You Need To Know The Science Of The Whitetail Rut


Understanding what goes on in a whitetail buck’s body and brain during the most anticipated time of hunting season can help you tag your next trophy.

By Clint McCoy, DVM / North American Whitetail Magazine

All seasoned whitetail hunters live for November. Whether you are a weekend warrior or a vacation-day hoarder, we all like to get as much time afield during the best month of the calendar year. On Nov. 3, 2019, I was making a hyper-aggressive play on a large non-typical buck that I had been profiling for about 14 months.

I had just started my three-week rutcation, and the vacation vibe had me amped as it usually does. After a busted deep-timber hunt the afternoon before, I left the field kicking rocks and scratching my head, feeling snake bit already with nearly a month left to get it done. Before going back to the house with my tail tucked between my legs, I drove to an adjacent property after sunset and pulled three trail camera cards from the timber’s edge near a standing cornfield. The images garnered from this spur-of-the-moment, in-the-dark card pull were about to change the course of my entire season.

I had been profiling the large non-typical buck for about 14 months at that point, and the animal was seen on each of those three camera cards, with multiple passes from different directions and in broad daylight. In several of the images, the buck we call “Son of Sam” looked like a punch-drunk robot set to autopilot. With an open mouth breathing and eyes glazed over, he was stomping the Illinois landscape and searching a doe bedding thicket nearby. The big rascal was certainly under the influence of his surging testosterone levels, and as a hunter and a veterinarian with a strong endocrinology background, I knew right then and there I needed to make my move. Testosterone was making the Son of Sam buck vulnerable! CONTINUE READING ARTICLE

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