The bulk of the good pre-rut and rut activity occurs from October 25 to November 25, with peak breeding occurring between November 10-20. During that month-long window, I’m looking for several different weather and temperature factors that increase daylight activity. And those factors are independent of dates; but completely dependent on Mother Nature and her complete disregard for man’s calendar. The following are those factors.
1. Incoming/Outgoing Cold Fronts
Rut activity, and daylight activity in general, seems to increase just prior to and directly after a front passes through. Deer tend to go on a feeding frenzy when this occurs. Where the does go, the bucks will also be.
2. Temperature Drops
Look for days with significant temperature drops for the lows and highs. These days will likely coincide with the back side of a cold front. Deer will be on their feet. Focus on food sources, transition zones and staging areas.
3. Sharp Temperature Increases
Don’t ignore the warm spells. A sudden increase in temperature can “shock” a deer into getting on its feet, too. This could mean a front is coming and may signal an increase in barometric pressure. It’s all about variation and change that gets deer on their feet during daylight. Focus on heavy cover and transition zones on these days.
4. Precipitation Events
Rain and snow have a tendency to get deer moving. Hard precipitation will keep deer hunkered down. But light rain and snow will encourage movement instead. Be in the stand when it happens.
5. Low Humidity Levels
Deer don’t like high humidity levels. If it’s up, deer will be down. It’s just that simple. Hunt when the odds are in your favor.
6. Moon Overhead/Underfoot
More does feeding while the sun is up leads to more bucks on their feet during daylight. I’ve followed the moon position (overhead/underfoot — not moon phase) theory in relation to whitetail movement and feeding activity for quite some time now. And while I’m not 100 percent convinced yet, I’m putting more and more stock in it all the time. I think you should, too.
7. Minimalized Hunting Pressure
Any days and areas with lower hunting pressure will see more daylight rut activity and experience better rut hunts. Find those places. This is the final piece of the puzzle if you’re in the business of finding deer behave as they naturally do during the rut.