Seven Ways to Beat Unseasonably Warm Weather During the Deer Rut

For unseasonably warm weather during the deer rut, target areas near bedding thickets, hyper-focus on water and stay far, far away from open-country food plots.

Seven Ways to Beat Unseasonably Warm Weather During the Deer Rut

In a previous post we examined how weather patterns impact deer behavior, with an emphasis on a deer's response to unseasonably warm weather. Here, we narrow the focus to hot-weather deer exclusively.

Deer hunters should expect another warm-weather rut cycle this fall. Those willing and able to adjust to the conditions can play the weather right with these seven tips.

1) Focus on Morning Hunts

When the weather is 10 to 20 degrees or more above normal, focus on your morning hunts. Why? Because the coolest part of any day is right at dawn. Thus deer movement is more likely earlier, rather than later.

2) Hunt Cautiously Near Bedding Thickets

Warm Weather Deer Rut

Before diving into thick cover seeking out lethargic deer, make sure you get the wind right.

Hot-weather deer spend most of their time in cool, shady areas. And this means bedding thickets. I like to hunt as close to them as possible, as long as conditions — by that I mean the wind — are perfect. If they’re not, I back off.  And that area has to have an access and egress route I can take without polluting the countryside. It’s a gamble, but one that can pay off big.

3) Hunt Major Food Sources Smartly

Warm Weather Deer Rut

If you can find food sources inside the timber, where it is cool and shady, this is a great place to spot hot-weather deer moving during legal shooting hours.

During hot weather, the odds of seeing a mature buck strolling about a food plot with lots of shooting light are pretty slim. Instead, concentrate on finding funnels and travel routes that pass through cover and are near bedding areas. These funnels can be well off the food plot or crop fields, so don’t feel like you’re missing out if you can’t see the fields. Also look for food sources within the forest canopy itself. There are few better ambush spots during hot weather than oaks dropping acorns. Conversely, there are few worse than the edge of an open-country food plot.

4) Water

Bucks need to drink an inordinate amount of water during the rut. And that's when the weather is typical for the fall season. Their need for water increases exponentially during hot weather. That’s why water sources are critical now. In extremely hot weather, I’d rather take a stand near water than food.

5) Hunt the Front

As mentioned in my previous post on weather patterns and deer behavior, keep a close eye on the local weather report and be prepared to come early and stay late when a big weather front is rolling through.

6) Make Some Noise

I like calling and using estrous scents during the rut, and I am even more aggressive with both during hot weather. I like to leave scent bombs hanging along travel routes and near food sources overnight so any traveling bucks out seeking does can get a whiff. This implants on their brains that, "hey, this is a place I need to put into my rotation to come check out again." Rattling and doe-in-heat type bleat calls are two of my favorite tools now.

7) The Eyes Have It

When it’s hot, your chances of seeing a mature buck move are best when the available light is at its worst. That’s why using the very best riflescopes and binoculars you can afford is so important.

BONUS: Never Ring the Bell

At the Coronado, California training facility where those amazing men trying to become navy SEALs train, there is a big brass bell in the compound. When things get too tough and they want the pain to stop, all they have to do is go ring the bell. But ringing the bell means they’ve given up, and they’ll never wear that special trident.

Deer hunting is not SEAL training, but the SEAL mantra “never ring the bell” is one I always keep in mind when the hunting is slow and the odds long. And if hot-weather deer hunting is anything, it’s a long-odds game.

Stay focused, hunt smart, hunt hard and you just might beat the odds.


All photos courtesy of Bob Robb.


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