The Best Days to Hunt in 2006
Brad Calvert hunted this Casey County, Kentucky buck for two years before bringing him down with a bow last November 5. It scored 176 4/8 (Pope & Young). November 4
Buck testosterone levels are nearing a peak as the decreasing daylight triggers reactions in the deer's pineal and pituitary glands. Expect lots of movement, which could last all day as the seek-and-chase phase swings into full gear. November 5 will have a full moon, so midday activity should be strong today. Don't bother with scrapes right now. Instead, check areas where does congregate-"gentle terrain with soft knolls, overgrown pastures, pine groves, and semi-open fields sprinkled with cedars and stands of switchgrass. Locate these areas by first finding food sources, then checking the surrounding cover for family beds: 2- to 3-foot oval doe depressions intermingled with smaller fawn beds. Bucks always scent-check these areas to see if any females are in heat. They'll use stream bottoms, brushy sidehills, drainage ditches, hollows, and funnels of cover as they move among various doe groups. Set your stand off one of these routes. Rut Wrecker: Vegetation can still be thick in many areas, and bucks are moving rapidly in order to cover a lot of ground. Your chance for a shot may last no more than two or three seconds. If you see a fast-moving buck, use a grunt call to try to stop him. Field & Stream Online Editors
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The Des Moines River, above and below Des Moines, offers smallmouths in tailraces and deeper pools. Downtown hot spots include below the wastewater treatment plant and pools above the Highway 65 bypass. On the Cedar River, look for smallmouths in clear-water pockets at the mouth of Indian Creek or below Five-in-One Dam. Drift-fish from Cedar Rapids to Palisades State Park, targeting rocky ledges, riffles, bridge abutments and downstream lees of islands. The waters below the Burlington Street Dam in Iowa City feature aggressive smallies, white bass and walleyes. Contact: Fin & Feather Sports Shop, Cedar Rapids (319-364-4396); Fin & Feather, Iowa City (319-354-2200); Second Avenue Bait House & Fly Shop, Des Moines (515-282-4217).