Rut Reporter Scott Bestul is a Field & Stream’s Whitetails columnist and writes for the website’s Whitetail365 blog. The Minnesotan has taken 13 Pope & Young-class whitetails and has hunted, guided for, and studied deer in the north-central region all his life. States covered: IA, IL, IN, MI, MN, MO, WI.


__**Nov. 14:** We’ve had largely mild weather conditions for the previous couple of weeks. That all changed across much of the region this weekend, as a sloppy mix of rain, sleet and snow moved in and changed shirtsleeve temps and sunny skies into more November-like stuff. Hunters ditched the T-shirts and looked for warm layers and rain gear!

Did this nastiness going to make hunting better or worse? We’ll find out shortly. I’m betting the cooler temps and lower light conditions put more bucks on their feet during daylight hours….Undoubtedly a good thing. But the flip side? It’s simply tougher to stick with it as a hunter, so fewer bucks will have been shot. Only those who’ve got good clothing and can grit their teeth and grind out the stand-time tagged out.

Sudden cold snaps, especially coupled with precipitation, can dramatically affect deer movement. I’d look for does to bed in cover with some thermal protection, such as pine, cedar, and spruce trees. And the closer to some high-quality food source these areas are, the better. Compared to what we’ll get in a month or two this front is nothing severe, but remember, this is the nastiest stuff we’ve had in awhile and a portion of the whitetail herd will freak out and feel that winter is on the way. Bucks–especially the experienced breeders–will carry on with business as usual, checking out bedding areas and food sources until they find the next available doe.

Minnesota hunter Ryan Olson stuck in the stand long enough to arrow the giant buck pictured above. Ryan had never seen this deer before, but kept his nerves from fraying just long enough to make a killing shot. Ride out a cold, sloppy, mess and you could do the same!