Persistence Pays During Peak Breeding

I'm hosting FS editor Dave Hurteau for a Minnesota bowhunt this week, and by the look of things, we've timed his visit to coincide perfectly with the breeding peak. I've received several reports of big bucks either laying up with, or trailing close behind, mature does. This means their interest in some tried and true rut tactics--like grunting and rattling--can be pretty tepid. Hurteau rattled up two small bucks this morning and saw a decent buck yesterday afternoon, which is by no means a poor hunt…But compared to the chaos of the seeking and chase phases of the rut, it felt like a real let-down.

But instead of getting discouraged, it's time to rely on that standby-quality exhibited by most successful whitetail hunters; patience. Remember, a mature buck will typically only stay with a doe for about 3 days, and as soon as that honeymoon period is over he'll be looking for love again.

And since we never know when the start/end date of a "relationship" is, the only way to have an encounter with that wandering buck is to be out there, ready to capitalize when he starts seeking again. That means waiting in terrain funnels, sitting by food sources, and working the same game plan that was effective only a few days back.

That's what Minnesotan Charlie Casperson did last week, when he shot this gorgeous main-frame 10- point with an impressive drop tine. Charlie is a conservation-minded landowner and savvy deer hunter who has put in a ton of time waiting for a mature buck on his family's hunting property. This great buck is proof that successful deer hunting is a combination of hunting smart and just being patient and waiting for the deer you're looking for. Congrats to Charlie on a great trophy at an often-difficult time of year.