Many hunters recognize Halloween as the kickoff of the rut. Although to some hunters, it may be viewed as the only day of the year they fit in.
Most years, by the last day of October, signs of the rut have begun to appear. The whitetail buckís routine is beginning to change, which can be in the favor of the hunter. By using the signs left behind and setting up properly, the odds of harvesting a mature animal increases dramatically. Scents used to attract bucks can also be extremely effective during this time of the rut.
The phase of the rut we are in now is called the pre-rut. This basically is like football players practicing for the big game. Bucks make scrapes or paw beds out of frustration, and aggressively rub their antlers on trees, which strengthens their legs and necks. This activity prepares the animalís body for the true battles of the upcoming rut. They begin to make multitudes of scrapes and rubs, and visit to freshen them sometimes several times a day. Scent checking of the scrapes and wind for the first hot does will increase buck movement during daylight hours.
With does still a couple weeks from their cycle, the bucks are ready to go now. They are becoming much less tolerant of other bucks and are beginning to spar and sometimes outright fight to establish dominance. The fights are a bit less serious than during the rut, and rarely cause injury. These fights make noises that attract other bucks, either to join in or to be a spectator. It has been said that clashing or rattling deer antlers together to attract bucks had been done by native people for thousands of years. Modern hunters use this technique to this day, and many that have tried it consistently, claim it works.