November is the time of year known as The Rut to most whitetail hunters and there are many tactics to finding the whitetail depending on the stage of the rut in early, mid or late November.
Early November in most parts of the country popular to whitetail hunters is the early breeding phase. The whitetail buck will spend days in heavy cover close to their home region. Staying closer to water and food sources at this time of the rut and coming out to feed later in the evening and staying out until almost sun up. They will start making rubs and scrapes on the trails they use to travel from food sources and water. The doe’s will be on their regular schedule at this time feeding in early morning and in the late evening hours. The doe’s are not wanting to breed at this time and may be pressured by the bucks and run but they will be using regular trails from food and water sources. During this time hunting with an antlerless decoy and doing some rattling may be very affective in luring a whitetail buck into shooting range because this time of year the bucks are determining who is dominant and will be ready for the fight.
Mid November the rut is in full swing with the doe’s being in estrus and primary breeding phase has started. During this time of year the bucks only have one thing on their mind and will be on the search twenty four hours a day. The doe’s will still be wanting to feed and follow the same routine that they always do, but the pressure from the bucks will keep them on the move all day as well. The whitetail buck will usually stay close to his home range except for during this time of the rut when he may be found long distances away. During the peak of the rut if you see doe’s it will not be long before see a buck. This is the best time of the season to use buck scents, estrus scents and very load and aggressive rattling techniques.
Late November will bring on the post breeding phase of the rut. Most of the doe’s have been bred by this time and life is slowly going back to normal. Some of the more dominant bucks are still on the lookout for doe’s and can be lured in with some doe scents or less aggressive rattling techniques, but for the most part the bucks are ready to replenish and feed heavy most of the day. Some food scents may work as well. The bucks are feeding all hours of the day, but still like thick cover. Food sources around thick cover will be great areas to find whitetail bucks this time of the rut. Don’t expect much action from the bucks as they are tired out and you may have to go to them instead. This will be a great time to try out your spot and stalk skills.