The exciting chasing phase of the rut has come and gone, and you still don’t have a buck? I know what you’re thinking, “It’s going to be almost impossible now, right?” After all, the deer have moved on to that ever-dreaded lockdown phase. They just aren’t moving. So, why even bother going out? Well, believe it or not, there is hope! The lockdown phase can still be a great time to get that big buck you’ve been dreaming about. You just need to know the right strategies for this difficult stage of the rut.

But, before we get into those strategies, let’s take a look at what the lockdown phase is. This lockdown phase is the actual breeding stage of the rut. It is during this phase that bucks will pair up with a doe and breed her several times over a 24 to 36 hour period. It is true that movement is very limited during this time frame, so strategy is more important than ever.

Don’t worry, I have taken the time and done the homework for you. I have read what the experts have to say about hunting the lockdown phase, and I have put it all together for you right here. So, here you go, the top 5 expert tips for hunting the lockdown phase of the rut:

  1. Hunt the thicket. Breeding deer are looking for seclusion and safety during the lockdown. Your best chances of getting a buck are by finding thickets or secluded areas near food and water sources.
  2. Find the does. I know I’ve said it before, but does are still your greatest asset, even during this lockdown phase. If you know where the does like to gather or bed down, then you just may have the golden ticket. Remember, bucks will move on to new does once the one they are with is no longer receptive.
  3. Hunt all day. While movement is minimal, it could kick up at any time. Once a buck has finished breeding one doe, he will begin searching for another doe in estrus. Also, deer are not following normal patterns, so you’re best bet is to be in your stand or blind all day.
  4. Challenge the bucks. Bucks are very territorial and if they feel their breeding efforts are being challenged, they will respond. Try using a buck decoy and continue rattling and calling; stick with buck grunts, roars, and snort wheezes.
  5. Spot and stalk. Yep, if ever there was a time to try a spot and stalk hunt, this is it! In order to have the greatest success, you need to know the area you are hunting; know all the thick, isolated spots that deer may stake out for breeding purposes. Be adventurous; this method sure can beat sitting in a stand all day!

Well, there it is, the top 5 expert tips for hunting the lockdown phase of the rut. And, yes, a couple of these have been recommended for every stage of the rut. But, it only makes sense that if you hunt all day, you increase your odds. And, likewise, bucks are looking for does, so why shouldn’t you? Hunting the lockdown can be very frustrating; it requires a great deal of patience. And, if it doesn’t work out for you, or you choose just to stay in and skip this phase of the rut, don’t worry, the second rut will soon be here!

Questions, comments, or tips? I would love to hear them! Just comment below or contact me at And, as always, hunt smart & hunt safe!




Recommended Reading:

Hunting Bucks During The Lockdown by Chris Larsen
Hunting the Rut – Lockdown Strategies by HUNTINGFREAK
Whitetail Rut Lock Down Phase by Jeff Sturgis
Beating Lock Down by Thomas
Beating Lockdown by Jase Bauserman




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