Extending The Rut With A Doe Decoy
The old bruiser was heavy in his step as his moved out into the greenfield. Two weeks of chasing does had caused him to lose a substantial amount of weight and as the rut cooled, all he could think about was nourishment. Several lucky does had fallen victim to his charm and several unlucky challenger bucks had felt his wrath for not treading lightly. He began to feed almost immediately, hardly lifting his head to scan the field for does or danger… both of which lurked nearby.
Estrus Betty stood poised in her head-turning position about 50 yards in front of my stand. The buck fed on, slowly turning toward the deer decoy as he did so. Even though he was straight up wind, he still must have smelled the dab of doe estrus I put on a cotton ball and hung from Estrus Betty’s tail. I was fairly certain the rut was over, though I couldn’t be sure until going out there to find out for myself. The Estrus Betty doe decoy and a little bit of scent are a good way to find out quickly. It was the right call.
I’m pretty sure I saw the buck spit out the clover he was munching on as he hustled over toward Estrus Betty. It was the gun season, and it was freezing cold, colder than I would like it to be to draw a bow. With my rifle, I made the easy shot.
Would that buck be on my wall without the help of Estrus Betty? Well, sure. Again, using a rifle, he was in range when he stepped out into the field. But had I been using a bow, I would have at least gotten a shot. Mind you, the decoy would have been closer to my stand.
This goes to show that no matter how sex-crazed a buck might be, it’s the does that control the rut. Despite the moon phases or the weather, when a doe is ready, she is ready. Even though that old buck might have needed sustenance for his health, he wanted one last go-round if he could get it. Just because other hunters tell you the rut is over, find out for yourself. Estrus Betty is the perfect indicator.