Overall Activity Status: This has to be the slowest start to a deer season I can remember. Two reports I’ve heard over and over: Temperatures in the 80s and high winds are keeping bucks moving after dark. Bucks that were on camera a few weeks ago have disappeared. Most speculate that green-up caused by late summer and early fall rains has deer finding plenty to eat in the pasture and therefore not going to corn feeders right now.
My friend, Clint Hukill, arrowed the fine 8-point in the accompanying photo on the afternoon of October 11. He was hunting in the Texas Panhandle. He reported that 20 deer filed into the alfalfa field by his stand after sunset. And with only a few minutes of good light remaining, this 8-point was the only buck to come within range. Clint made the 25-yard shot, but unsure of the hit, he waited until the next morning to take up the trail. He recovered the buck not far away.
Fighting: A few reports of small bucks sparring, but still no reports of serious fights between older bucks.
Rub Making: Just glassing from two different blinds I hunted this weekend, I could count three fresh rubs from one blind and two at the other. All of the rubs were on small mesquite trees.
Scrape Making: Not a single report of any scrapes.
Chasing: None reported.
Daytime Movement: The window of opportunity is still very small to arrow a big buck. The first 30 minutes of the day and the last 30 after sunset are prime time. I sat a ground blind on October 12. Three does came by at 7 p.m., which was 15 minutes before sunset. Four more does came by at 7:40. And at 7:57, exactly 12 minutes after shooting light ended, a mature buck came within 15 yards of the blind. Through 10X binoculars I could see him clearly. He looked at the does, looked at the ground blind, then wandered back the way he came. He was on the trail camera an hour later at the same spot.
Estrous Sign: None reported.
X Factor: Colder weather is expected across the northern half of the region this week. I’ve always seen increased deer movement in daylight just before a major weather change and just after it. If history is any indication, daytime buck movement will increase a lot during the second half of the month. The last ten days of October have always been productive for me in Texas.