Buck Sign Increasing, But Hunting is Tough

That fierce cold front that dumped snow on the Dakotas swept through the Mid-South last weekend. Even though I was … Continued

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That fierce cold front that dumped snow on the Dakotas swept through the Mid-South last weekend. Even though I was bundled up in long underwear (normally kept in storage until late October around here), I’ve found myself shivering on stand the past few evenings. We’ve had high pressure, blue sky, northwest winds, and crisp air. Big rubs are popping up everywhere in my favorite hunting spots, and bucks are working scrapes over on a consistent basis.

Trouble is, I haven’t seen a deer in several days of hard hunting. Frustrated after another round of bird and squirrel watching Sunday afternoon, I called my buddy Danny Hinton, the owner of the local archery shop here in Murray, Kentucky. He was singing the same sad song.

“I found one of the most obvious rub lines I’ve ever seen, and the area was full of fresh scrapes, too,” he said. “I could hear acorns falling in the woods, and I wasn’t far from a standing corn field. The weather was pretty, and I just knew I’d kill a deer. But I didn’t see squat.”

The slow hunting has turned me into a grumpy, miserable fellow. I’m meticulously choosing my spots for the wind, but then second-guessing myself the entire time I’m on stand. Last night, tired of hearing me complain, my wife Michelle put forth a “no talk of deer hunting for 48 hours” mandate.

Of course, I experience a streak of this every October, and I’m not alone. There is scientific data out there saying that deer activity rises steadily during the month of October. I’m not one to argue with scientific data, but I will stand firm in saying the activity is not the type that makes for easy hunting. Admittedly, knowing this is always a tough time of year, I’ve been avoiding my best spots with the plan of saving them for the rut.

With the exception of one photo, taken just after daybreak late last week, all my trail camera shots within the past week have been at night, like the one above, and most of them have been on the fringes of bedding areas. With acorns on the ground and still-abundant browse in the woods, there isn’t reason for deer to move far right now. They haven’t gone anywhere, and the hunting is going to improve.

We may just have to enjoy a few weeks of pretty fall weather–if nothing else–in the meantime.