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BY: JOHN DUDLEY

I started practicing a personal rule many years ago and I believe it plays a big part in my whitetail hunting success. From the end of October to the end of November, I refrain from shooting does unless I have already filled my buck tag. The philosophy on this is simple: If you have lots of ladies around during the rut, the bucks will be there as well. I shot a great buck two years ago on November 1st. This buck was noticeably uncomfortable coming to the food plot I was hunting during the early evening. However, he was trailing a doe that was one of the first to come into estrus. She was a big, old doe and one I had seen time and time again earlier in the season. Although I did have a doe tag in my pocket, and she did present me with multiple shots, I couldn’t help but think she was very predictable and that one day she would have a buck on her tail. Sure enough it happened, and it was her that helped me tag a great buck that I didn’t think I would ever see. I have learned to enjoy my doe tags during the late season when buck hunting has slowed down a bit. The weather is more favorable for taking care of your meat and you aren’t burning valuable rut time taking care of a doe. Getting a food plot to fill up with a bunch of the ladies that are natural decoys will pay off. Leave the ladies alone prior to and during the prime rutting period, and you will get more opportunities at big dominant bucks.

Monster Buck
Photo taken from video footage of a doe leading a mature buck in to the open and within shooting range.
Game camera photo taken mid October showing does creating natural decoys and soon to be attractants for big bucks.
If the does are there be patient, the big bucks will eventually show up.

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