Overall Activity Status: I’d call the deer activity right now seasonal and fairly predictable. Though movement on beanfields and food plots has dwindled significantly from early this month, you’re still apt to see does and fawns in such areas during the last half hour of shooting light. Acorns are falling steadily now, and though the mast crop does still seem spotty, it’s spotty across the board. I’ve found red oaks, black oaks, and white oaks (the whitetail creme de la creme) all this week. The evenings have been getting cooler, and it seems morning activity is on the rise.
Fighting: A buddy of mine saw two bucks sparring in a bean field late last week. Most Mid-South bucks have shed their velvet, but are still clinging to bachelor groups. Light sparring will only intensify in the coming weeks.
Rub making: I haven’t found any rubs myself, but other area hunters are finding a couple here and there.
Scrape making: Not much to report yet.
Chasing:** None yet.
Daytime movement: Daylight movement still has that early season feel, with the best activity on the edges of the day, although, as mentioned, I have been seeing more deer on their feet in the morning. The activity seems to slow by 8 a.m. I’m not a morning hunter in the early season, but it’ll be time to change that before too much longer.
Estrous signs: None yet.
X Factor: With velvet gone, acorns on the ground, and crops coming out of the fields, we’re entering one of the most difficult portions of the deer season. Some hunters–me included–call it the October lull, although theories and research abound showing that there is no such thing; rather, the slow hunting is simply a product of changing whitetail behavior. Regardless, for most hunters, this time of year is tough. But that doesn’t mean you can’t kill a deer right now. When it comes to bowhunting, I’m a numbers guy–one of my biggest goals every season is to kill several antlerless deer because we eat venison year around.
Though early to Mid-October is a tough time of the year to kill a big buck, it’s a great time to target does. The weather is pleasant, food sources are abundant, the rut is still only a hope, and, throughout most of the Mid-South, seasons are just now opening. I like to hunt my secondary spots this time of year, saving my best places for Halloween and later. With the rut still weeks away, there’s no real pressure right now. Shooting the first fat doe that comes along–or two or three, if you have the tags–makes the wait between now and November much easier.