Rut Tracker 12-14-18 Rut Meter -10%


Last week we reported a marked decline in rut activity, this week we must lower the rut meter even more. A few late to estrus does are still to be bred, but across the majority of the whitetail world it’s time to declare “RUT OVER”.

With the exception of a few scattered southern locations, the rut pretty much arrives and ends with relative consistency across most of whitetail country, the farther North you are, the more well defined and uniform the rut will be. If you are lucky enough to hunt in one of the areas where the rut has yet to arrive, there is plenty of rut action ahead. Sadly, some 90% or so of the whitetail hunters out there are saying “good by” to the rut for another year.

But that doesn’t mean you have to quit deer hunting. Late season is a great time to kill the big buck you have been after for all year, the big boys are busy repairing the rut ravaged bodies, which means rumens full of carbs resting their tired bodies, the big boys are more interested in eating than fighting, in fact, some antlers have already been cast.  The fawns and does are back together, and the herd is beginning to return to normal.

Gone is the allure of the opposite sex. Replacing it is the need to survive. That means food. However, there is a good chance that available food sources have changed since the rut began. Maybe not.


Late season deer crave anything green and growing and anything rich in heat producing carbohydrates, that means, acorns, corn, and soybeans, and early winter brassacas. Whitetails dig turnips , relish radishes and they won’t pass up a carrot anytime they can get one. Late season apples are a delicacy as are left over berries. When they can’t find their favorites, they will fill their rumens with leaves, twigs, buds and just about anything that once grew. Did we mention the decorative shrubs you planted last spring?

Late season hunts may be all about food, but they are also all about stealth. The deer have been hunted all fall and they are not about to stand there waiting to be turned into freezer fare. Go gently, and don’t be afraid to change the rules of engagement. More than one old late season buck has been taken when temps reach their high for the day, sometimes a mid-day hunt will out produce the usual morning and evening sits. The deer are busy packing on the pounds and this time of year, you never know when the whitetail dinner bell will go off.

With that, The Hunting Page will sadly close the “Rut Tracking” log book for 2018 the year ask you to never forget that “The Fabric of America is Made of Deer Hide”.