did not turn to come in. The deer put his head back down and I grunted again. For the second time, he picked his head up and looked. I was sure he heard me but that sound was not what he was looking for. I slid my call to the doe bleat and offered a long bleat. The buck looked in my direction but still remained hung up at 90 yards. He began to move off away from me and I snort wheezed at him. The buck didn’t slow down and continued to walk up the hill with his nose on the ground. He was almost out of sight and I threw a Hail Mary at him with a short rattling sequence. The buck stopped and looked. He starred back down the hill for several seconds before continuing on his quest. He was on a mission and no amount of calling was going to influence him.
That was the last deer I would see that day. The rain was coming in Thursday night and all day Friday with 30 mph wind gusts. I chose to not hunt due to the heavy rainfall and got caught up on some “honey do” items during the day and a half in between. Saturday and Sunday the temperatures are supposed to be in the low 20’s at daybreak. The wind on Saturday is supposed to be closer to 20 MPH and dying off into Sunday. Two days left of the Rut-cation and I am looking forward to hitting the woods.
Stay Afflicted with Whitetail OCD
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