It’s that time of year! If you have been out & about you can see that most of the units are lacking in water & feed. The Monsoon has been slow but fortunately for you elk hunters we had a few timely rains in May & June. This time of year always brings the great debate on what makes the elk rut.
Most data shows that the elk rut is determined by the shortening of the day, which in turn causes cow elk to come into estrous (short version). So in theory, the first day of fall should be the climax day (September 22nd) but it is just not that simple… Check out the link below!
In my worthless opinion Nutrition & the health of the elk are the number one factor, at least in Arizona. I believe that the Fall Equinox is a major factor but the elk herd has to be healthy! This study shows that if elk are unhealthy they won’t cycle normally.
Some Other Theories…
I don’t buy the Full Moon theories or the theories about the heat. September is generally one of Arizona’s hotter months & genrally the morning lows get cooler as the month goes on but thats because the moisture is usually leaving. I have seen elk screaming during the begining of September, full moon & when it was 90 degrees. Why, because a cow was in HEAT (she was health enough to come into heat)! Most hunters tend to blame the elk rut on these factors and although they can shut a poor elk rut down, the main factors came long before the hunt. Again, I am not saying they don’t hinder a rut hunt but they just aren’t the major factors.
This year I won’t be in the field most of the time but for those of you who are, good luck! If it wasn’t for the good snow in Dec/Jan. & the timely rain in May & June, you guys would probably be experiencing a rut like 2002. A biologist from the AZ Game & Fish Department stated that as much as 80% of the cows were not cycling correctly. Count your blessings.
FYI: No Deer Yet! Two more afternoons to hunt…