John's Journal...

The Best Week for Finding a Trophy Buck

Determine When’s the Deer Rut

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Famed baseball announcer Dizzy Dean once said, “If you done it, it ain’t braggin’.” And friends, I’ve done it. I’ve found the magic week to hunt deer that increases my odds for bagging a trophy buck. You don’t have to bet on moon charts, tide charts, soothsayers or any hunting aids. I know the very best day to bag a trophy buck because I have the scientific research and the qualified experts to unequivocally back me up.

“Sixty percent of the deer bred in Alabama are bred around February 11 each year,” Dr. Keith Causey, retired professor of wildlife science and wildlife researcher at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama says. “If you’re ever going to see a trophy buck chasing an estrous dClick to enlargeoe, it will be some time during the week of February 11 in Alabama.” From examining the fetuses of road-killed does and pregnant does taken for scientific research, wildlife biologists have back-dated the time of conception based on the fetuses’ development to the magic date of the week of February 11. So clear the roads, and put all the women and children in the house. On February 11, you’ll find me in the woods hunting deer.

But wait a minute – I can’t hunt in February! Since Alabama’s deer season ends onJanuary 31, I can’t hunt during the best week of the year for taking a trophy buck. The peak of the rut in Alabama, according to Causey, occurs after deer season has ended.Click to enlarge

However, in many states, the peak of the rut happens during deer season. John Curtis, senior wildlife technician for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, says, “In a survey we did with 60 fawns taken around Buffalo, New York, the highest number of fawns were conceived between November 9 and November 19 with November 12 seeming to be the peak day for conception. The state did have one fawn conceived on November 25, one on December 10 and one on December 24. However, we biologists believe that the two December fawns were conceived during those does’ secondestrous periods. Although November 12 seems to be the very-best day for bucks to breed does in New York, I prefer to hunt the week before the peak of the rut. I believe that the bucks are more active then than they are during the week when most of the breedinClick to enlargeg is taking place.”

Lonni Hansen, a deer-research specialist with the Missouri Department of Conservation, conducted a study for several years on post-dating fawns. As Hansen explains, “We’ve found that November 16 is the most-consistent date for the majority of does in Missouri to breed. During our 5-year study, this date has only varied by one day, either before or after November 16. Our research indicates that the very-best day to find bucks breeding does will be on November 16. Since our gun-hunting season usually begins around November 15, our state’s first few days of gun deer season generally are at a time during the very peak of the rut.”

If you live in one of these fortunate states where the peak of the rut occurs during deer season, let me show you tomorrow how to plan your hunting this season to take advantage of the best week to take a trophy buck.

Tomorrow: Take Steps to Have More Deer-Hunting Success

Check back each day this week for more about "The Best Week for Finding a Trophy Buck”"

Day 1: Determine When’s the Deer Rut
Day 2: Take Steps to Have More Deer-Hunting Success
Day 3: Understand the Does’ Secrets
Day 4: Recognize the Different Types of Classes
Day 5: Where to Find Thick-Cover Sanctuaries   


Entry 481, Day 1