full moon

Mark Drury and I compared notes again and came up with our 5th annual prediction of the best days to shoot a monster in the 2013 rut.

Any year, the first week of November, when bucks rub and scrape like fiends and troll for the first receptive does, is a great time to hunt for a big deer. If you take off this week, you ought to hunt all day every day, because you never know when you might see a shooter. But with the moon new and dark this November 3 and then waxing crescent, bucks should be most active at daylight. Get on stand extra early and hunt the mornings extra hard.

The first week of November “will be the best week to grunt and rattle,” says Drury. Watch the weather and don’t miss the 2-3 crisp, high-pressure days after a dry or rain cold front moves through your area. Bucks will move best then.

There have been more record-book bucks shot November 8-11 than any other days, and that window will produce giants again this year. But keep in mind that around November 10 every season, the major lockdown hits in many areas as mature bucks hole up in covers to tend and breed does. Couple that with new scientific data that says overall deer activity will diminish during the first-quarter moon of November 10, and the second week of November is setting up to be unpredictable, and tough in places.

“Look for the lockdown to be fairly tough, but once bucks start to free up around November 15th  with the full moon coming on, I think the buck movement will be quite good at all times of the day,” says Mark.

Biologists say whitetail rutting activity fluctuates a bit with weather, acorn crops, pressure, etc., but actual breeding dates are amazingly consistent from year to year in any given location, regardless of moon phase. But Mark and I are more adamant than ever that bucks move more and harder during a “rut full moon” than during the darker phases.

So, we believe things are setting up to be hot during the full-moon week of November 17. Most of the older bucks will come out of lockdown around November 15, and as they go back on the prowl for more does, they will move long and hard from around 11:00 a.m. until dark each day. Mark Drury loves hunting November 16-20, and he predicts this will be a great time to kill a big buck this fall, maybe the best time of the 2013 rut. I concur and plan to get on stand by 9:00 a.m. and hunt till dark.