Every year hunters align their schedules based on the forecast of what will happen with the rut. Typically, the rut forecast is based on what a hunter has seen the prior year or years. This is something that has been spoken about and will continue to be spoken about for years to come, if not for eternity.
The rut phase can supposedly be figure out by the amount of daylight available, dates on the calendar, temperature, pressure systems, etc. At the end of the day, the rut is when hunters see Big Bucks cruise all over the place pushing does around the fields and woods while it being the best chance for a hunter to see these monster deer in order to harvest them. In the last 4 years, I can say I have only timed the rut correctly once and my date choices have been based on the same week each year. November 8-15th or Nov 9-16 have been the typical days when I think of Illinois since this is an area I hunt consistently. The one year that it was timed correctly or shall I say, the rut fell correctly on my dates, was last year when the temps were very cold. Let’s compare this year versus last year and look at the stats. It is eye opening.
As you can see, 2014 was amazing! It was nice and cold in the mornings and stayed cold throughout the day. The “mean” temperature was 33 degrees which is what I would honestly expect for mid November in the Midwest. This year, the mean temperature was 47 degrees! A 14 degree difference will for sure have an impact on the rut and it has absolutely been seen this week. This was also something I was thinking about when writing my post Weather for big bucks on November 2nd. I was trying to figure out what days would be best for a potential encounter with a mature deer based on just the forecast for the future week.
I truly believe the weather and the temperature are the largest impact points when it comes to impacting the start of the rut. There is scientific data that proves daylight has to do with it as well but I believe the temperature is what sets things off. So far, in hunting both Missouri and Illinois, I can say that the temperatures have been way too high and the bucks along with the does are trying to figure things out but it is still Pre Rut. Here are a few things that tell me this.
– Does are feeding in the fields and only 3 times have I seen a buck come out and push them around in over a week.
– I have seen bucks pretty close together or not even mind one another.
– Rattling has worked but the percentage has been not too great.
– More fawns than usual are hanging out with momma.
– Simply, the bucks aren’t moving nearly enough.
Another thing to note statistically is that in the same week last year, 7 bucks were harvested scoring 135 or better. This year, it’s only been 2. As I see it, the 3rd week of November will be the bread and butter for the Rut and the gun hunters are going to be having fun with more action and a much farther range to shoot! I expect to hear many good stories in the coming weeks.
Here is a picture of one of the latest that I’ve seen taken.
Happy Rut Hunting Everyone ~