Are the big bucks gone? They have disappeared. It seems as if the rut has slowed to a crawl on our hunting club here in Georgia. I went deer hunting two full days this week and although I saw plenty of deer, I didn’t see one racked buck.
Where Have The Big Bucks Gone
The bucks have had a lot of pressure on them during the long season and they are worn down from rutting and they are staying in the thick stuff and mostly moving at night. I think the week I was in Illinois bow hunting, the rut peaked at our club, so now I will focus on hunting food plots and hope to catch a big buck slipping in for a evening meal or try to catch him heading back to bed early in the morning. I have seen a lot of does and fawns in the food plots but no Mr. Big. Once all of the shooting starts and the rut peaks it seems as if the big bucks we get on trail cameras are nocturnal and hard to find. I’m thinking by seeing a lot of does in the food plots, maybe one will come into heat and I’ll catch a buck following her. With the cold weather upon us, the browse and acorns will eventually be scarce, and the food plots will be more and more in demand. We have a lot of food plots on our club so the deer have plenty of food to last them through the cold winter. We also have feeders that we often get trail camera photos of our big bucks visiting during the middle of the night. We don’t hunt the feeders but since we have added them you can tell a difference in the deers feeding patterns. Now that the rut has slowed I will definitely be focusing more on the food plots and bedding areas and trails leading to and from.
What about where you hunt? Are the deer still rutting? It is interesting to get feedback on the rutting activity in other hunters properties.
When we were in Illinois I was amazed that we weren’t seeing much big buck sign(scrapes and rubs). We knew there were big bucks in the area but I was expecting there to be big rubs and scrapes everywhere. Maybe the hot weather we encountered when we arrived had a lot to do with it. The big ten pointer I harvested was huge. He was definitely the biggest buck I have ever taken. He was well over two hundred pounds and had an unbelievable amount of fat on him. Maybe that’s why they just don’t move when its hot. When the weather changed and got colder you could definitely tell, we started seeing more bucks immediately. The first morning it was nice and cold is when I rattled in the ten pointer. I think we were there right at the beginning of the rut and while we were there the bucks were in full rut at my club in Georgia. Then when I came home the rut was winding down. The does that were not bred or didn’t get pregnant will come back into heat in about twenty eight days. Although by then the bucks urge to breed has decreased, studies have shown that sperm production in bucks is almost half of what it was in mid November, in December. Not that they won’t breed they will, but survival becomes critical and rest and food are their main concern. They need to gain some of the weight back that they have lost from the rut, in order to survive the winter. Therefore, I will be concentrating on hunting trails to and from the bedding area to the feeding areas.