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The waiting game is not easy. I am one who stays out of my area until the rut is here. Halloween is go time. Reading the stories and seeing the pics of successful hunters makes it very tempting to get in my tree but I have to wait. How many others wait for the magic to begin?
 

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I stay out of my primary areas also and It used to drive me crazy so what I do is hunt areas I haven't scouted that I wouldn't have time to hunt in the rut anyway and hunt/scout them. Not the highest success ratio but It gets me into the woods while I wait to hunt my primary spots plus I have actually found spots as good as mine in the process.
 

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I hunt a little bit in the early season. If I would have a buck patterned, I suppose I would pursue him. Truthfully, it seems like I'm never ready to start hunting when hunting season starts. (Was still checking stands 2 nights ago). Now come Halloween, it's on and I'll be in the woods every chance I get.
 

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Coming in hot. We are less than 10 days from primetime here. Young bucks are getting squirrelly. Still don’t think about touching my good spots until cold weather after the 25th.
 

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For me the magic time is now during early season, with very few acorns around it has been tough going but I have passed on two bucks in the 125 inch range and a guy I know killed a 175 inch buck last Friday. Plenty of nice bucks killed early and usually plenty of good weather, if October doesn't work out you always have the cold windy unpredictable rut to get it done.
 

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I really don't have a preferred time. Some years it's early some years it's late. I hunt when the cameras start showing target bucks on their feet during shooting hours. It usually turns on overnight and then I immediately try to slip in and capitalize on it.
 

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I will hunt a "rut" spot the first few days of the season and then will not touch it again until October 31'st or later. I make it a point to hunt on Halloween.

Someone needs to start a Rut Activity thread like we normally do so we can all sound off and see who is seeing what and when.
 

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I don't really wait I have as much success/sightings throughout the whole season unless the weather is warm. My dad pulled a trail cam yesterday and we had some good daytime action including a really nice 10 over the last week.
 

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I’m a first week hunter and a last 2.5 weeks hunter. It use to be if the season was in I was hunting. Try to pace myself a little now. If I was retired I would hunt every day i could.
 

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I hunt every opportunity I get, from when the season opens to when it closes. I don't have "pre-rut" or "rut-only" stands. I rotate areas enough to make sure that I'm not burning spots, but I'm certainly not going to stay out of the woods until the rut hits. JMO.
 

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Tonight will be my 6th time out since the statewide opener and it will also be my sixth different spot. I pretty much hunt everywhere and don’t worry too much about “rut spots” because when it comes to hunting public land it’s very difficult to keep a spot preserved from human activity. At least I am not willing to take that gamble that I will be the only one hunting a certain area. Just because you don’t see any other hunters doesn’t mean someone might come through there on the day you’re not around. I prefer to be aggressive and basically keep bumping around from area to area until I run into a good buck or start seeing a lot of activity.
Also I know to some this may seem laughable but I think the rut has already started. Some of the biggest bucks I have seen killed were shot mid October chasing a hot doe. I have witnessed it myself. Sure there are mostly young ones doing it right now but from here on out a hot doe has potential to put a big boy on his feet during daylight.
 

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I’ve been out everyday....sometimes just a morning or evening, sometimes both. Seen a lot of deer, a dozen bucks, 3 coyotes, 1 bear, and 2 elk. A few of the bucks were smallish 8 pointers.

I will hunt more hours after October 25th. Can’t hunt the last week, gonna be moose hunting.
 

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I save my two best properties that have my best stands until after Halloween. Haven't step foot near them yet. Can't wait to get into them but I know getting into them now will just educate the deer. They are all in funnels and pinch points that will get more consistent use after Halloween.

With that said, I have been hunting locally hoping to bump into a shooter that lets his guard down.

I took off the November 5th through the 16th this year. Hoping the timing is right.
 

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I coach football in the fall so my time to be in the woods is usually pretty limited until the end of October. Most years the season is over in time for me to hunt hard the last two weeks of the season when the rut is in. I'm never in the woods much in October but able to get out almost every evening the last two weeks plus Saturday's and take a day or two off work. Can't beat being in the woods in November!
 

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For me the magic time is now during early season, with very few acorns around it has been tough going but I have passed on two bucks in the 125 inch range and a guy I know killed a 175 inch buck last Friday. Plenty of nice bucks killed early and usually plenty of good weather, if October doesn't work out you always have the cold windy unpredictable rut to get it done.
Just cause your going back to work at the end of the month doesn’t mean you get to put that bad juju on us non retired guys bone!! 😉
 

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Just cause your going back to work at the end of the month doesn’t mean you get to put that bad juju on us non retired guys bone!! 😉
Ya I get sick to my stomach thinking about going back to work, been retired for seven weeks and definitely the best time of my life.
 

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I’ve been out everyday....sometimes just a morning or evening, sometimes both. Seen a lot of deer, a dozen bucks, 3 coyotes, 1 bear, and 2 elk. A few of the bucks were smallish 8 pointers.

I will hunt more hours after October 25th. Can’t hunt the last week, gonna be moose hunting.
Can't believe you would pass up deer for a Moose hunt. :smile_big: Good luck. Hope you snag a big one.
 

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I start hunting as soon as legal....and don't quit till the bitter end...couple weeks off and roll right into scouting.


This year, timing was just off for me...I've only been out twice so far...and next week my focus will be on a flintlock bear...but I won't sit a fraction of the spots I hoped to.


The rut is wildly unpredictable. There's years the weather is warm and the majority of the movement stays after dark. You could be on the wrong side of the ridge and not see a thing all day while the other side was a parade of bucks...the bucks you were seeing, getting pics of etc can be miles away...or killed on some other property etc....

Being able to get on bucks early is more important to me than the rut. The last several years I have worked on myself as a hunter...I wanna get to the point I'm confident I can kill a buck any day of the season. I've actually never killed a rut buck.....maybe this will be the year.


I will say I don't hunt the same spots...heck, I rarely hunt the same area....I hunt several different counties. Burning spots isnt a worry...i either kill one when I'm there or I'm making a move....if I was limited on places to hunt, or limited by time, I might bank more on the last 2 weeks of our season...
 

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No waiting. The rut is pot luck time. I always try to bag a doe for the freezer first. Now, I do stay out of one hot spot until the rut kicks in. So if you only have one stand like that to hunt, I can see waiting.
 

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I'm becoming less and less concerned with "burning" or overhunting my spots because of the way I hunt them.
I set up to catch deer moving between areas.....bedding to food, bedding to bedding, food to food. Most deer I see, including the does aren't hanging around long and rarely have any idea I'm there. They cross my trail and don't even give it a sniff.


I'm more fussy on my entrance and exit than I am with scent control. Just like canine trapping. Get in, get out, leave little disturbance.


Then there are things I can't control......like the guy that just set up an unconcealed blind within 3 yards of a trail I hacked into buck bedding last year. I don't even think he knows it's there because I leave the last several yards undoctored to try to keep it hidden from others. I cut the trail last year and immediately the bucks had rubs and scrapes on it.
I hunt 50 yards back in the bedding. Bucks pass by unalarmed and sometimes take an arrow for their efforts.
Now this guy sits his blind up right where they will enter the field 30-45min after dark. I think he might have just "burned" me.


Just an FYI. Dark moon is on Oct 28th this year. Don't wait until November and be late to the party.
 
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