Hunting the rut is all about timing. Tactics change as the rut progresses; hunting scrapes is different from hunting during times when bucks are chasing does and success involves the proper set-up.
One of the big factors regarding success is the weather — unlike the northern and midwestern states, our winters are often mild and non-distinct, keeping deer movement to a minimum when temperatures rise to the 70s and 80s during December and January.
The two weather factors that I pay close attention to are temperature and barometric pressure. When the daily temperature stays below the 60-degree mark and the barometric pressure is 29.9 inches of mercury and rising, I am going to be in the stand and will stay in the stand.
My success with adult bucks (those 3 ½ years and older) is pretty good when the BM is at 30 inches or better.
Moon phase for me does not seem to be a major factor when planning hunts, although my best success has come on those days between the new moon and the full moon — with my best success coming on days around the full moon.
The research done on this subject is also somewhat inconclusive.
The telemetry research regarding deer movement continues to confirm the activity that we often see at daylight and right before dark. Since much of my hunting is done on cold days when a front has moved through, my best success occurs after the sun has come up and started to warm up the woods, generally between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.
When hunting scrapes, I like to be there before daylight because bucks will often work them right at daylight. While I do hunt in the afternoons, my adult buck kill list is not real impressive.
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