Jim, the answer may differ based on the different areas. In some northern areas, deer and elk tend to rut earlier by a few weeks than they do in southern regions. Here in Colorado, the rut will usually get hot and heavy around the 2nd or 3rd week of September.
Hiker is dead on for peak rut in Colorado. It varies by latitude, like whitetail. I'm not for sure, but I believe Montana and Canada are a few weeks earlier (at most) than Colorado and New Mexico or Arizona can be a few weeks later.
Any forum members want to comment on their region?
The goal of all hunters is a quick, humane kill where the animal drops in it's tracks and is dead within seconds. But in a pursuit that has as many variables as hunting, sometimes things don't quite go according to plan. However, game can be tracked and recovered with the right skills and with patience.
First of all, you need to wait the right amount of time after the shot before tracking a wounded animal. I've heard estimates of waiting 30 minutes for a hit in the vitals and 5-8 hours for a...