How to Hunt the Rut


For hunters, it can be easy to get stuck in a rut. Once you figure out the gear you like and the places to like to hunt, changing spots, stands, and tactics can be tough. Adapting to changes in your prey’s mood can mean going home with a trophy buck on days when other hunters head to the truck empty handed. If there’s a time you don’t want to get stuck in a rut with your tactics, it’s when you’re hunting the rut. OutdoorLife‘s Andrew McKean explains the best aggressive tactics for hunting the rut.


For whitetail freaks, the rut is the Super Bowl of deer hunting—a brief, action-packed time when mature bucks previously thought to be untouchable are suddenly vulnerable. It’s a time when top-heavy monsters are fired up and ready to rock—which means you’d better be ready to break from the subtle hunting tactics that you’ve been using in weeks prior and get downright nasty. A rut-charged buck is the antithesis of meek. Your calling, scent, and decoy tactics must match his mood. Now’s the time to become aggressive: Picking a fight with the biggest and meanest buck in the woods must be the goal.

Photos: John Eriksson Images on the Wildside (top); Jared Moossy (above)

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Shannon Rikard
Shannon Rikard is a freelance writer and photographer with a passion for conservation and wedding and portrait photography. The Archery Trade Association and National Wild Turkey Federation have published her work. A self-professed word geek, she enjoys Wheel of Fortune, crossword puzzles, and finding a dynamite synonym to illustrate any point. After starting her career in public relations with a national conservation organization, she ventured out on her own with Copper Door Studios.