As a lower Alabama native, in the heart of this deep south territory, Slade Reeves of "PRIMOS Truth About Hunting" says growing up he often wanted the hunting season to last longer than it did so he could take advantage of the increased daylight movement. Since those days, the Alabama Department of Conservation has extended the hunting season into February a move that has allowed hunters that extra time to get in on the rut activity. The later date can also be especially helpful in warmer years where the rut is even a little later than normal. This late rutting activity is a great way for hunters to extend and maximize their hunting season. There is a tremendous opportunity to be had in places like southern Alabama and Mississippi, Slade says. For those that can't get enough of whitetails, they can hit all of their favorite hot spots across the country and then head south to pick up that late rut just when seasons are starting to close elsewhere.
Although whitetail meccas like Iowa, Kansas and Missouri are undoubtedly great states to pursue whitetails, Slade says Nebraska is one of his favorite places to hunt whitetails. There is just something about the Niobrara River valley in Nebraska. This area has phenomenal turkey and deer hunting and he also notes it's one of the most scenic places he's ever been. Hunting in the big draws coming off of the Niobrara River valley and the alfalfa fields there can produce some incredible deer. Not to mention it's a great spot to call whitetails. Slade says he doesn't ever go out deer hunting without two specific calls in his pack - the Primos Can and Buck Roar. Regardless of your location, he says these two calls elicit reactions from deer across the country from the tip of Florida all the way up to Canada. Man hunters are skeptical about the effectiveness of calling, some thinking that it doesn't work and others worried about scaring deer. However, Slade says he has seen the effectiveness of calling time and again. It's important to make the calls sound as realistic as possible, a lot of which comes down to the call you are using. Grunts, bleats, rattling and more - these are natural vocalizations and sounds that deer hear all the time so you don't need to worry too much about spooking them with the calls you are making. Their curious and inquisitive nature makes them very apt to check out these sounds you are making. Calling is a great tool to use during the rut, Slade says, but it's also effective in other parts of the season so make sure that it's a tool in your arsenal year round pre-rut, rut and post rut.
Calling also requires a well thought out setup. Slade notes that Will Primos says it's not where they are at, it's where they are going to be. So, hunters need to have enough with enough forward thought to place their stands in a place advantageous for calling which is ultimately a place where the deer will have to come look for you. For instance, if you are in a tree stand, you want good cover beneath you. If you are in a ground blind you want to have a thicket behind you. If everything is wide open where you are hunting, you call and the deer can't see anything, they'll move on. However, when there is a visual barrier of sorts, it creates a situation where the deer have to come to you. As previously mentioned, deer are naturally inquisitive and this kind of setup plays well to their inquisitive behavior.
Above all other hunting tactics, playing the wind is rule number one. Slade says wind direction is crucial and waiting until you have the right wind is important. Don't go to your stand or blind on a day with questionable wind, he says, wait until it's 100% in your favor. Once there, take advantage of scent elimination products. Slade says he and the Primos team spray down their boots, bodies, backpacks, and other equipment with a scent eliminator product before heading to the blind. They also use Ozonics devices to help aid in further killing their scent while in the field. These scent control measures, along with the golden rule of playing the wind to begin with, help hunters cheat the whitetail's nose. Slade also notes the importance of a good route for stand entry and exit, a strategy that is just as important as the actual stand placement.
Listen in as Slade Reeves joins The Revolution this week to talk about hunting the late rut in the deep south, effective calling tactics, playing the wind, scent elimination and so much more. Be sure to catch "PRIMOS Truth About Hunting" on Outdoor Channel, Sundays at 10:30 p.m. ET. You can also watch it anytime with MyOutdoorTV!