second rutThe rut came and went. And, you still don’t have a buck to show for it. Well, don’t worry; there’s still hope! The second rut is upon us. If it’s not here yet, it soon will be. So, just how do you know when that second rut is going to occur? Here’s how to predict it:  figure out the dates of the first rut and simply add 28 days. The second rut should be somewhere in that general time frame (give or take a few days); there is no exact science to it. Typically, it will happen during the first couple of weeks in December. The only way to know for sure it’s happening is to be in the woods when it hits. And, even then you may not realize it’s happening.

This so-called second rut is nothing like the exciting true rut that is seen in November. In fact, it’s not really a rut at all. The second rut is more like some occasional breeding. Nonetheless, if there are does in heat, there will be bucks around to breed them. While many of these tips may look the same, there are variations to some of them. So, be sure to read them all.  Just as the season changes, so do some of our approaches.

Once again, my #1 tip is find the does! Yes, I know I’ve given this advice several times now. But, it only makes sense that if you find does in heat, you will greatly increase your odds of finding bucks!

Okay, tip #2. Hunt food sources. Deer are needing to pack on the pounds for the cold winter months, so they will usually settle in close to feeding areas. Know the land you hunt; know where your food sources are. If you don’t have a stand or blind close by, this is the time to relocate them.

Tip #3. Hunt travel corridors. If you’ve done your homework, you should know where the deer are bedding, and where the food sources are. The deer are heavily concentrated during this time of year, and they are not traveling far. Look for trails that are still being used; they should show signs of heavy wear. Just be careful not to set up too out in the open.

Tip #4. Hunt the thicket. Deer are settling down in thick cover for the winter. But, remember, they are also staying close to food sources, so don’t travel too far from the food.

second rut

Tip #5. Use your trail cameras to find the deer. If you’re not getting anything on camera, then consider moving them. Deer patterns have changed. Spots where you had lots of great pictures during early season may now be dead. Don’t let a lack of pictures discourage you; just change your location.

Tip #6. Hunt all day. I know, it’s cold out, right? Well, just like the true rut in November, you just don’t know when this second rut will hit. So, bundle up. Stock up on hot hands, toastie toes, or heated insoles. Just plan to do some long, cold weather sitting if you really want to increase your odds.

Tip #7. Scent control is a must! Chances are deer are traveling in groups this time of year, so that means more noses to sniff you out and bust you. This means washing your clothes, body, and hair with scent control products. My absolute favorite product is Nose Jammer! I tried it for the first time ever this year, and I will never hunt without it again! second rutIt is available in laundry detergent, shampoo, conditioner, soap, deodorant, and spray, as well as some other products. However, feel free to use the scent control products of your choice.

So, those are my top 7 tips for hunting the so-called second rut. And, believe me, I will be following all of them. Because, like many of you, I had no luck during the first rut. To those of you out there hunting the second rut with me, I wish you success. As always, hunt smart and hunt safe!

Have any tips or advice you would like to share? Please leave your comments below, or you can contact me at



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