By Alex Comstock
The month of October is finally upon us. For a deer hunter, October can mean a number of things. There's the "October Lull" which gets a lot of publicity, and there's the fact that mature bucks don't move a ton. But as the month goes on, and rubs and scrapes start appearing, our psyche can go from low to high with the impending rut nearing.
I find the month of October to be quite an interesting one. There are hunters that claim it can be the best time to put down a mature buck, and others who say hunting is a waste of a time. After doing a little research on those who seem to always get it done, and combining that with my own knowledge, I've come up with three basic reasons you might not send an arrow through a mature buck over the next few weeks.
1. Your Attitude
This is where it all starts. If you go into something not believing in yourself, odds are you're not going to make it happen. This is no different when it comes to hunting. Why I think attitude is so much more important in October is because of the negative connotation that is so often associated with the month. It's easy to have a couple slow sits, and immediately blame the "October Lull" and then have a negative attitude. See what happens though when you have a negative attitude, is you start slipping on the little things. All of a sudden you're not going the long way to the treestand, knowing you may bump a few deer. There's nights when you're down and end up leaving the stand five or ten minutes early. Maybe you're not quite as careful or quiet when getting set up.
All of these little things add up, and could reduce your chances of success. If you've got a good attitude, chances are you'll pay attention to the small details that can more often than not determine the end result. Don't let one or two bad sits bring you down. Magic can still happen during October.
2. You Won't Try Anything New
October is a time to get creative. If you want to put a buck down in the next month, doing the same old same old might not cut it. The most often complaint I hear about October is that bucks just don't move during daylight. This simply just isn't true. I'd agree with the sentiment that bucks may move less during daylight, but at some point in daylight they will get up to feed. Though they may not move nearly as far, which can lead you to believe they're not getting up at all.
Instead of focusing on the usual field edge, crop field, or food plot, think about changing up your tactics during this month. A quick scout may do you good in identifying food sources back in the cover, such as oaks dropping acorns, or being able to locate a scrape close to bedding. Something I'm doing this year more often that I've never really tried this time of the year is being more aggressive with run and gun setups. This can allow you to get closer to bedding and give you the ability to adjust on the fly. This won't guarantee that you put a big buck on the ground, but it could get you a lot closer than if you went to that same stand that hasn't produced during this time of the year in the past.
3. You Won't Hunt The Right Conditions
The right weather conditions can make all of the difference during the whole hunting season, but during October, they can be increasingly important. Between life, and work, and whatever else could be thrown your way, it can be difficult to line up days that you can hunt with optimal weather. What I do is take the fifteen day forecast, and pick out the very best weather days. Whether it be a slight cold front, the right wind direction, you name it, if I know what days I want to hunt ahead of time, I can better plan to get out on those particular days.
If you don't hunt when conditions are perfect during October, odds of making it happen will be much worse. Depending on how many properties you have access to, and what your situation is, not hunting when the conditions are wrong can do you better than actually hunting. If you can go into a non-pressured area during prime weather conditions, October can still be a great time to tag a mature buck.
There's no doubt about it, October can be a challenging month to knock down a mature buck. But don't let the challenge scare you. Have a good attitude, be creative, and when those conditions line up - strike. You never know what could happen.