The rut can be one of the most exciting times to hunt all year. With big bucks on their feet cruising, looking for those hot does, buck activity can reach an all time high during those daylight hours. Many times bucks will travel miles away from their core area, looking for that hot doe. Once they’ve found that doe, they will then spend the next couple of days chasing her around and fighting off other bucks, often providing hunters with plenty of fast paced buck activity.
During this buck haven of a season we call rut, also comes with it one of the slowest times of the year as well. A phase often referred to as the “lock down”. The lock down phase occurs for several days during the rut. It’s that period of time after the buck has located his doe. Once he chases her down and gets her to submit, he then tries to lock her down in a safe hiding place and keep her their until her estrus cycle is over, in a selfish attempt to keep her all to himself and keep her hidden from the other bucks. A loose doe running around, will only gain the attention of other bucks.
During this phase is the most common time to see the rut activity of those smaller bucks. Basically the big boys have already found their does and now the little bucks are cruising around in hopes to find another one, that hasn’t been taken yet or they’re trying to get in on some (for a lack of a better term) sloppy seconds. This is also that time of year when you see that big boy bedded down with that doe in some of the most unlikely places (ditches, small hedge rows, tiny patch of grass, back yards, etc.). Again, that’s their effort to take that doe out away from the general bedding area, away from the other deer to a secluded place, to keep her all to himself.
Even though the lock down phase can provide some of the slowest sets in deer hunting history, it’s still beneficial to keep plugging away at it, as the big boy is bound to leave that doe for another one anytime.