Just like the sight of quail taking off, some of our Mason County whitetail hunts are simply awe-inspiring. Each part of the whitetail season delivers its own experience in a superbly unique way. When it comes to whitetail, each month delivers a different result -and the key is to strategize accordingly. Experiencing many various hunts over the years, we find that hunting during the post-rut season is effective as well as entertaining.
Experienced hunters prefer to hunt late in the season, calling it a “second rut” or “post rut” strategy. The idea behind the strategy is to hunt mating bucks- during their second attempt. Bucks compete for a doe’s attention with the size of their racks, and so the buck goes in search of protein. The protein source helps the bucks grow stronger racks, which is exactly what they need to attract their doe of choice. Since the buck is looking for a protein source and not necessarily the doe, hunters can attract bucks to their camp by using the proper foods and baits.
On average, the post rut occurs from Mid-November to Mid-December, when most bucks are regaining their strength after peak breeding season. When hunting during post-rut, consider the ways your supplies and strategies differ. For example, you would not use aggressive calls or rattling antlers, as those relate to mating seasons. When the bucks are regaining their strength, they still carry ample testosterone, so doe calls and estrous scents will work to your benefit.
“During the early segments of season, whitetails basically enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet and have plenty of feeding options. However, by the time December rolls around, many of these food sources have been exhausted. This is why pinpointing a primary food source is the key to punching tags during the late-season. In heavily wooded areas, try to find pockets of remaining acorns, honey-suckle, or green browse. Thickets or locations that have recently been logged will often contain green briar and other post-rut food sources. When hunting agricultural areas or farm country, try to locate late-picked corn fields, winter wheat plots, and oats.” This information in quotes is courtesy of Post-Rut Strategies by Outdoorlife.com.