When it comes to harvesting a mature whitetail buck during deer hunting season, understanding the dynamics of doe estrus is crucial. A doe’s estrus cycle can greatly influence the behavioral patterns of bucks. This concept becomes even more crucial as the rut, the deer breeding season, approaches. While many hunters swear by using doe estrus scents during the peak rut in November, there has been a growing interest in using doe estrus in October.
What is Doe Estrus?
A doe estrus is part of a doe’s (female deer) reproductive cycle. It is specifically the period when a doe is most fertile and ready to mate. During this time, does produce specific scents and pheromones that signal to bucks their readiness to breed. This scent is what we refer to as doe estrus scent and can be bottled and used by hunters to attract mature bucks.
The Rationale Behind Using Doe Estrus in October
The traditional belief among deer hunters has been to use doe estrus scents during the peak rut, typically in November, to mimic a doe in heat and attract bucks. So, why should a hunter consider using doe estrus in October?
The answer lies in the whitetail deer’s biology and behaviour. Not all does come into heat at the same time. A small percentage of does can go into estrus as early as late October. Although not all bucks will be interested as the rut hasn’t peaked, mature bucks are generally aware of these early cycling does and are on the lookout for them.
Therefore, using doe estrus in October can potentially provoke a reaction from a big buck who is primed for the early doe but hasn’t yet found her.
Benefits of Using Doe Estrus in October
There are several benefits of using doe estrus scents in October. There’s less hunting pressure during this period, as the majority of hunters are keying on the rut in November. This means that timid, mature bucks may be more active and willing to investigate an estrus scent during this time, giving you an advantage.
Furthermore, there’s the element of surprise. Mature bucks, which are typically more challenging to hunt, might be caught unawares in October when fewer hunters are around.
How to Use Doe Estrus in October
Utilizing doe estrus scents in October requires a strategic approach. Here’s a step-by-step guide to effectively using doe estrus during this period:
It’s important to understand the deer movement patterns in your hunting area. Look for signs of deer activity, like trails, rubs, and scrapes.
2. Use High-Quality Doe Estrus
Purchase a high-quality, fresh doe estrus scent. Synthetics or scents that have been improperly stored can deliver less than stellar results.
Setup your stand or blind near the deer activity signs. Identify the typical wind direction to ensure you don’t “alert” the deer with your scent.
Apply the doe estrus scent on scent wicks, drags, or directly onto the scrape. Always wear gloves while handling and applying to avoid human scent contamination.
Try using the doe estrus scent early in the morning or late in the evening. Deer are naturally more active during these periods.
It’s important to remember that using doe estrus in October doesn’t guarantee a successful hunt. However, it’s one more tactic that can potentially tip the odds in your favor when hunting mature bucks.
While November is commonly known as the ‘prime time’ for using doe estrus, savvy hunters understand the potential advantages of incorporating this practice into their October hunting strategies. Not only can it provoke a response from a big buck on the prowl, but it can also offer a significant advantage in areas with less hunting pressure. Most importantly, the fundamental rule of hunting still applies: understanding and respecting wildlife behavior will ultimately contribute to a more successful, ethical, and enjoyable hunting experience. Therefore, hunters who invest the time to learn these intricacies will find themselves better equipped in the pursuit of the elusive whitetail deer.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can you use doe estrus in October?
Yes, you can safely use doe estrus in October. This is the time when does are coming into their estrus cycle, commonly known as the rut. Bucks are actively seeking out does for breeding during this period, making it an ideal time to use doe estrus to attract them.
2. What is the best deer scent to use in October?
The best deer scent to use in October is doe estrus, commonly referred to as doe urine. This scent mimics the natural smell of a doe during her estrus cycle, which can intrigue bucks and draw them to your hunting area. It is important to ensure that the scent is fresh and high-quality to maximize its effectiveness.
3. Can you use doe estrus too early?
Using doe estrus too early in the season may not yield the desired results. Estrus is typically concentrated during the rut, which varies from region to region but generally occurs during October. Using doe estrus too early, such as in September, may not have the same effect, as the does may not be in their estrus cycle yet and the bucks may not be actively searching for mates.
4. Can you use doe estrus in November?
Yes, you can still use doe estrus in November. While the peak of the rut may start to taper off towards the end of October, there can still be a good amount of rutting activity in early November. Bucks may continue to search for does during this time, so using doe estrus can be effective in attracting bucks to your hunting area.