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John's Journal... Entry 177, Day 1


Hunt Rutting Bucks Now

EDITOR'S NOTE: Hunters have chased them, shot at them, cussed them, spooked and aggravated them all season long. But the biggest, the oldest and the smartest bucks on any property you hunt have managed to survive until the end of the season. These large, older bucks write the textbooks young bucks study to survive. Some of the nation's best hunters employ strategies that will take these end-of-the-season rutting bucks each year. These masters of the hunt tell us their tactics for bagging late-season bucks.


Many northern hunters consider Paul Butski of Niagara Falls, New York, the owner of Butski Game Calls, one of the nation's top deer hunters. The deer Butski hunts constantly have had sportsmen breathing down their necks. "Our gun season doesn't begin until around the 20th of November each year -- usually at the end of the rut," Butski explains. "Typically our area has very cold weather and often snow at this time of the year. Because of the extreme weather conditions, most hunters will venture out only for an hour or two in the morning and in the afternoon, spending most of their daylight hours fellowshipping around a campfire. Deer pattern hunters just like hunters pattern deer. They understand that in very cold and/or snowy weather, the least amount of hunting pressure will exist in the middle of the day. Therefore, the deer will move more frequently in the middle of the day. Also, although the rut in our area is winding down, many bucks still will remain mobile with hopes of finding that last estrus doe. For these reasons, I hunt all day at the end of the season."

Butski also searches for the thickest cover to hunt in at the end of the season. "Deer look for places to hide where no hunter will move into," Butski reports. "Deer must remain in thick cover to survive at the end of the season. So, hunt a thicket area. I hunt without my gun. I find the thickest cover I can and put up a tree stand where no one else can find it. I don't reenter this area until the last few days of the rut. Then I feel I have the best chance of taking the biggest buck in the region because he must hold there to have. Man-drives remain one of the most-effective ways to pull big bucks out of thick cover late in the season. But don't drive the area where you've placed your stand if you plan to stand hunt any more there during that season. I prefer to hunt from my stands in the mornings and the afternoons and drive the regions where I don't have stands in the middle of the day."

Butski usually has the opportunity for a shot when he sees a buck moving ahead of him in thick cover or when he jumps a bedding buck as he follows the trails through thick cover. He also tracks deer at the end of the season. "If fresh snow covers the ground, I can spot a big track, follow it and walk all day if I must to get close enough to take a shot at a buck," Butski says.




Check back each day this week for more about HUNT RUTTING BUCKS NOW ...

Day 1 - Hunt Rutting Bucks Now
Day 2 - Middle State Strategies That Will Pay Deer Dividends
Day 3 - Southern Techniques for the Rut
Day 4 - Midwestern Bad-Weather Buck Techniques for the Rut
Day 5 - More on Midwestern Bad-Weather Buck Techniques

John's Journal