For whitetail hunters, the dreaded lockdown is one of the most unproductive times of deer season. For a few it can be one of the luckiest times, but unfortunately, far less than we hope. Lockdown is the phase when a doe becomes submissive to a buck and allows him to become her breeding partner. Although this description does little justice to the real science behind it, a simplistic view of this behavior will save many of us from ripping our hair out over hunting bucks during the lockdown phase. This just happens to be the time when the majority of does are receptive.
The lockdown effectively stops the “chase” phase that so many of us hope and dream of. When a buck and doe begin lockdown, they will often do so in a small area. They will not travel much and will remain close to a feeding and bedding areas. Their primary focus for several days will be just to breed and stay secluded. It’s not uncommon to have random mature whitetails show up on your cameras for a few days during the rut but never return. This is often part of the intrigue many hunters have with this time of the year—a chance at deer that do not normally travel their areas. Additionally, you may see higher deer movement in general. The most difficult part of this time of year is the lack of patterns or habitual behavior by whitetails in general; Here today, gone tomorrow.
Weather this week will play a huge role in activity witnessed. The fact is, the rut will not stop if we get warm temperatures or low-pressure systems, it just simply moves that movement into the night time. The forecast is still looking great through amongst most of whitetail country, with all the apps pointing to high activity, and the moon phase rolling back around to peak movements edging the morning and evening traditional feeding times.
We stress the importance that if the rut is on or is about to start, you should use all available resources to hunt a mature buck that shows up on your camera. Call in sick, get in the woods. More likely than not, you may only have a 72–hour window before he suddenly disappears again.
The 2023 Rut Report is proudly brought to you by these fine partners: Mossberg | Taurus Pistols & Revolvers | Pyramid Air | Habit Outdoors | Reveal Cellular Cameras | Spypoint Cameras | StealthCam & Muddy Outdoors | Raw Frozen Scents | Forget Genetics