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  • Late Rut Hunting Strategy - Back to the Basics #3 “CALCULATED KILLER” FT. CLINT CASPER

    November 22, 2022 5 min read

    Late Rut Hunting Strategy - Back to the Basics #3 “CALCULATED KILLER” FT. CLINT CASPER

    Back to The Basics for a Late Rut Hunting Strategy

    By: Clint Casper

    At this point in the rut, it’s either been feast or famine, for all of us bowhunters! For the lucky ones, the buck of our dreams has already walked through crunchy, crisp morning leaves and let out a deep grunt, before taking an arrow straight to the boiler room! Kudos to all of you who’ve experienced this scenario this fall!

    For the rest of us, we’re still out here grinding! Scratching, clawing and trying to NOT get into a rut of our own, during the second half of it all! So, if you’re like me, still holding a buck tag and wondering what to do as the second part of the rut is taking place right now, this article is for YOU!

    What We Know

    With the first half of the primary rut already in our rear view mirror, we now know that some local does have been bred and that a lot of rutting activity has already taken place. What this tells a bowhunter at this point is that we need to now key in on two very important factors; the second round of does coming into estrous AND food sources to replenish lost calories and weight during the last few weeks!

    Keying back in on the local doe herds will be extremely beneficial because not all of the local does are bred at the same time, which means at some point another wave will be coming into heat and this will spike buck activity fast! Since we know that this will be present sooner than later, we need to prepare for this second wave accordingly.

    We also know that at this stage in the game, food is king once again! Not only bucks, but also all of the does have been running around ragged for the last few weeks! Losing calories and weight, every hour and every day has taken a toll on a deer’s body and with colder temperatures and winter looming in the near distance, feed sources become extremely important.

    Now that we have already hunted during these first few weeks of the rut, if we have a target buck, he’s probably been spotted a few times, or missing in action completely, which can be terribly stressful. We know what wind directions and areas he liked back before the rut, but what does that do for us now? So, what do we do now, strategy wise, to get back into bucks, or to find our target buck? It’s time we get BACK TO OUR BASICS!

    Back To Round One

    In round one of the season, I pay specific attention to detail on the wind and what wind patterns a buck uses for specific farms, or pieces of property. In my opinion, once bucks have left their core area for a few weeks and bred some does, they will always circle back to their core area that they called home. To me, the reasoning behind this is very simple, they bred, or checked all their local does early and then moved off in search of whatever does that are in heat that they could find. Now, at this stage in the rut, they’re run down, tired, depleted of calories and still looking to breed those last few does! So what better place to go than back to their roots and what they know best, their core areas!

    For me, this is when patterns start forming again and I’ve always said and live by this motto; patterns kill big bucks! Now is the time to go back to what we know about this buck, or the bucks that call these areas home. Wind direction and bedding areas and the two main characteristics that I’m keying in on here because at this stage of the game, both of these hold the secret to success!

    Bucks use specific winds, In certain areas, with a purpose and we need to key back in on these areas and wind patterns, as these local bucks will be back to using them! This strategy gets me ahead of the game and In front of these bucks before they circle back to their core areas!

    We also need to pay specific attention to what bedding areas these bucks were using prior to the rut AND where the local does like to call home as well! South facing slopes, during this time of the year seem to be the hot ticket! Remember, bucks bed in certain places for very specific reasons and typically that reason is based solely off of the wind direction that works best for keeping them alive, on that piece of property.

    Keying In On The Details

    My strategy for finding a buck again, at this stage of the rut, involves two things, the hottest feed and where the does will be staying! I’ll place trail cameras and glass over any food source that could potentially be a hot zone at this stage in the game and let that be my guide. As mentioned previously, calories must be replenished, so getting on hot food sources will put you in the drivers seat for finding the doe groups and that will also attract the bucks! Keep in mind, the bucks will not only be keying in on the last few does, but also the best food available, as well! So pay close attention to details on wind directions that bucks liked, back in round one, in conjunction with a hot food source now! This strategy should put you in a position to catch a buck on his feet in daylight hours!

    Entry and exits will be extremely important when hunting this final stage of the rut and leading into late season because these deer have been hunted hard and are now on high alert constantly. Do not get sloppy, or lazy on your planning of routing in and out of stand setups and mobile hunting plans! Pay close attention to the finer details of all of your setups, as these deer will not leave anything to chance and neither should YOU! Goodluck and go get out and in front of that big buck you’ve been chasing! He’ll be back and when he does, you’ll be ready!


    ABOUT: Clint Casper is a calculated straight up big buck killer, host of the CC Hunt Files with Working Class Bowhunters, and long term outdoor/hunting writer. He just recently added this Mobile Venatic column to his long resume!

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