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The rut is that special time of year in every hunter's life, it's what I like to call the great equalizer where the elusive whitetail deer lets down their guard just long enough for a hunter to make a split-second decision. Heart pounding, heavy breathing, and focused on the target is this the one to hang on the wall or to fill up my freezer?

The rut is a 10 - 20-day period when the whitetail deer let their guard down long enough to make us hunters believe that we are smarter than they. However, the deer are out looking for love and sometimes in all the wrong places.

Once again, the rut is when those massive deer, you know the ones with the impressive large antlers that step out from behind their hiding places (that's how they got so big, by not being seen everywhere) to grab a quick bite to eat and maybe court those doe's that have also come for a bite to eat and maybe meet some of those impressive bucks of the neighborhood.

You have painstakingly worked, planned, put out deer feed, perfectly placed your game cameras, and put your deer blind in that perfect spot where you will take your shot at that future wall hanger. Now ask yourself, "what could you have possibly done wrong?" or better yet "what am I doing wrong now?"

Here are my personal top 5 tips, I always ask myself and my hunting brothers that have been planning and envisioning this very moment.

  1. De-Scent - Have I properly prepared by de-scenting myself, and my clothing and leaving my bad vices in the cabin or the vehicle? There's nothing worse than sitting in the blind and watching the deer coming out onto the edge of the pasture putting their nose in the air, then turning around and running off. Advice, decent properly.
  2. Timing is Everything - Granted, we all have responsibilities, we all have to work, and when we go hunting, make the time to get out there at the right time. Check your cameras and time stamps and get there at least a couple of hours before the deer are getting there. Too many hunters run out to their blinds with an hour of daylight left.
  3. Deer Calls - Do you want to kill the rut the minute you get there? Then start calling using the wrong calls at the wrong time. Just because you put out your doe-in-heat sent and start grunting or calling doesn't mean the deer are going to come running. Survey your surroundings, and read the deer's body language. I firmly believe that deer will tell you what they want and when they want it.
  4. Antler Rattling - While bucks love to do battle, challenging one another. They love one thing, even more, to watch other bucks do battle and wear themselves down so the really big guys come out at the end and do battle with only one. So rattling antlers only work when you do it sparingly to peak a buck's interest drawing him out from the edges where he's hiding. I've always found that rattling and then setting the antlers aside tends to bring the big guys out.
  5. Patience - This very tip is my biggest failure. Patience brings success every time, I promise. Many years back I was hunting on the Schreiber Ranch in Eden, Texas when a massive Boone and Crockett scoring deer stepped out from the edge of the pasture looking for the two deer he had just heard doing battle (I had just been rattling) it was at that split-second decision-making moment when I leveled the cross-hairs and jerked the trigger back as fast as possible only to screw it all up.
    Yes, I missed the buck that I thought was huge. I yelled out an obscenity and stomped my foot on the flooring of the deer blind only to notice about 50 feet away where that deer I shot at was, a real Boone and Crockett (B&C) record setter stepped out long enough to show me his impressive antlers and runoff.

Yes, "patience is a virtue" I've always heard but I don't know what that really means. So, get there early, stay late, be patient, plan everything and prepare, prepare, prepare. I can't wait to see your B&C showpiece soon. Be safe and good hunting.

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