Deer are well-known for following their guts, and this is never more evident than when the combines come out in farm country. Short of a killer crop of white oak acorns, no food gets deer moving like a freshly-picked cornfield, which puts scattered grain on the ground and blows the scent of freshly cut stalks into the timber. I killed one of my nicer bucks last fall during this exact window of time, and I will never forget the smell when I stepped from my truck to hunt that evening; it was like I’d stepped into a distillery.
Indiana outfitter Ben Reynolds (BBT Outfitters, 812-653-1290) farms 2,000 acres when he isn’t putting clients on to big bucks, so he’s well aware of the power of corn. “Our temps have cooled down and the deer have been moving pretty well,” Reynolds says. “Scrapes and rubs have been showing up everywhere, but it’s been the cornfields that have really dictated deer movement. Bucks started showing up right after we harvested them.” While guiding hunters Chris Ward and Jason Bowers, Reynolds started getting pics of a nice 8-pointer that was making regular appearances on trail cams near the corn. He set Bowers up on that buck on the client’s first hunt, and he was lucky enough to get him. The 5-1/2-year-old tank weighed over 250 pounds. Chris saw several 140-class bucks, but nothing came close enough for a shot.
“Overall, bucks are starting to get really aggressive with each other. We have a deer target in the back yard of our hunting lodge, and one night last week it got attacked and destroyed by a buck. I look for this aggressive behavior to continue for the next week or two, and then we’ll be close to that first doe popping, and then, well, hang on.”