It is time..
You have been waiting and thinking about it. You have been counting 10-pointers to go to sleep at night and dreaming about it all night long. The rut is just about starting, have you created your plan?
Here's a better question, have you decided HOW you are hunting the RUT? Something you are going to need to do, the primary moon schedule hits on the 14th, PEAK RUT should be right around the same time. Something that should be thought of, given that this year we have a "Late RUT" and a late RUT moon cycle. This means that probably starting around the 13 - 15th of next week, chasing is going to start hitting hard everywhere.
This year is a late rut, this sometimes means that depending on where you live you could have a trickle out rut. Meaning the traditional rules for the rut DON'T count and new thoughts need to be implored. So what do you need to watch for?
Weather Patterns and Pressure --
I have found that deer move more when something of a pressure front is showing. A temperature move, something that is different with the pattern or pressure goes up. Something needs to change and for this change you need to be in your stand to get that buck.
The pressure needs to be up, above 30.1. On the way in to a storm or out of a storm. Again, this is a time to be in a stand. Deer feel this and are going to move to get ready for what ever is coming.
Watching Scrapes / Rubs --
You need to keep watching the scrapes and rubs, they aren't just for pre-RUT times. Deer leave scent there every time they hit it and it is just not for does to notice them. It marks their area, shows their dominance and tells other bucks still after the rut that this is my area.
Overcast Days --
People I talk with and from what I have seen and patterned. Deer move on quite a bit on overcast days, I have nothing scientific to support this opinion. Just people talking, seen and patterned, they seem to like these days more than sunny days from what I have seen. This goes back to watching the weather patterns and pressure.
Find your does --
Find the does, everyone shows the big pictures of antlers and what not, but what they are looking for. DOES and that's pretty much all there is to it. Food is a second thought for bucks, though if you can find a nice trail with White or Pin Oaks (see my post on Acorns) that leads to a field that you have does on camera and you should be seeing some good movement.
At the end of the day, this late rut and overall warm temps have messed with the deer senses and presumably will create a trickle out rut. This overall could be good for hunters giving them more "RUT TIME" than what would normally be out there. You still need to watch everything your doing and deer are still unpredictable, BUT they should be moving all over for the next week or two.
Get out there and get in a stand!!!