Rut Reporter Eric Bruce has been writing about hunting and fishing for newspapers and magazines for 25 years and hunts deer all over the South, including near his Georgia home. States covered: AR, LA, MS, AL, GA, SC, FL.
Whitetail hunters know that one of the best times to see and harvest a mature trophy buck is during the rut. Whenever that is in your area, it will get a buck up and moving like nothing else. Old bucks that are normally noctural and hide in thickets all day will be out searching for does and exposed to hunters.
That is, if the weather is right. While rutting action will go on during peak times regardless, overall whitetail activity is dictated to a large degree by the weather. If a rain front blows through and the temperatures drop, that is the best time to be in the woods because virtually every deer in the woods will be moving.
On the contrary, if the weather turns unseasonablly warm, it puts a serious damper on all whitetail movement. You can be in a prime location during the peak of the rut, but if the weather is poor, the deer action will be slow.
This past week the daytime highs were in the mid-80's. Just walking to my stand would work up a sweat. I would settle in my stand overheated and flushed and wonder if every deer in my area could smell my perspiration. My deer sightings were very low and it was honestly kind of depressing.
What a difference a day makes, or more accurately, a weather front. Saturday, October 1 brought morning temperatures in the 40's and cool breezes. My son and I were set to hunt a new place but could only do so this one time. With Georgia's ten does per season limit, I told him to shoot whatever he wanted. We made the most of it.
My past experience told me that hunting a new spot coupled with dropping temperatures equaled super deer hunting. I was not disappointed. Though I did not get set in my stand until 8:20 a.m., the next two hours were filled with almost constant deer sightings.
My son, who was hunting at the other end of the property, took three does that morning. My tally was a mature doe and an eight-point buck, along with eight other deer seen. No monster bucks were spotted, and really not any rutting action, but a heck of a morning of bowhunting and five deer for the freezer.
We owed this success primarily to the cold front that blew in. If you have the flexibility to choose your hunting days according to the weather, by all means choose post-rain, cold fronts, and rising barometers. Weather is a huge factor in influencing deer movement. The right combination almost ensures deer movement and sightings from your stand.