Draper: Warm Weather? Hunt the Mornings

Rut Reporter David Draper grew up hunting deer and small game throughout this region and presently lives on a family farm in Nebraska. Draper, former communications specialist for Cabela's and an authority on the Great Plains, subsists on a diet of duck breast and venison. States covered: ND, SD, NE and KS.

Nov. 8: Of all the factors that affect the timing of the whitetail rut--length of day, time of year, moon phase--one that is often overlooked is weather. And, according to western Nebraska's Kurt Kaiser, it's the factor that trumps all others, at least when it comes to hunter-deer interaction.

"The weather has the most dramatic affect on the breeding season of whitetails," said Kaiser. "Sure deer will still breed, but weather will play a big role in how much you, the hunter, will see of it."

With daytime temps this past weekend peaking in the 70s and 80s, most of the hunters I talked to didn't see much in the way of activity, rut-related or otherwise. After hunting this past weekend, Kaiser believes the rut is further along then he originally thought, just because he hadn't seen much in the way of rutting behavior until recently.

"Over this past weekend I saw many dominant bucks holed up with does or paired up and the young buck running around frantically checking ever deer in sight," said Kaiser, who hunts both the panhandle of Nebraska and in northeastern Colorado. "This was a bit of a surprise, but with the hot daytime temperatures and cool nights you can probably guess when all the action has been happening. Because of this, early morning seems to be the best time."

Kaiser's call on the timing of the rut? It's on and he predicts lockdown, when the majority of the does are in heat, will occur within the next three days. Looks like hardcore hunters may want to think about taking a sick day soon.