This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode, click here.

>>GRANT: [Whispering] It’s the morning of October 16th and it’s the first nippy or cold morning we’ve had. I think the truck said about 40 or so at the coldest point.

>>GRANT: [Whispering] So, great morning here in October. The first cold or cold front we’ve had. Forty is not that cold, but we were 80 just a couple days ago, so, it feels like a big change. I’ve got my stocking hat on this morning.

>>GRANT: [Whispering] I think deer are going to react the same way. I think the movement will be later this morning. I said, “I think.” A lot of times they’re near, so let’s see if my assumptions work out.

>>GRANT: [Whispering] We can catch a, you know, a doe or a shooter buck coming across the ridge and make a little venison. You know, deer often travel old logging roads in the middle of big stands of timber like this. But the magic here is this kind of an intersection.

>>GRANT: [Whispering] There’s a scrape right here. This scrape is a perennial scrape, or it’s active year after year after year. Deer tend to cut around this shelf, hit this scrape and you’ll usually find scrapes at the intersection of an elevation change or a road, some intersection in the habitat. So, it’s like an invisible pinch point right here with that elevation change. It’s a little flat area right here in the road and the scrape. There is just several reasons for deer to pass within bow range of this set.

>>GRANT: [Whispering] I see another deer way back in there. 80 yards back in there running.

>>DANIEL: [Whispering] Yeah.

>>GRANT: [Whispering] It’s a buck. There’s a buck coming right here.

>>GRANT: [Whispering] I can’t tell how good the buck is.

>>DANIEL: [Whispering] [Undiscernible]

>>GRANT: [Whispering] There’s another one running up through there.

>>DANIEL: [Whispering] A buck?

>>GRANT: [Whispering] No. Does and fawns. Three of them went up through there. These went this way and three just went that way.

>>GRANT: [Whispering] Well, it’s almost nine o’clock and I thought it would be later morning because that was the first cold night we’d had – cool night. We heard a bunch of grunting first. I mean a bunch of grunting – almost like rut grunting.

>>GRANT: [Whispering] And the does and fawns came through. Then a nice probably really good two-year-old came through. And he was just dogging – just pushing a little bit. He was certainly behind those does and had them moving.

>>GRANT: [Whispering] Man, October 16th – and you always have some does become receptive early; it’s a bell-shaped curve. And some will breed early. Most of them here are going to breed about the second week in November – first, second week in November.

>>GRANT: [Whispering] We saw some bucks last night working a scrape. We’re seeing bucks now. Man, it’s shaping up to be a great season.

>> ANNOUNCER: GrowingDeer is brought to you by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s. Also by Reconyx, Green Cover Food Plots, Winchester, LaCrosse Footwear, Thlete Outdoor Apparel, Morrell Targets, RTP Outdoors, Fourth Arrow, HuntStand, Scorpion Venom Archery, Case IH Tractors, Burris Optics, G5 Broadheads, Prime Bows, and Redneck Hunting Blinds.

>>GRANT: Pre-rut activity has been heating up. But as we move closer to the peak of the rut our hunting strategies often need to change.

>>GRANT: I mentioned after my observation of the two-year-old buck pushing the does that the whitetail rut can be illustrated by a bell-shaped curve. It starts off really slowly, picks up momentum and that momentum would be buck activity, if you will. It kind of levels off at a frenzy and then drops off.

>>GRANT: Seeing that young buck pushing the does and grunting several times was a good indication that we’re entering the pre-rut. We’re on the left side of that bell-shaped curve.

>>GRANT: During this portion of the whitetail breeding season, there won’t be many does that are receptive. And for those that are, there will be a lot of competition among bucks.

>>GRANT: You want to make sure when you’re headed out to your stand or blind during this phase you’ve got that grunt call or rattling. Because if both of those are communicating, there’s a receptive doe in the area and there’s competition or a chase going on.

>>GRANT: Typically, during mid-October throughout much of the whitetails’ range, if you see a buck, you know, cruising through and grunting or pushing some does, it’s likely a two-year-old or an immature buck. When they see a doe, they start going after it.

>>GRANT: There’s not enough does receptive yet for the big boys to be on their feet and cruising around, especially during daylight hours. But that can change rapidly.

>>GRANT: When we look at the bell-shaped curve, we notice as we go from left to right – and that’s time or days – just a day or two can be a big increase in the percentage of does becoming receptive, causing a flurry of activity in the whitetail world.

>>GRANT: When the stage of the rut is in that low part of the curve on the left side, hunting near scrapes can be a great technique because bucks are going to be leaving their sign and checking for sign – it’s two-way communication – at scrapes versus just going through the woods trying to find a receptive doe.

>>GRANT: Scrapes are the key communication post at that time.

>>GRANT: As the curve starts increasing, or going higher fairly rapidly on the left side, bucks are going to change from a food/cover, food/cover pattern, and a very small amount of acres they’re probably covering to traveling more land. And that’s when we shift from hunting near food or near cover to pinch points trying to target those bucks as they’re going from one location to another and finding those bottlenecks in between those portions of their home range.

>>GRANT: As the peak of the rut gets closer and more and more does are receptive, bucks don’t need to travel as much. It’s easier to find a receptive doe. And so, the portion of the range they’re covering might decrease a bit, but they’re on their feet a lot of the day.

>>GRANT: At this same time, the amount of activity at scrapes will decline rapidly and most scrapes will go dead for a week or two.

>>GRANT: As we advance up that bell-shaped curve and get almost to the top, that’s where the highest percentage on any given day of does are receptive. And at that time, it can be tough to see a buck. A buck will often find a receptive doe and tend her for 24 to 36 hours.

>>GRANT: They may get up, move a little bit, bed, get up, and move a little bit, and bed, and that’s what some people call the lockdown phase.

>>GRANT: Now there’s always going to be bucks moving. And you may hunt and say, “Boy it was dead today.” And your buddy says, “Man, I saw three bucks just running like crazy.” If you’re near a receptive doe or where receptive does are using, you may see a lot of action.

>>GRANT: But if you’re not near a receptive doe, you may think all the deer went away.

>>GRANT: During that portion of the rut, I strongly prefer hunting near or, especially, where I can look over quality cover.

>>GRANT: Receptive does will often be pestered by multiple bucks. And I’ve seen does – maybe they’re not quite receptive yet – get in thick cover just trying to find an area where the bucks are not pestering them all day long.

>>GRANT: As we get past the peak of that curve and start going down the other side, it will kind of be reverse of the pre-rut. However, it won’t be near as intense for a couple of reasons.

>>GRANT: One, bucks are pretty worn down. They’ve expended a lot of calories. They may rest for a day or two actually. And then go back to a food/cover, food/cover pattern. Now they may find a receptive doe during that, and the full rut will look like it’s on. If you’re in that area and, boy, you see a big, ole buck chasing a doe, you’re going to think, “Oh, the rut is late this year.” But it’s not late.

>>GRANT: The rut happens the same time year after year at the same location. It just happens to be where you are and what you observe that may bias your opinion of when the rut occurred.

>>GRANT: But I promise you, myself and many other researchers have examined thousands of fetuses from does that were harvested during the late season, measured them, and backdated to when that doe was bred. And at the same location, that peak of the rut will happen within a day or two of the same time year after year after year.

>>GRANT: It’s not a true bell-shaped curve. There will be a little peak over here somewhere. Some people call that the second rut or maybe the moon caused it. That’s not the case. I’m not trying to be offensive, but that’s not the case.

>>GRANT: As female fawns reach about 60 or 70 pounds, depending on where they are, they’re going to become receptive, or reach puberty for the first time. And there’s going to be a flurry of activity. Because now, you know, there’s another group of does out there – fawns – that are receptive. And the bucks are going to start scurrying again.

>>GRANT: During the next week or two throughout much of the whitetails’ range, we’re starting to go up that really steep portion of the left side of the bell-shaped curve. And it’s going to be important to change your strategies according to the deer biology where you hunt. And if you do that – if you’re paying attention to the sign and the behavior and even the observations of others, you can adjust your strategies and fill more tags.

>>GRANT: Not near as exciting as hunting the rut, I wanted to share with you that GrowingDeer is celebrating our 12th year of making at least one new episode every week.

>>GRANT: Now, often, we produce two episodes a week. But at least one new episode a week and we’ve never missed a week or shown a repeat in 12 years.

>>GRANT: You know, and that’s only possible with folks like you watching us and our great partners that support us and allow us to take the time to produce content and share the lessons with you all, our loyal watchers.

>>GRANT: So, thank you for being part of the GrowingDeer Team and I can’t wait for the next 12 years.

>>GRANT: If you’re new to GrowingDeer, you can check out our channels and see all of those past episodes. They’re kind of sorted by you know, food plots and habitat management and hunting strategies and trapping and all the subjects we cover.

>>GRANT: You can also find out what we’re doing almost daily on our social media channels.

>>GRANT: The rut is a great time to get outside and enjoy Creation. You know, even more important than taking time to hunt the rut is taking time every day to be quiet and seek the Creator’s will for your life.

>>GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.