When it comes to the rut, all the publicity is typically on the peak rut in November. What is often not discussed as much is the pre-rut, which is typically the time frame during the last week of October. During this time of year, bucks begin ramping up for the rut and days are becoming shorter. Bucks start getting testy with other bucks and it can be a great time to call. Additionally, bucks start getting ready to breed, but does won’t be in estrus for a week or two yet. This can lead to bucks starting to harass does, and it essentially is kicking off the rut.
Essentially, the biggest difference from now until the rut is during the main rut, those aren’t estrus bucks you’re chasing, they’re kind of going willy nilly, there’s no pattern. But if you’ve got a buck on someone with pattern, but let’s say he’s been all nocturnal moving at night, the last few days of October is the time to capitalize because they’re supposed to be more susceptible to movement and they are getting more aggressive.
I particularly love this time of year because bucks aren’t yet running all over like they do in the rut. So if you’ve got a buck you’ve been hunting, before he starts chasing during the peak rut, the pre-rut may be your time to get him. I would definitely suggest hunting that last few days of October. It might be the best time of the year because another thing to be thinking about is there might be one early doe that comes in estrus or too early does and typically most mature buck in the area is going to know that, so if you get that one hot doe, you could have an unbelievable hunt.
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