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2016 Whitetail Rut Dates

Predicting the 2016 Whitetail Rut Dates

Thank you for reading The Whitetail Shooters Big Buck Blog. I hope this article about the 2016 whitetail rut dates helps you plan your hunt and take the biggest whitetail of your life! The intention of this article is to answer the following questions; when is the whitetail rut, when will be the 2016 peak breeding dates, and what should be the best days to hunt in 2016?

I realize that many hunters and biologists say that moon phases and position have no effect on whitetail rut dates. However, if this were true then why are so many people, hunters and fisherman in particular, putting so much emphasis on fish and game solunar tables? These tables are listed in many sporting publications and newspapers, they are on our GPS, our watches, and there are even solunar table phone apps. This all attests to their popularity.

Also, there are many biologists who argue that the moon does have an effect on the peak Whitetail breeding dates, and in particular, the 2016 whitetail rut date predictions. For example, the popular “Whitetail Calendar and Rut Predictions”, produced by Deer & Deer Hunting, is based on information gathered by wildlife biologist Wayne Laroche and partner Charles Alsheimer. In part, they had this to say about their whitetail rut predictions;

“Sunlight and moonlight provide environmental cues that set, trigger and synchronize breeding. The second full moon after the autumn equinox is believed to trigger the peak in rutting activity.”

According to their predictions the entire rut and peak breeding are determined by the moon.

Highly respected Biologist Dr. James Kroll is a firm believer in rut timing being consistent with moon phase, and in particular, peak breeding dates being triggered by the second full moon after the autumn equinox. This corresponds with Biologist Laroche’s theory. Dr. Kroll had this to say;

“There is a correlation between the full moon and the peak whitetail rut. In a healthy deer herd the peak of the rut tends to occur three to five days after the full moon.”

One more thing; hunting is very calculated when your biggest decision is to choose what food plot to hunt over. Moon phases and breeding dates don’t carry near the significance when it becomes a choice of WHERE to hunt rather than WHEN to hunt. There are many top hunters of old, the old schoolers that we revere today, guys like David Morris, Dick Idol, Myles Keller, Roger Rothhaare, Gene & Barry Wensel, Hal Blood, Larry Benoit. These guys knew and understood the importance of moon phases and timing, and they planed their trips and hunts accordingly. David Morris and Dick Idol in particular have complete trophy walls that were filled on the premise of “three days after the full moon” theory. This was happening long before food plots ever became popular and were considered a hunting strategy. When you spend several thousand dollars a years on hunting trips, you want to make sure you’re booking the best dates. These guys knew what they were doing and knew how to interpret the moon phases and scheduled accordingly based on that information.

Let’s take a look at the moon phases and dates so we can predict the timing of the 2016 Whitetail Rut Dates. The following graph shows moon phase dates for the months of September through December 2016.

2016 Whitetail Rut Dates
Basing the 2016 Whitetail Rut Dates according to the monthly moon phases.

2016 whitetail rut dates

2016 whitetail rut dates
Solunar Tables predict a slow first week in November which will mean the 2016 whitetail rut dates will occur later.

By the second week of November things will change dramatically. As you can see by the Solunar Tables, both the major and minor activity times fall within daylight hours. This should be a spectacular week to hunt as the chase phase will really be kicking into high gear. Rattling, calling, and decoys should be hot tickets during this week of the 2016 whitetail rut dates.

2016 whitetail rut dates
The November 6-12 Solunar Tables show a ramping up of daylight activity for these 2016 whitetail rut dates.

As you can see within the above moon phase graph, November 14th is the full moon. With this in mind, let’s do a Dr. Kroll forward count of three days, which places us on the 17th. This should be the central date of the 2016 whitetail breeding dates. This means the week of November 14-20 should be the 2016 peak breeding dates in the northern whitetail range. These dates fit perfectly with the northern deer herd where breeding and conception dates are imperative to spring survival of the fawns being born. Any earlier and there is an increased risk of the fawn being born in adverse weather, and any later could see an under developed fawn entering the following winter. Breeding and conception dates are very important for northern Whitetails, and these dates fall within the traditional perfect window of opportunity. The State of Missouri recently published a study where biologist’s back-dated fetuses from late season harvested doe’s. The three year study revealed that the peak breeding date was November 15 with a simple variation of plus or minus one day! This study not only shows the consistency of Whitetail breeding dates, but also reiterates the importance of the traditional 2016 whitetail rut dates.

2016 whitetail rut dates
November 13-19 should be prime time for all day deer activity making this week the best of the 2016 whitetail rut dates.

By the 20th of November the majority of the does will have been bred but there will still be plenty of chasing and cruising by bucks. Hunters have long and consistently reported seeing the biggest buck of their lives during this week, often seen standing in the open with its tongue hanging out from running hard in search of that last remaining doe in estrous. This should be a very good week to hunt hard as the solunar Tables indicate both major and minor activity levels during daylight hours.

2016 whitetail rut dates
The Solunar Tables for November 20-26 show a traditional morning/evening movement cycle is expected for these 2016 whitetail rut dates.

By the last week of November things have slowed down substantially. Almost all the doe’s have been bred by now and the bucks are looking at post rut recovery. The Solunar Tables indicate this as well. Bucks in recovery will search out quality food and want to feed a couple times a day. Morning, mid-day, and evenings, can be equally good but usually this movement will offer a very short window of opportunity for the hunter. Hunters should look for high quality food sources and plan to hunt all day in order to take advantage of any daylight movement by rut worn bucks.

2016 whitetail rut dates
The Solunar Tables for November 27-30 show good mid-day movement can be expected for these 2016 whitetail rut dates.

Traditionally, the first two weeks of November offer the best hunting of the year, but that should be different this year. The first week in particular looks to be rather slow, but by the second week things will really start picking up. By the end of the second week the 2016 Whitetail rut will be in full swing. In my opinion, this could be one of the best and most visible rutting seasons we’ve seen in several years.

The Best of the 2016 Whitetail Rut Dates

My predictions for the 2016 Whitetail rut dates and the best days to hunt in 2016 are as follows.

  • Chasing will begin in earnest on November 8th.
  • The peak breeding date will occur on November 17th.
  • The best times to hunt during the 2016 season will be November 10-24
  • Get ready for a traditional Whitetail rut and a great November!

I certainly don’t want to leave out my southern friends and hunters. However, the southern deer herd doesn’t have to be dependent on a specific date or week in order to ensure fawn survival. Things such as blizzards, deep snow, and buried food sources, don’t regularly occur in the south as they do in the northern Whitetail range. Life or death isn’t nearly as weather dependent as it is in the north. Thus the southern Whitetail rut dates are more sporadic and regionally dated. I highly suggest you contact your Department of Natural Resources and speak with a biologist about the peak breeding dates for your area in the south.

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I hope you enjoyed this article about the 2016 whitetail rut dates. Thank you for reading The Whitetail Shooters Big Buck Blog!