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The Primary Rut is Coming Soon!

All Hades is About to Break Out -- Over the Next 48 to 72 Hours!

The abnormal weather pattern that has brought so much precipitation (rain) over the last few months throughout the Northeast, New England and in some parts of the Midwest has evidently been the prime culprit in stalling pre-rut action. There is no doubt the pre-rut activity as of this writing has been lethargic at best. According to my five-plus decades of detailed record keeping on all phases of the rut (which I checked last evening), this is the first time in two decades that even the day of Halloween, which is normally a traditional day when bucks commonly begin to harass does earnestly, was sluggish.

But fret not buck hunters, by all indicators including falling barometer readings, a considerable drop in temperatures, and precipitation changing from rain to snow, the stage is set for the “perfect storm” (rut activity) to come together and kick the start of the primary rut into gear over the next 48 to 72 hours!

In fact, this weekend all the right elements ought to line up to provide some excellent hunting opportunities. If you had other plans this weekend other than to go hunting, seriously consider canceling in favor of getting into your favorite tree stand.

Latitudes and Primary Rut Dates: From now until about the 20th of November is the absolute best primary rut dates to kill a buck-of-a-lifetime. The latitudes between 40 to 50 degrees north encompass most of the Northeast, New England and the Midwest. This includes a majority of Pennsylvania, New York, Northern New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and the southern portion of Maine. (It also includes most of Oregon, Northern California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, lower Idaho, and a majority of Wyoming, Southern South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, the northern tip of Missouri, the north half of Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio).

Within the next 14 days or so the primary rut will peak (although there will be a day or two within this time frame when it will ebb slightly for a day). My records document that the most activity of the primary rut consistently takes place from November 10th to November 15th with November 13th and 14th being particularly high days of activity. Keep one last thing in mind, nothing about hunting whitetail deer, is written in stone. The dates I just provided can vary by twenty-four to thirty-six hours on either ends of the dates I mentioned throughout the latitudes described above. Other than that, the primary rut is going to take place – period.

The strategies I intend to put to work for me this weekend are decoying, using rut scents (estrus, tarsal, buck urine, Mimic and Trailmaker), rattling and grunting. I use (Love Potion No. 9 estrus scent). However, if you have success with another estrus scent, by all means use it.

RATTLING: Don’t go hog wild with the rattling, but don’t be laid back about it either. This is the time of year that bucks move from low-key body posturing and non-belligerent pushing and shoving matches to more aggressive bravado and more substantial antler contact.

GRUNTING: Keep the grunting natural! If you plan to use a growl and/or bark grunt, please don’t. Instead keep the grunts low so they will be interpreted by bucks you see and are trying to attract, and/or to bucks you are trying to blind call to, REALISTIC sounding.

SCENT: Keep your rut scents smelling natural. You don’t have to overuse scent for a buck to respond. Deer can smell 100 times better than bloodhound. Keep it realistic. Putting out too much of any type of rut scent simply doesn’t smell natural and at best alerts an incoming buck and in the worst case scenario it can cause him to leave the area.

DECOYING: If you are going to use a full size decoy I highly recommend using a decoy made by Montana Decoy called “Estrus Betty.” She makes the perfect visual to go along with the tactics I mentioned above.

For more information about the primary rut and our deer hunting products please visit

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