Where I live, the rut should be starting in about half a month. What are some of your tactics for hunting the pre-rut and early rut?
I tend to hunt food/cover patterns during the pre-rut. I look for locations where deer will be using during daylight hours and that I can access, hunt, and exit without alerting deer.
During the rut I either hunt travel areas or the edge of bedding areas. Bucks will often use travel areas that go from bedding cover to bedding cover while seeking a receptive doe. They will often seek receptive does within bedding areas. If they locate a receptive doe they often will nudge her out of bedding cover and try to separate her from other deer, especially other bucks. I probably hunt closer to bedding areas during the rut than any other time of the year.