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Post #1  Post subject: Is There Actually a Second Rut?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 4:37 pm 
I mentioned the existence of this article in a different Forum but I thought I'd put the article itself here in the Deer Forum:


Is There actually a second rut?
by Don Higgins
Higgins Outdoors

After the rut, should you continue to hunt your best rut stands or focus on afternoon feeding patterns? The answer could surprise you.

Make no mistake, there is only one whitetail rut each year.


What say you to Higgins claim in the article below?
http://www.grandviewoutdoors.com/big-ga ... econd-rut/

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Post #2  Post subject: Re: Is There Actually a Second Rut?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 6:08 pm 
From a purely technical sense he is correct in that the rut in its entirety plays out only once a year. I think however he is sort of nitpicking details. I know some years about a month after the early November frenzy a second shorter period of intense activity happens. I also know from doing herd health and fetal backdating on several hundred does from north Arkansas that the majority of does are bred in the period of the last week of October to mid November. I have seen some bred as early as late August and as late as early February. I also believe that all bucks play the game but when a hunters sees the really exciting rut activity is when the big boys are playing hardball.

IMO it is just a matter of trivial terminology and I for one am not going to let it bother me. I just plan on enjoying it as much and as often as I can.


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Post #3  Post subject: Re: Is There Actually a Second Rut?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 8:35 pm 
You nailed it twodog. Mr Higgins must be very bored to write trivia such as this.


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Post #4  Post subject: Re: Is There Actually a Second Rut?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 2:01 am 
No second rut at my house, not since I was in my 20s anyway.


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Post #5  Post subject: Re: Is There Actually a Second Rut?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 6:33 am 
:hesaid: Same here :poundfloor:


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Post #6  Post subject: Re: Is There Actually a Second Rut?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 9:05 am 
I think like twodog stated from his experience. Bucks will breed does when they are ready. When does are ready seems to be spreading out more every year. The question is why. Is it due to increased doe numbers or less bucks. I have a feeling it has a lot to do with the fawns birth time. When they get to a certain age they will be ready to breed. I heard of a confirmed doe being breed as late as March 14th. I had a lady a church show me photo of a fawn she took on October 18th that was a new born just able to walk. So what would have been the date it's mother was breed?

The other question is does the doe stay on the same cycle for her next breeding time or does she adjust to a time of year.
I know there are two subspecies of Axis deer and their breeding and antler cycle are about 6 months apart.


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Post #7  Post subject: Re: Is There Actually a Second Rut?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 2:36 pm 
Here's one with spots on Nov 24th....


viewtopic.php?f=143&t=30545


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Post #8  Post subject: Re: Is There Actually a Second Rut?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 3:33 pm 
I'll be honest, the rut in Arkansas absolutely baffles me. I usually take the last week off in Oct and most of all of Nov to hunt during the rut. The last week of Oct for the last 15 years has been the best. Not so much in killing but seeing bucks and being able to pattern somewhat. I get maybe the first week of Nov, then it starts to lessen on sightings and then the rest has just been a waste. I try to focus my foodplots to keep the does on my land thinking that will bring bucks. What I have created is a doe place in which most mature bucks will snoop around in Nov, but when does come into heat, the doe goes off to other properties. You get that occassional hot doe that runs through, but rarely. I run roughly 10-12 cams and the peak weeks of the rut my doe sightings on cam go way down. One would think a hot doe would stay around her food, but evidently she don't. Thanksgiving comes around and usually I start to get them back. Now that situation I describe is on the Crowleys Ridge. We have plenty of does, almost way to many. Now in the Bottoms of the Sunken Lands, complete different situation. I hate to say this but I think I have 3 bucks to every doe. Very low overall deer herd numbers. I have way more mature bucks and bucks are able to get some age. We only have 5 days of shotgun and a youth hunt. Now one would think I would see a tremendous amount of bucks cruising early. And I am sure I would if I had bottle necks and funnels, but it's basically one big track of large timber and couple that with a very dry year and deer had probably thousands of acres that they at one time couldnt escape into when bumped around, not to mention a huge acorn year. So the rut once again was not seen by me. Pertaining to this article, I don't hunt anything based on the rut in Dec through Feb. I will hunt crossing etc in Oct and Nov. But I hunt food in those last 3 months. The second rut if there is such a thing, has never ever been seen by me, except occassionally we will see a doe completely way out in the open trying to keep bucks off her. That might happen once in a year. Not enough to plan your hunting strategy around.


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Post #9  Post subject: Re: Is There Actually a Second Rut?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 3:51 pm 
Let me add one other point. Higgins hunts Illinois, I have hunted Illinois for 11 years. When the rut kicks in you will know it up there. You will see the big bucks chasing a doe, or 4-5 big bucks standing over a bedded doe wide open middle field and yes it could be nighttime crossing in front of your vehicle. Funnels are key and they have defined food areas and bedding. Hunting up there is a dream. I have always said if I could hunt a whole season through my life time, I think I would run out of space on my walls for 150 class or better bucks. I am telling you, Ark is the hardest place to hunt and kill consistantly 150" or better bucks, unless you happen to have 1000 acres with 200 acres of foodplots laying up against something like Village Creek State Park that has no deer hunting. Illinois has a statewide shotgun hunt and it's short. Thus you have bucks getting age on them. So Higgins article is somewhat accurate, because I have hunted both Late Oct to first week of Nov there and hunted First week of Dec there. The rut hunting aspect in Dec there is just like here. Not enough to change your tactics. Find the food, find the trails leading to food, figure out wind and hang a stand where your wind is blown out of travel bath, and hunt evenings. Mornings are OK but there most times gone by sunup. Let me say one thing on the rut up there. It can absolutely be the most magical thing for a deer hunter. I have hunted when I would see 7-8 bucks cruising through, all at different times of the day. You honestly expect to see a mature buck every hour during the first week of Nov. If I ever had a place called deer heaven, Illinois would be it. Now I like Kansas rut hunting as well, but it's a bit different. The arkansas delta bottom land is special but very frustrating.


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Post #10  Post subject: Re: Is There Actually a Second Rut?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 6:18 pm 
The strangest place to try and key on the rut to me is the White River Refuge, the north unit rut will be about the first week of November, but the south unit will be about now ot later. There's not that much distance between them, just an line on a map separating them, but it's like two different worlds. I've hunted it a little, my son and several friends hunt it a lot.

I've only see one really wild rut like everyone wants to see. That was in 2013, down at the lease at Nimrod. We usually kill 2 or 3 does and about the same number of bucks during the first week of modern gun, with 5 or 6 guys hunting. That year we all tagged out on bucks in just the first couple of days , with way better than average bucks for that area. It was wild and the strange thing was that we keep 4 to 5 feeders and cameras running down there year round and of all the deer we killed that year we never had a picture of a single one of them and every buck killed was chasing a doe.

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Post #11  Post subject: Re: Is There Actually a Second Rut?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 7:10 pm 
Rut intensity is in large part determined by buck to doe numbers. If you have few bucks and lots of does it trickles along for a longer time. Little of the intense chasing and activity. I guess maybe I have been lucky but hardly a year goes by that I do not see at least a brief period of intense rutting. However most of my hunting is in the Ozarks where there may not be as many deer but always some good one around. They cover a lot of ground during this time too. I think that explains why out of no where never before seen deer show up. I know I have found places in the past where deer seem to show up during the hot part of the rut, stay around a few days then disappear. I know of a place on a local WMA where it has been like that for the nearly 30 years I have been around that area. I also used to hunt on a friends cattle farm. There was a big pasture on his farm where when the rut was popping if you watched that one pasture all morning you were practically guaranteed seeing a chase with several bucks. I have killed many bucks there once I figured that out.


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Post #12  Post subject: Re: Is There Actually a Second Rut?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 1:02 am 
twodog wrote:
There was a big pasture on his farm where when the rut was popping if you watched that one pasture all morning you were practically guaranteed seeing a chase with several bucks. I have killed many bucks there once I figured that out.
Couldn't agree more. I think this is what kills my ridge ground. I have some big pastures mostly sage fields broke up with ditches and I think when a doe comes in, she heads for those fields. It seems for the couple days before they do not want the buck around so she pulls out in the open stuff and I mean open. We had a doe this year which jump over in the middle of a land plane and a nice buck not wanting to leave stood on the outside for most of the day. The equipment was out behind shop parked along a busy road. Another big buck sighting I heard about, didn't get to witness, but Lake City has the Sunken Lands next to it, there's a levy running behind a Mexican restuarant, they said a doe popped over the levy and big ole buck came behind her. They swam the river and crossed levy. Said the doe bedded and buck stayed over her behind Mexican joint for most of the day. Does get real unpredictable for me during the rut. I gave up strategizing on how to hunt them a long time ago in the rut for Arkansas on my ground now. I will say each piece of ground is unique. I had some ground in the oxarks that I loved hunting during the rut. It was a ridge that had four finger ridges come together. That was a hot little rut chasing area. Buddy I sold that to, has shown me a nice buck kill picture just about every year. I called that stand the Glory Hole and boy was it. I never bow hunted it early, just waited for about two days before gun season and checked it for sign, and went in open day gun season. Killed several nice bucks off that ridge.


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Post #13  Post subject: Re: Is There Actually a Second Rut?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2016 6:04 pm 
Goin' back to the mountains for a few days this week before Christmas and see if I can see any signs of a second rut here in Arkansas.... :happy0035: May wait till Wednesday afternoon though. Have a scheduled pain shot in my spine that mornin'.... :smack: I saw one buck chasin' earlier this month and I'm hopin' to get to see another one, or two, before Christmas. This time hopefully within bow range. But the time is now cause after Christmas buck sightings are a rare event for me in that area.... :sob:

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Post #14  Post subject: Re: Is There Actually a Second Rut?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2016 7:00 pm 
I was told yesterday by my BIL he had trail camera pictures of a few shed bucks already. He lives up near Fayetteville.


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Post #15  Post subject: Re: Is There Actually a Second Rut?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2016 8:59 am 
Concur with Mr Higgens, From observation the bucks split their bachelor groups normally late Sept ready to breed....however it doesn't heat up until the does start coming in estrus. The majority of does I think come in within the same 10 day period in a given area. This is the time bucks are traveling constantly because their God given nature tells them it's happening, if they want to pass their genes on. Some does absolutely doesn't come in until Christmas, I would say the majority of these are young of the year and occasionally one that didn't breed earlier. One year several years back my Dad watched two bucks that had no antlers breed a mature doe in his pasture around the first of February. That's why we need to be out there every chance we get......we just never know!!


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