Category Archives: hunting

The October Lull

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Finding mature bucks on public land can be one of the most challenging endeavors anybody could engage in and sometimes it can make you question your overall hunting abilities.  We plan all off season and set stands early with high hopes that when October comes around, we’ll be seeing giant antlered deer ambling past us almost constantly as we sit on stand.  The reality hits about a couple weeks into the season when after sitting on stand for hours, you have yet to see a deer.

Although it would be easy to question your off season scouting, it’s not time to panic just yet.  The October “lull”, as some call it, is the time of year that bucks start to change their patterns and switch food sources.  They go from summer patterns, where they are feeding on beans and other agricultural food sources, to really hitting the acorns and other tree nuts, hard.  This accompanied by the bucks starting to leave their bachelor groups and becoming more of a solitary animal, makes hunters scratch their heads and wonder where the deer have gone.

The truth is the deer haven’t gone anywhere (almost literally).  With the abundance of food close to their bedding area, deer will only have to take a few steps to eat and lay back down.  Because the woods are still green and lush, deer feel comfortable and relaxed and don’t feel the need to venture anywhere and risk running into predators.

This is what makes hunting hard in October, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.  We just need to move in a little closer to the bedding area.  This in itself creates a list of obstacles, which means we will have to pay close attention to small details in order to not spook the deer.  The first of these is to make sure you only hunt an area with the wind in your favor.  Don’t go sneaking up to a known bedding area with the wind blowing your scent into their beds, make sure the wind is in your face and use as much of your prefered scent control product as you can afford.

Another tip for moving in closer is to wait on a rainy day to go.  The rain will wash away your scent and your will make far less noise.  This weekend I had the opportunity to hunt both Saturday and Sunday.  After not seeing anything on Saturday, the forecast for Sunday was rain.   With the rain moving in I figured it would be a perfect time to move my stand.  What I thought would be a light rain, turned into an all out gully-washer.   I didn’t bring any rain gear and became soaked to my underwear.  But that being said, I had the opportunity to move in on an area and set my ground blind up with very little encroachment of the deer.  I will be sitting in that setup this Saturday afternoon and Sunday has a good chance of being the first morning sit of the year.  Stay tuned……..

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A Disappointing Start

As always, my expectations were high going into this first weekend of the 2017 deer season, but the Tennessee heat had other plans.  With a high temperature of 92 on Saturday and 98% humidity, scent control became pretty much impossible.  As a matter of fact, by the time I got my blind set up and I got ready to hunt, I had to strip down to my underwear. (no joke.. lol)  I tried to spray myself, along with my clothes with scent killer, but I can only ask that stuff to do so much.  With this scent control issue in mind, I set up on a hardwood flat on top of a hill, with the small amount of wind there was, in my face.  The acorns were dropping so heavy that it sounded like hail stones raining down.  There was sign that the deer have been using this area heavy for food, but I wasn’t sure how much daylight activity was taking place.  Because of this area being public land, I use my trail cameras very sparingly in season for fear of them getting stolen.   cedarshybridmap

Plan for Week 1

For my first sit of the year, I decided to pass up on hunting the morning.  I have been reading a lot of information about the disadvantages of hunting the mornings in the early season, so I decided to get to the woods by 1 pm and pack my pop up blind into the area I wanted to hunt and get set up.  I put my blind at the location marked in the center of the map above.  It is about 40 yards from an open pasture that has cows and horses grazing and the deer tend to stay out of the open field, so I keep that field to my back and watch the oak/ hickory flat with an eye on the pinch point to the east that is about 150 yards across and gets really thick towards the eastern most point of the public land, where Cedar Branch Creek cuts through.  This is where I believe the deer are bedding.  When the hunters come in from the road (the solid red line that looks like a “J”), it pushes the deer back to the thick stuff on that point.  From there they can go either direction into an open field and run as fast as they can away from any danger.   So with the North- East wind this weekend, I tried to catch them coming out to feed before dark, but the heat kept them in their beds until the sun went down and I didn’t see a single deer.  Next weekend, the forecast is for a cold from to come through on Saturday and if the winds stay the same direction, I might be able to catch them before dark.

 

Keep an eye out for my weekly blog posts during this year’s deer season to follow along on my public land quest for a mature buck.