My friend looked at me quizzically when we got talking about the images that our trail cameras were picking up. In fact, he wasn’t the only one.

You see, my friends were sitting around having a few brews bragging about what nice bucks they’ve been seeing on their trail cameras. First and foremost, these are the kind of guys that keep surveillance on several areas at once. They like to use several cameras, keeping tabs on a few different pieces of property so that they can slowly start narrowing down where they’re going to be hunting when the time comes.

“I’ve been getting pictures of this HUGE eight point,” says one of my friends.

“That’s great,” says another, before puffing out his chest like a proud little bird. “I’ve had three six pointers and a great-looking seven.”

You can probably guess why they all looked at me funny when I simply took a sip of my beer and smiled.

“I’ve been getting consistent photos of eight different does,” I say.

“So what?” asks the first friend. He’s apparently not impressed by sheer numbers.

I just sigh and shake my head.

“Well, come rut, your bucks are going to be chasing my does,” I say. “It’s kind of hard to shoot a buck if he’s over in my neck of the woods, isn’t it?”

And while my friend just shook his head and ordered another beer, the truth of the matter is that I wasn’t kidding even a little bit.

Research has shown that some does do indeed travel long distances during the rut, but that’s the small minority of them. In fact, most does tend to stick to a relatively small geographic area during their entire life span. They’re homebodies, you could say, and that has always meant one thing for me: Bucks.

I have never been the guy who gets sold on seeing bucks in one area means that is where I should be hunting. Instead, I’ve found that my most successful years have been when I’ve hunted areas that have more does. When the rut starts calling out those male instincts in bucks, they’re not interested in typical territorial boundaries. Instead, they’re after one thing and one thing only: A doe in heat.

Frankly, I don’t think you can go wrong hunting an area stocked with does. No amount of bait, salt licks, antler rattling or deer calls have ever been as much of a draw for bucks as a few does and natural instincts.

So when you see that doe on your trail camera, don’t get disappointed. A doe during pre-rut is like having two bucks in the hand come mating season.

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