For most hunters the October lull (mid-October) is a dreaded time of year. But for me, this time that most have blackballed has become my most successful time of year. Follow these proven tactics, and you may just become an “October lull” whitetail killer.
- Pattern People
Get to know the habits of your neighbors. Mature bucks learn to pattern people in the area they live. If the neighbor likes to walk his dog through the woods on Saturday afternoon, you might want to be in your stand at that time. He may push deer right to you. If the farmer plans to harvest crops or mow hay on a certain day, this activity might prompt you to take a rest day and regroup for a following day all-day sit. Deer often get a little confused immediately after their favorite crop field gets butchered, and this can be a great time to catch a big buck on his feet.
- Use The Competition
Try to figure out when other hunters in the area will be going to and from their stands. I always get to my stand at least an hour before daylight, knowing most of the hunters in my area will get to their destinations 30 minutes before dawn starts to peek – and some will get there just when those few rays of magic shooting light are already dancing. This influx of pressure moves bucks, and I’ve gotten more than one crack at an early-morning bruiser that was slipping away from tardy-to-their-stand hunters.
If I don’t score early, I stay in the woods. As hunters bail from their stands and ground perches, I usually see deer pushing in my direction.
- Moon And Weather
Pay special attention to the phase of the moon and the current and predicted October weather. For the most part, there is normally more daytime activity during the dark of the moon. But on a full moon, especially during the month of October, most hunters stay home and I have the woods to myself. I’ve found that midday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on a full moon, can be the best time of day to be in the woods.
As for weather, high-pressure systems are great, but every hunter knows they are. Don’t be afraid to pull an all-day sit when south winds blow and the air is warm. You’ll have the woods to yourself.
- Give Em’ A Call
Another tactic that gets over-looked during early October is calling. I usually won’t blind call during early to mid-October, but if I see a buck that is moving in a direction I don’t want him to, I make some music. I start by grunting softly and adjust accordingly based on his reaction.
I have rattled in a few bucks in early to mid-October, but most come out of curiosity rather than aggression. Keep this in mind if you decide to clack the horns.
- Move Off The Big Plots
During this period, move off sizeable food plots and back into thicker cover close to known bedding areas. Take special note of watering holes and mast trees in close proximity to prime bedding cover when looking for a productive thick cover location.
When hanging your thick cover or secluded food plot stand, be sure to get 15 to 20 feet off the ground and leave plenty of cover that will hide you. It’s never fun when the one opportunity you’ve worked so hard for arises and you get busted reaching for your bow.
Also, hang multiple stands to hunt different winds. If the wind isn’t right for a stand, don’t hunt it. Period!
- All Day Equals Less Scent
Every time we walk to our stand or blind we leave scent. That’s just the way it is. If you play the wind, get into your stand and sit all day, you’re spreading that much less scent walking to and from.