Written by Alex Gruin
First off, let me apologize for my lack of posting in the off season. It’s been crazy to say the least but I’m back at it for the opening of the fall hunting season. It’s time to get excited and I’m here to share my excitement, experiences and knowledge to entertain and help everyone out that’s a subscriber.
As I write this today, I’m already thinking about some of the thoughts, myths and overall strategies that hunters put into play for their season. Today marks the start of the season here in Virginia and I know many hunters that are already in the stand. Some think it’s a great time to harvest some does, while others use this early season as a time to bond with the kids in the tree stand. Regardless of your end goal, it’s a great day to be in the woods.
Now, let’s talk about what’s going to occur in the next couple weeks. Hunters will start hitting the woods progressively harder over the next 45 day. This is due to the objective of hunting for some meat in the freezer, scout a bit and try to pattern some bucks, or find those big bucks! There will be an issue though…… What happens in 45 days from now when the deer are gone?
The guys and gals pack up their stuff and avoid the woods? They hit the woods and hate their lives because they don’t see a deer? Arguments start over the conversation that the October lull is here and it needs to be avoided. The problem is, in every study I read in regards to the lull, the theory is proven wrong. Deer are now tranquilized and fitted with collars. Every major university that has a solid program in environmental sciences or biology has shown that during the lull, deer actually increase activity instead of decrease. So where the heck are the deer?
Well, they are far away from you! You see, deer will be pressured from the past 45 days of traffic in the woods and go completely nocturnal. Deer will see the consistent movement in the mornings and evenings and begin to come out as you are getting home from a long day in the stand. If you have control of where you hunt and don’t have to worry about pressure, then you won’t see this as much but you still won’t see as many deer. I’ll mention this in the next paragraph as to why. In conclusion though, pressure on public or shared land will cause you frustration at this time of year.
Now, why won’t I see as many deer on private or unpressured property? There is no doubt that you will see deer, especially younger bucks, fawns and some does but the food sources are changing. As these sources change, you are going to hunt the spots you’ve seen deer. These spots are most likely along side edges of fields. Instead, you should be hunting a stand deep in the woods around some acorns or in the woods between food sources and bedding. Maybe you have some persimmons that the deer are tearing up! Plain and simple, you aren’t seeing deer because their patterns have changed but you haven’t.
My final piece to this is the focus on the afternoon hunts. Hunters hit the woods super early and end up blowing deer out from their food sources because they are eating in the dark. Forget about seeing those deer later this morning! Plus, before you know it, you are going to be thinking about getting out of the stand for lunch around 10:30am. Good luck getting that to be successful. Stay home, sleep in and head into the stand at 12pm. Have your lunch, get organized and take your time because your afternoon hunt around the deep woods food sources will treat you well!
In closing, let’s recap.
1. Deer don’t stop moving around in the woods during the lull. Deer are smart animals that want to survive and you are the big bad wolf coming to get them. With increased pressure they will turn nocturnal until they feel the pressure is off.
2. Deer change food sources so what you saw working in September will not work in October. Find the acorns and get deeper in the woods.
3. Focus on the afternoons to not bump deer out of their feeding spots. Get in the stand around 12-1pm and relax! You are doing the right thing.
Have fun and happy hunting the early season
Scout, Hunt, Repeat