Pre-rut Advantage: Early Bird Gets the Buck

Posted on July 5, 2013

In Part 1 of this exclusive five-part segment , we got you primed for hunting a giant  buck before the rut begins. Part 2 covered hunting primary scrapes. Now let’s take a closer look at the advantages of hunting early. 




Bowhunt Morning & Midday

Mornings are my preference when hunting active primary scrape areas. Bucks seem to be more at ease after moving all night undisturbed, and morning hunts also encompass the midday hunting period. Try to stay on stand until at least noon, or if possible all day.


On morning hunts mature bucks in pressured areas may come in to re-fresh a scrape or stage up within hearing distance of the scrape area before first light and you must enter and set up well before they arrive or pass by. Being totally set up and quiet a minimum of an hour and a half prior to first light is recommended.


During midday, after most deer movements have taken place, he or another buck may come in and check the scrape area. If a buck in the area is spooked by the typical just prior to daylight arrival to your stand, he will likely not return to that area during midday.


In lightly hunted areas, bucks rarely receive negative consequences for their actions while growing to maturity because most hunters do not target them until they are at least 3 1/2 years old. In such areas mature bucks are just as apt to be seen during normal morning and evening time frames as the rest of the deer, and extremely early morning arrivals are not required.


I have taken 11 mature bucks (3 1/2 years old or older) in states with low hunter numbers and none of them had previous wounds, whereas all but 9 of the 23 Michigan book bucks I have taken had previous gun or archery wounds with several having as many as three different wounds. Bucks in pressured areas either learn to use a different time schedule than the rest of the deer, otherwise they cease to exist, this is a very simple concept.


Hunts in active primary scrape areas should be repeated as long as the scrapes remain active, and you have not spooked deer with your entries and exits. Try to stay as far away from the area as possible when not hunting it.


Single scrapes, not in any pattern, will likely not be part of a buck’s regular routine and do not warrant a hunt. During this short critical time of the season you should always have a reason to hunt where you are hunting and for using whatever tactics you may be using. Hunting without a plan during the pre-rut period will definitely lead to inconsistent results.


Stay tuned for the next part of this exclusive segment!


By John Eberhart

Posted in Articles, Bow Hunting Tips and Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>