The rut is full swing as I write this and bucks are chasing does around the river bottom by my house in Montana. It’s a great time to hunt and some of the bigger bucks are visible during the day. If you are missing the rut, it doesn’t mean you can’t still get after the big guys post rut. Here are a few post-rut deer hunting tips.
Bucks burn some serious calories while chasing the ladies and they need to jump on a food source to replenish before the serious snow flies. Take advantage of the late season and lower hunting pressure to find trophy deer.
Food and Patience
Focus on the food sources post rut. Bucks need to replenish calories and they will bed down close to food as the temperatures drop. Do not worry about placing your blind or stand deep in the woods on game trails. Keep them within 30 feet of the food source and wait for something to move. Bring your best gear to weather the cold and be very patient. Hunting through the cold weather requires some grit but you can have some great opportunities in the late season.
Do a Push
Grab a friend and do a drive when things are stagnant. You can hunt from a blind or stand in the early morning and evening, then push deer during the mid-day. Plan a route, spread out and walk slowly to get the bucks up and moving. Pay close attention to dense cover where they may bed down. Drives are a time efficient hunting method. Spend an hour or two picking your way through the woods when you don’t have time to setup or sit on a single spot.
Late Breeding Opportunities
Breeding occurs after the main rut. It’s less obvious but you can rattle and use scent to draw bucks. If you see any buck chasing a doe, revert to your rut strategies. You can also try rut tactics at random when things are slow. Drop some scent and throw a few rattles out then wait. It might be enough to get a buck interested and moving.
Fresh snow makes it easy to find tracks and follow deer. Read fresh tracks and either follow them or setup in a strategic ambush position. Look for well used trails that show entry points and exit points on food sources. When you know the travel patterns, your odds of success increase.
For more information on rut mule deer hunts and late season deer and elk combo hunts here in Montana with Lazy J Bar O Outfitters, please check out our website. You can also call us at 406-932-5687 or send us a message.