I looked at the clock while finishing up work on the computer. 3:30 pm wasn’t the greatest time to think about heading to the tree stand especially since I had a 45 minute drive to get to my public land spot called “The Drainage.” It was something that needed to be done in order to check cameras and get a little bit of what I would call scouting for the evening. I hadn’t been there for months but I kept having a few things pop up in the back of my mind……
- Being late is never a good thing if I actually plan on shooting something.
- What the heck is on my cameras that I have left out since August?
- Will it matter if I am late because it is the October Lull anyways..
The October lull is something many consider a terrible time to hunt. Just think about how much talk you have heard about October. It almost seems as if guys don’t want to hunt the “early season” as it is too hot and then there is no reason to hunt the “October Lull” because you won’t see anything.
There are some interesting points to make on these, whether it is from my personal experience or from articles and data on movement. Deer clearly do move in October. Actually, there is definitive data proving that deer movement will increase throughout the month of October which has many variables to it. There is weather such as temperature, wind, rain, etc. Hunting Pressure is another issue that causes October movement to change. Another is that food is different in October. I personally can say that I have harvested deer during the October lull and now that I think of it, I have killed as many deer during the Lull as I have during the rut. So what is the secret? Is there even such a thing?
Here are a few thoughts to consider. Hunters continue to hunt the same stands as they did in the early season or are viewing camera footage from earlier in the year which will not be accurate data to follow later in the season. This would throw every hunter off of their game and cause them to see less deer which now causes this theory of the lull. The other issue is that deer are eating different foods and if they don’t need to come out in the open and they stay close to their bedding areas, the hunter will see less deer.
Personally, I look at 2 things that I believe impact the hunt for the better and prove successful. The moon and the temperature. I think there is something to say about the moon and movement of deer. And if there is a cold front coming through on top of it, Oh My! For years I kept hearing from hunting buddies that having a full moon overnight was terrible because the deer would be feeding all night. And then, I would shoot a deer the next morning. Whoops! And then, having a new moon was rough because there wouldn’t be deer moving during the day. What?!
Well, I have noticed the whole moon overhead and underfoot does have some merit and I have seen that movement has been pretty spot on with deer based on the times that the moon is out. I will give you a couple examples.
- I hunted in October last year on a day where the overhead moon peak time for deer movement was going to be between 11:00 am-1:00 pm or so. I really wanted to be out in the stand all day but had to head back to the house around 10:00 AM. As I was walking to my stand at 12:50 pm, a huge buck was running under my stand and all I could do was watch from 150 yards out. Darn!
- I shot a doe on a day that I saw the underfoot times would start around 4:00 pm. I shot her around 4:15 pm. I debated on getting out of my stand and getting her field dressed early or not. Around 5:00 pm I headed out of my stand to grab her. When I was heading back to my stand around 5:30 pm, a buck was 10 yards from my stand. I sat there in disappointment as I knew I didn’t want to blow him out of there. If I had followed the script, I would have had a big double for the day.
- Yesterday, the Moon time showed that the peak movement would start at 3:48pm. The picture I have at the top of this post shows 2 deer 12 yards from my stand on camera at 4:14 pm.
I was really worried about what would happen yesterday but I sat in the stand and didn’t see a thing. When I got home and checked out my cameras I was not surprised to have seen the deer eating acorns right by my stand about 15 minutes before I arrived there. The good part is I don’t believe I blew them out of there but the bad part is that I didn’t follow my own thoughts on what could occur and I really could have caused damage to the hunting spot. The area is on public land and it is in a drainage where nobody would really ever want to hunt. It is a clear transition area with food in it and it is between bedding areas for the deer. I would consider this an almost perfect setup and I am sure I can harvest a deer out of it with the movement I saw on camera.
There clearly is a theme here that is clearly not just coincidence. I am not saying that deer won’t move during other times of the day but the peak times are proving to be based on clearly defined moon times. This is how most deer hunting apps such as Scoutlook base their peak times and dates for hunting or another product called the Moon Guide that is pretty archaic in design but I think works the best and is spot on.
So is there an October Lull? Well, I hope everyone else thinks so and stays inside. But I will be hunting with the right stand (different than early season) where there is a different food source under the right moon settings so I don’t waste my time and have success. Hope you do too!
Scout, Hunt, Repeat~