How Long Does the Rut Last? Get to Know When it is Best to Hunt

Whether you are just starting out as a new deer hunter or you have been doing this for a while, it is always important to know how long does the rut last in a place. The rut is the best time for you to hunt the deer with ease as compared to other times of the year. So, when does the rut begin and end? We get to check out the period a typical rut would last in any given place.

How Long Does the Rut Last


The first phase

For this phase, it would occur around 1st October to 25th October. You will find most people calling this period as pre-rut. During this time, you might get many hunters getting excited about the hunting period. But it is not always necessary as you would have to make more effort to have a fruitful hunting session.

During this phase, you should see many rubs and scrapes coming up. You can also get to see some immature bucks chasing the smaller does. On the overall, you will have to take more time waiting for the deer to show up during this phase. Most of them would be looking for food early in the morning so getting to your stand might not be so easy.

You might also have to consider the direction of the wind as it helps with positioning yourself to use a deer call. The wrong direction might never get the sound to the deer close to your location.

The second phase

This phase lasts from late October to early days of November. This is the time you get more does would be on heat and the same applies to the bucks. You should find them running around just like teenage boys without knowing that they have let down their guard. With their guards down, you should be in a position to get close to them and take your shot.

As much as this is the case, you still have to use good scent control techniques. The bucks would use the wind to sense if there is the presence of unfamiliar scent in the area. If you fail to cover your scent, it might end up costing a number of bucks in your life.

The bucks would also move from their hiding places early in the morning to mid afternoon. This is the time that should increase your odds of ending up with a mature buck is a great hunt for the day.

The third phase

This is when the peak of breeding takes place. This is going to be the most frustrating time for you to hunt the deer. The mature bucks at this time will be locked down with the does thus their activity will be dramatically decreased.

Another twist to this period is that if there is a doe in your area, you can be sure that more bucks would be appearing soon. If there is no doe in the area, the chances are that you will end up with no action in the woods for a while.

You might also want to consider hunting in the small thickets, secluded ditches, small patches, and fence rows. Whenever you spot a buck or doe in these areas, you should always be ready to take your shot as it might a while before you get another one.

The fourth phase

This phase happens in the last days of November. This phase still makes it hard to find deer for hunting. You might be lucky as some of the unproductive bucks will be running around in the woods looking for does that might not have been bred before. The phase comes with its own fair share of challenges as it is hard to predict sometimes. You can get it extending into the first week of December.

The fifth phase

This is the last phase of the rut season. It starts from early December to mid-December. It is often tricky to predict how long it will last, but it can have some bucks running around. This is also the time you get the young does being heat thus drawing out the mature bucks.

During this time, most bucks know that their survival is important rather than breeding. They will have to feed more for regaining energy and fat for surviving the several months to come. This means that it could be a chance for you to hunt for bucks during this time. Just make sure not to pressure too much in the same area so that there is continuity.


On average, you should find that the rut will last for 3 months. So, if you are a hunter, you should know by now when it is the best time to hunt for deer. Always make sure to keep in mind other deer hunting tips together with the rut period if you want to end up with a great hunting session each time.

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