If there’s one universal rut suppressor, it’s warm weather. Tim Clark, owner of Red Dog Outfitters, has been dealing with a rising thermometer on his western Kansas properties. “Right now the days are hot, making the morning the best time,” he says. “Only about the first 30 minutes are worth it for big bucks, but everyone is staying out until at least 11. No one is really seeing anything past 9:30.
“I’m finding scrapes and rubs on almost every farm now, and we have leases in six counties between Nebraska and Kansas. If your time in the stand is not scheduled around work then you should wait until we get at least a 10- to 15-degree drop to get out there. The going is slow and most bucks don’t want to show their winter bodies in this summer-like heat.
“That said, I can almost taste it here; this rut is going to go from a sputter to full-on chaos in a matter of days, maybe hours. We find that every year we have a ‘pocket rut’ on one or more of our farms. In my opinion this is when a doe goes into heat early. If you have one of those, it doesn’t matter if it’s June or November 10, the rut is on in her neighborhood. Usually we get our first ‘pocket ruts’ around the end of October.
“Harvest is still underway out here in Kansas and Nebraska, but most of the crops are out and deer are relocating to the creek bottoms. Fights are taking place to establish dominance, with larger bucks beating up on Punk Kids that are now wearing broken racks. It’s about to bust loose any day now. Any hunter who puts in his time might see a buck big enough to give you the pee shivers!”