In my last column I discussed a prediction by renowned whitetail expert Charles Alsheimer that the rut will reach peak activity much earlier this year - between Nov. 4-13.
According to Alsheimer, the rutting moon that traditionally triggers the rut will be Nov. 2 this year. That means the three phases of the rut - seeking, chasing and breeding - should take place beginning in late October and stretching through to around Nov. 22.
So, what techniques, scents and calls work best during these phases? The answer is fairly obvious, according to Alsheimer - all you need to do is react to deer behavior.
The seeking phase, which this year is expected to take place Oct. 31 - Nov. 6, can be one of the most productive times to use scents and call deer into range.
That's because bucks are on the move seeking a doe in estrus, but most likely won't be sticking with and chasing every doe they encounter.
Bucks begin getting territorial during this time - and scrape and rub lines start appearing in a dominant buck's home territory.
Alsheimer recommends setting up in these areas, creating mock scrapes of your own combined with a good active scrape scent and using a grunt tube.
This is also one of the best times to rattle bucks in, as they compete for a does attention. Keep in mind this technique works best where the buck to doe ratio is higher.
As deer enter the chasing phase, which this year is predicted to be around Nov. 6 - 12, Alsheimer recommends locating a good funnel area and staying put - all day if need be.
"Setting up in prime travel corridors and pinch points should offer the greatest opportunity to ambush a rut-crazed buck," He wrote in the September edition of Deer & Deer Hunting magazine. "These locations should also have the most scraping and rubbing sign."