The October lull can be a frustrating time of year. Right now, deer are vanishing before our eyes including on our trail cameras. This period of time from about mid-October leading up to the onset of the rut is characterized by decreased deer activity. Why is this?
Most importantly is the changing of food sources. Fields of soybeans and corn are being harvested. Now only remnants remain of what once was a bountiful menu. Browning summer food plots are less of a draw to a deer’s belly. Changing food sources means changing deer hunting strategies.
Another factor to consider when thinking of the changing deer patterns is the increased hunting pressure. Archery season has been going strong in many states for quite some time. Not to mention other seasons like small game and muzzleloader are opening. Expanded hunting opportunities matched with more and more hunting pressure swells the amount of disturbance in the woods. Deer adjust to this increased and sustained pressure accordingly. Pressured deer simply move.
Tips for Hunting the October Lull
Understanding why deer activity is changing is the key to hunting the October lull. You must change up your whitetail strategies to beat the October lull. Mature bucks can still be had this time of year with the right hunting strategies.
- Know Your Competitors and Neighbors. Mature bucks are changing patterns in part based on increased hunting pressure. Understand where the pressure is and hunt somewhere else. Also know your neighbors, like adjacent farmers, and plan hunts around field harvesting. This activity can push an unsuspecting buck your direction.
- Sit All Day. No doubt about the fact it can be tough to sit all day. But if you have a hit list buck patterned well enough from your trail cameras it can be worthwhile. There are multiple benefits to this tactic. You reduce your scent by minimizing entry not to mention exit disturbance along with reduced mid-day hunting pressure.
- Hunt Cold Fronts. Cold fronts dictate deer movements in mid-October. Approaching cold fronts offer a more predictable time when deer activity is on the rise. Match cold fronts with other mid-October deer hunting tips for increasing your odds at a mature buck.
- Minimize Risks. If you are hunting the October lull, minimize the risk to prime hunting times of the season. For instance, trying to find an absent buck during this time can blow an opportunity during the pre-rut or the rut. Invading his territory may cause that bruiser buck to leave the area altogether.
- Acorns. As mentioned, deer are transitioning from late-summer food sources to fall food. A fall staple in a deer’s diet is the acorn. This change has once full agricultural fields vacant of deer. A way to beat the this lull is to find the acorns.
Where to Put My Tree Stands?
Acorns are king! Tree stand locations should include at least one that is on a large oak flat or other area with a good acorns. Deer are naturally changing feeding habits to acorns. They need to bulk up for the pending rut that is about to unfold. This means bucks will be found here. Target areas like funnels, saddles and creek bottoms with healthy crops of acorns with a focus on the white oak acorn.
Another key spot is bedding areas. Again this is where your trail camera setups come into play. Early season trail camera locations for deer can provide info on where bucks are bedding and how they are getting to these areas. For this tree stand location, you need to be confident on when, where and how a buck is bedding in order to make the right stand placement and not bump him out of the area.
Trail Cameras Are Crucial
All the mid-October deer hunting tips are for not if you do not have any idea of how deer and bucks in your hunting area are changing their movements. Use your trail cameras just like you would earlier in the year to give you a glimpse of where to hunt the lull. To do this effectively, you need to move trail cameras. Cameras over large food plots or bean fields are useless during mid-October. Move them to the areas outlined above and get the scoop on transitioning deer and make the right decisions for hunting the lull.
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