THE RUT’S SECOND PEAK
In states where the bow season runs for the majority of November (Iowa, OH, Kansas – possibly others) and in states with limited gun hunting pressure (western states and Canada) you get a chance to see natural movement of bucks throughout the entire month – through every phase of the rut.
Under those conditions, you will see a second peak of mature buck movement after most of the does have been bred. I have had the good fortune of being able to hunt every day of the rut for the past 27 seasons. I see this second peak every year.
The second peak occurs roughly from November 20 through November 26. You won’t see as much chaos at this time as you do early in the rut because the younger bucks have more or less worn themselves out and have given up on chasing does. But the older bucks are still hard at work.
For mature bucks, the rut is all business. They will try to breed every receptive doe until there aren’t any more left, and just to be sure, those older bucks will take one last good look around. This is what you will see during this second peak.
If the first peak (from roughly November 3 through the 12) is a 10 on the buck movement scale, the second peak is a 4. The bucks will not be as active, but they will be covering more ground in daylight during this time than they were (or will) at any time of season other than the rut’s first peak. It is worth hunting.
Mature bucks are thinking food and does at this time. So if you can combine the two attractions, you will up your chances of seeing a shooter. Morning hunts near bedding areas and overlooking funnels can still pay off, but you should spend your evenings hunting near food.
Don’t give up just because the wild week is past. It still pays to be out there as much as possible. The week of Thanksgiving can be very good. I have shot some nice bucks over the years during this time.