Real World Rut Tacticson Nov 11, 2012
Contributed by: Brodie Swisher
In today’s over-commercialized world of hunting TV, we typically see success portrayed by a particular product used. Countless hunters get duped into believing that hunting the rut simply involves blowing a grunt call, bangin’ the antlers together, tipping over the can call, and here comes the buck. We’re lured into the thinking that there’s a monster buck behind every tree, and that with just one puff on the grunt call, he’ll come runnin’. Just that easy! Why? Because we’ve seen it happening on TV…in less than 2 minutes. We’re often told that if we’ll just spray down with this product, or hang that product at our stand, success on rutting bucks will surely come our way. The truth is there is more to hunting the rut than gadgets and gimmicks. Don’t get me wrong. I love gear. I love trying new products each season. But the reality is, when it comes to hunting the rut in the real world, the deadliest of tactics may not be seen on TV.
Closing in on the Core
No product or secret weapon can replace the priceless value of knowing the core area of the bucks you hunt. If you’re simply after an average buck, you’re sure to have ample encounters during the rut if you put your time in on the treestand and hunt areas where deer frequent. But putting your tag on a mature buck will take knowing the playing field in a greater way. You have to know his haunts…the place he calls home.
Finding the core area where bucks hang out is vital to success; no matter where it might be.
Todd Pringnitz of Wicked Tree Gear and White Knuckle Productions lives for getting close to big bucks. More than half the adrenaline rush for him involves letting younger bucks walk as he waits on the biggest buck in the woods. “People have this misconception that big mature bucks throw caution to the wind and run around crazy during the rut,” says Pringnitz. “Immature bucks do for-sure. But what I'm finding where I hunt, is once a buck hit's 5-1/2 years old, they are only vulnerable a couple days a year outside of their core area, which is usually very small. Those couple days are when you can get "lucky", but I'm not much of a believer in luck. Move in tight when the weather and conditions are good, and get aggressive if you need to.”
Once you’ve closed in on the core area you must begin to tread lightly and be very cautious regarding the time you spend in this area. “Kill the first night in,” says Pringnitz. “This means unless you have a buck pegged, stay out until the time is right, considering big bucks don't really start traveling much during daylight until late October. Don't burn your best spots out early. Field edges and easy access spots are what I hunt early in the season, unless I have a reason to believe I could catch a buck in his core area. For me, the ultimate spot for hunting the core during the rut is when I can put the wind "mostly" in a big buck’s favor, yet still cut him slightly….that's a kill set-up.”