Battling the October Lull
By Babe Winkelman
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[October 27, 2014]
a hunter, you put hours, days, weeks, and even months into preparing
for opening day of archery season. Well now that cooler weather is
arriving and leaves are changing colors, so are a whitetails
pattern. Many refer to this time period as the October lull. Those
whitetails you had patterned out at the end of summer, have moved to
different areas, leaving you scratching your head.
A few factors that change a whitetails pattern when October rolls
around are; food, cover, and hunting pressure itself. The first
factor is food. Deer are no longer feeding at the same food source
evening after evening, which means whitetails have changed what is
on the menu for a tasty meal. Agricultural crops like soy beans and
corn are beginning to be harvested, which only leaves deer to feed
on the remnants that are left behind. But a major factor when it
comes to food is that acorns are falling from the trees, allowing
deer to feed in the safety of cover.
With that said, the second factor is cover. As leaves fall and
the woods become bare, deer will seek out new bedding areas that
provided more security in regards to cover. The last factor is
hunting pressure. Many of you have been in and out of the woods in
hopes of tagging a early season buck, which deer can start to sense.
Also, other hunting seasons are taking place during this time, which
can add unwanted pressure in the woods, alerting deer. These
changing factors combined to create the theory of the October lull.
Do not let this discourage you and keep you on the couch at home.
Trust me, the deer have not disappeared, they have been adjusting
and changing their previous patterns. This means you have to
continue learning and figuring out where these deer have shifted
With that said, here are a few things I like to do when battling
the October lull. I like to scout from a distance trying to locate
the areas the deer have moved to. This means glassing new fields or
clearings from roads or access trails to locate current travel
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It is important to keep out of the woods and scout from a
distance to keep pressure to a minimum. Secondly, I keep in mind
when I am in and out of the woods between sits is to keep my eyes
open searching the forest floor to locate acorns. I try to locate
them on my way in and out of the stand to limit the pressure being
put on the deer. It is important to note that all oak trees are not
created equal as deer prefer acorns form white oaks as they have a
lower tannic acid content, making them less bitter.
Although deer will turn to acorns from red oaks as they remain
edible far longer than acorns from white oaks, especially if they
cannot find white acorns. Finally, I think outside the box. By this
I mean, grunting from time to time along with some soft rattling as
these behaviors are not that uncommon in the month of October. Also,
I like to use estrous scent during some sits in hopes of attracting
a buck looking for a doe early in the season.
To be successful during the month of October you will definitely be
facing adversity. Think outside the box and be aware that with so
many changes happening at once you have to be ready to change your
hunting rituals, allowing you to try new things. Keep at it and
sooner than later an opportunity will present itself, leaving you
with a true reward.
[By BABE WINKELMAN]
Babe Winkelman hosts "Good Fishing" and
"Outdoor Secrets," the most-watched fishing and hunting programs on
television. Tune in on NBC Sports Network, Destination America,
Velocity, Time Warner Sports Texas & New York, and many local
broadcast channels. Visit
Winkelman.com for airtimes and more information. Follow
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