The change we’ve all been waiting for is coming. The Rut. It’s a few weeks away, but this weekend marks where I normally begin to see pre-rut buck activity. Bucks begin cruising, sparing, making scrapes and rubs. I usually see (while on stand) or capture (via trail camera) the first shooter during daylight hours during the upcoming week. It’s time to start chasing the big boys.

The change in deer behavior also means a change in gear and tactics. In this article, I’m going to outline a few of my must-have items for Pre-Rut hunting. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or first time hunter, these 4 items need to be in your gear bag this week. 

*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of the links I may receive compensation, however all opinions are my own.*

My favorite doe bleat – Primos “The Can”

Primos “The Original CAN” Deer Call with Grip Rings

“The Can.” Not only my favorite doe bleat but my favorite deer call of all time. Consistently year-to-year I’ve called in bucks, does and fawns using this call. I love it. It truly sounds just like a doe bleat and takes zero skill to master. Put your finger over the hole in the bottom of the call and turn it upside down. Boom, perfect doe bleat.

Another plus to The Can is it does not scare younger deer away. I’ve seen does and younger bucks shy away from a grunt call, but I’ve never seen a deer of any age scared of The Can. For only $7, this should be your #1 call for every hunt moving forward.

My favorite grunt call – Hunter Specialties The True Talker

Hunters Specialties True Talker Deer Call

Man, I wish I could get all the money back for the number of grunts calls I’ve tried (I could probably buy a new gun). I’ve tried cheap calls, expensive calls, the latest and greatest calls. Of everything I’ve tried, nothing sounds better or is easier to use than the True Talker by Hunters Specialties. For a buck grunt, just blow in it and get a perfect grunt. No messing around.

You can also press on the soft rubber shell to change tones to that of a young buck or doe bleat. The young buck and the doe bleat are okay (The Can makes a better doe bleat) but the normal buck grunt is money. No fuss, no weird hand positions, no squeaks or bad sounds. Just a perfect buck grunt, every time. Don’t waste money or jeopardize a hunt to a bad grunt call, spend $10 on the True Talker and you’ll never need another grunt call.

My favorite tactic – Mock Scrapes


Wildlife Research 385 Magnum Dripper Active-Scrape Combo, 4 Fluid Ounces

My favorite tactic during the pre-rut phase is making mock scrapes, simply because they work. Big bucks, small bucks, even does and fawns all gravitate towards scrapes this time of year. Having a scrape dripper like this one from Wildlife Research is the easiest way to keep a mock scrape “active.” Fill this bad boy up with fluid and it will drip active scrape scent for two weeks or so during daylight hours.

There are several different products on the market that do the same thing the Wildlife Research Dripper (and I’ve used a few of them) but this dripper seems to best control the release of fluid over a longer period of time (I’ve had a few other brands release everything in only a day or two). If you aren’t making mock scrapes, you should start. I think you’ll enjoy the results.

My Favorite Scent – ConQuest Scents Evercalm


Conquest Scents EverCalm Deer Herd Scent Stick

This is the first year I’ve tried EverCalm and so far I absolutely love it. It truly smells just like a deer. Strong, heavy, musty deer. I must admit, I haven’t used it much. However, the FIRST time I used it, hunting for a doe, with a marginal wind…I shot my biggest doe to date. Could be coincidence. Could be that this stuff works.

I think my favorite part about EverCalm is (from my perspective) it’s an attractant/cover scent combo. The deodorant-stick style application is also great: No mess, no waste and easy to store. This stuff is a little expensive ($20 in stores, $16 using the Amazon link above) but I think it’s worth the price. I mean, it can’t hurt smelling  EXACTLY like a deer, right?


The next few weeks are what every hunter dreams about. It’s what we anticipate all season and use all our vacation days on. All our hard work, preparation, and pre-season practice are ultimately defined by the coming weeks. THE RUT. It’s almost here, and “prime time” has officially begun. I hope the products above help YOU gain an edge during the peak of the 2017 season.  Go get ’em!