The rutting season or breeding season of deer is an exciting time for hunters. It is a time when deer behavior is becoming more predictable and the chances of successful hunts increase. While many hunters focus on buck hunting during this era, an often overlooked strategy is to use the deer mark to your advantage. In this article, we look at the importance of the deer sign during the rut and offer tips on how to incorporate it into your hunting strategy.
Understanding the Doe Sign:
The deer mark is the physical markings and signs that female deer leave behind, including tracks, droppings, and scratches. While bucks dominate the hunt narrative in the rutting season, ignoring the deer sign can be a missed opportunity. By paying attention to these markers, hunters can gain valuable insight into the local deer population and increase their chances of a successful hunt.
The meaning of the deer sign during the rutting season:
Communication and Attraction: Female deer leave scent marks through urination and glands to communicate with other deer, including bucks. These scents can attract bucks during the rut as they act as a signal that a hind is receptive and ready to breed. By locating the deer shield, you can strategically position yourself to intercept bucks in search of susceptible deer.
Establish Dominance and Territory: Also engages in scraping and rubbing to mark its territory and establish dominance. These markings can indicate the presence of hinds in the area and attract bucks vying for breeding rights. Watching for fresh scratches and abrasions can lead you to prime hunting grounds.
Predicting Deer Movement: By studying deer signs, you can gain insight into deer movement patterns. Knowing where they feed, rest, and move around during the rut can help you identify potential stock locations. Additionally, observing changes in deer sign over time may indicate the presence of bucks as they actively pursue deer during the rut.
Integrate Doe Sign into your hunting strategy:
Exploration: Before the rut, take time to explore your hunting ground to find the deer shield. Look for tracks, droppings, and fresh scratches. Use maps and trail cameras to identify high traffic areas. Knowing where birds are common can increase your chances of stumbling upon cash.
Smell Control: Since smell plays an important role in communicating with deer, it is important to practice smell control. Use odor-eliminating sprays, avoid contaminating your hunting gear with foreign odors, and be aware of wind direction when positioning yourself near the deer shield.
Rut-Specific Tactics: Once you’ve identified the deer sign, adjust your hunting tactics accordingly. Place logs or ground blinds near areas of high deer activity. Use the scent of roe deer in heat sparingly to attract bucks, but don’t overdo it. Keep in mind that too much scent can alert deer to the presence of humans.
Patience and Observation: During the rut, deer activity can be erratic and unpredictable. Remain patient and alert as the presence of a deer sign can change quickly. Adjust your strategy as you observe changes in deer movement and behavior.
Even if bucks are in the spotlight during the rut, understanding and using the deer signals can significantly increase your hunting success. By watching for deer tracks, droppings, scratches, and other indicators, you can glean valuable information about deer movement, attract bucks, and position yourself strategically. Incorporate the deer sign into your hunting strategy and enjoy a rewarding and successful rutting season.