Bill Winke of Midwest Whitetail had a dream hunt on November 9th, 2011. Winke had the kind of hunt that most whitetail deer hunters will never get to experience, and most would not believe had he not captured the entire thing on film. If anyone has put in the hours and hard work to deserve a once in a lifetime hunt like this, it’s Bill. What makes the story even more unique is the amount of history he has with the buck he harvests. The odds of a hunt like this happening the way it did must be ridiculous, and add the fact that it was all captured on film… even more ridiculous. See for yourself:
I still can’t believe it, but November is here again… finally. If you read our blog “3 Reasons Why You Should Leave Your Best Stands Alone Until the Rut“, you know why this is such an exciting time. In most places around the country, and especially in the Midwest, the rut is on. This is the time of year people save up vacation time for, and this is the time of year a lot of big mature bucks get harvested.
- Bring Your Grunt Call – In my opinion, this piece of equipment is extremely important this time of year. The first does will be coming into estrous and the bucks are out cruising trying to find them. I’m not a big fan of blind calling, meaning calling in the hopes that something is within hearing distance, but having a grunt call on you when you see a buck cruising in the distance can be the difference between looking at him through your binoculars and looking at him on your wall.
- Rattle – I know I just said I’m not a big fan of blind calling, but rattling is the exception. That doesn’t mean to start rattling as soon as you climb in the stand, but if you are an all day sitter and the deer movement has slowed in the afternoon, rattling can be an effective way of getting a nearby bedded buck back on his feet.
- Dress Warm – Being underdressed is one of the main reasons people leave stand earlier than they should this time of year. Keep in mind though, if you are going to dress warmer you probably need to leave for your stand earlier so that you can walk slower and not be drenched in sweat when you get to your stand.
- Be Patient – One thing I repeat to myself over and over again is “It can all happen in the next 5 minutes”. During the rut you might go hours without seeing a single deer and in the next 5 minutes a monster can come cruising in. Sit it out.
- Eat Breakfast and Bring a Few Snacks – Being hungry is another main reason people leave the woods earlier than they should. Eat a good sized breakfast and bring a couple of already out of the wrapper granola bars with you to help you focus on hunting and not your stomach growling at you.
The rut can never get here soon enough. The day deer season ends, it’s all I think about and daydream about until it finally gets here again. So what makes the rut so awesome? Well, first of all, your chances of seeing and possibly getting a shot at a mature whitetail dramatically increase. The reason is fairly obvious… just put yourself in a buck’s shoes. If you only had the chance to “get it” (for lack of a better term) for a few weeks out of the year, you would probably only have ONE thing on your mind too.
The 3 Reasons you should leave your best stands alone until the rut:
- The rut is one of the small windows of time that gives hunters the edge. Mature bucks let their guard down and some of the normally nocturnal bucks can be caught sneaking around during shooting hours. If you leave your best spots alone during the early season, chances are does and other deer will feel very comfortable in that area. You can bet that the big bucks know where to find does, and you want him to feel as relaxed as possible as he walks around in your area looking for a hot doe.
- Unless your best spots have consistently produced during the early season, chances are you are doing more harm than good by hunting them heavily during early season. You are probably increasing the amount of human scent that is in the area and you are probably bumping deer on your way in and out of the stand location, both of which can have a huge effect on the number of deer you see. Trust me, if deer are alerted on a regular basis to a human walking around in their home, they will move and most likely avoid the area for awhile.
- You will most likely hunt a spot better and harder if you have left it alone for most or all of the early season. This means you will have more confidence in the spot when you are sitting, which might make you sit longer, sit more still, and be more alert. When I climb into one of my best spots in early November knowing that I haven’t done much more than run trail cameras in the area, my confidence level in having a good hunt is through the roof. Even if that just means seeing a lot of does or even just seeing a lot of deer in general. I have no problem sitting all day in a stand that I know is prime for having a lot of deer activity.