Bowhunting the Illinois Rut – Day 3

Earlier this year when the “experts” began writing about their rut predictions, it was pretty much unanimous that this year’s rut was going to be slow.  A “trickle rut” as some call it, with a general lack of the crazy chasing that generally defines the rut to most bowhunters.  Whether these guys were right or it’s just a big coincidence, I can pretty much say this year’s rut has sucked!

This morning started out with high hopes as a cold front moved through on Saturday and the winds had calmed down.  For all practical purposes this morning was “perfect” by bowhunting standards.  32 degrees and a slight SW wind were perfect for our setup, but there was only one problem – no deer!  Well, I shouldn’t say that.  We saw deer, just nothing we wanted to shoot.  Over the course of the 5 hours we sat in stand this morning we saw 4 different 1 1/2 year old bucks who were certainly feeling their oats, but weren’t running around with their tongues hanging out like I’d prefer to see.  Instead they kind of just walked through the woods, no doubt in search of a hot doe, but at a pretty steady and careless pace.  The big boys however, were nowhere to be seen!

The view from this morning’s stand.  Sure would look a lot better if there was a big buck standing there.

One of several visitors we had this morning.  A young buck out looking for love, but only finding two guys in a tree.

With a 5 hour drive home ahead of us we decided to leave after the morning’s hunt to get home at a reasonable time.  I have one day left of vacation which means tomorrow morning I’ll be in a tree somewhere in Lake County.  It’s down to the wire for what I would consider “good” hunting, so it’s do or die time.  If the weather cooperates in the morning you just never know, I may get a shot at a suburban whitetail yet.

The Apache has proven itself to be a wonderful rest.  3 shots, 3 kills so far this season.  Let’s hope to make that 4 tomorrow.

Justin Zarr
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Justin Zarr

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Justin has been bowhunting for more than 25 years, harvesting a number of P&Y whitetails in his home state of Illinois during that time.  He co-hosts the popular bowhunting show 'Bowhunt or Die' and is a frequent guest on numerous hunting podcast.  Justin lives in the NW suburbs of Chicago with his wife and 3 children.
Justin Zarr
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  1. Brandon T says:

    It is either going to be a slow trickling rut or be picking up around the end of next week. I almost had a shot at a nice shooter 10 pointer Saturday morning Nov.13. I literally saw this buck bed down at 7 am and did not get up until right at dark. Yes this buck bedded for 10 hours that day. Granted the winds were blustery, but very little rutting movement on this deers part. This should be evidence of the lack of rutting activity.

  2. Dan Worthington says:

    Rutted hard the 6-9th. Lots of big bucks chasing then, now seems the big bucks are locked up with hot does. Still seeing small bucks moving. You must have a week late if you were looking for some good chasing in west central illinois.

  3. Saw a lot of bucks nov 11 including a nice 10 point. Went back in the
    afternoon and saw 2 6 pointers. Bucks are cruising but not really chasing yet
    have seen bucks moving at1 to 3pm lately in west central Illinois
    rut is coming in late by what i have seen


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