After lazy weeks of fattening up on grain and acorns in summer and early fall, whitetail bucks get antsy and start to move around more in mid-October. Historical “rut curves” assembled by biologists over decades show that bucks really begin to rev up their scraping right now, around October 20. Better yet, the data show that 5 to 7 percent of a herd’s does are bred by bucks around October 21, give or take a few days. That’s not a whole lot, but good things happen when bucks start to rip more scrapes and prowl for the first estrus does. The more they are on their feet, the better your chances of seeing and shooting one.
Bonus: There’s little hunting pressure in the woods as compared to what you’ll find later in the peak November rut, so now is a good time to be there.
Best conditions: The thing that kills October hunting is warm to hot weather. But when a cold front blows in and drops the temperature 20 or 30 degrees, perfect. The cooler weather will kick deer into moving more. That will occur in the Eastern U.S. this weekend, where I predict the buck movement and hunting will get better. For example, after a week of 80-plus Indian Summer days here in Virginia, a front will blow through later this afternoon, and the low tomorrow morning will be 44. Although it will heat back up soon, the next couple of days should be good.
Best tree stand: If possible, hang a stand on an oak ridge within 100 yards or so of a corn, soybean or alfalfa field. Set up near a well-used deer trail or creek crossing if you find one. It is a good acorn year in many areas. Many deer will browse on the ridge before moving out to the crops at dusk, if they ever leave the ridge at all. Be ready.
Good Tactics: Try setting 2 scent wicks near your stand, one doused with buck urine and the other with hot doe. (Check your regs, with CWD disease a concern, some states have banned real deer urine, and you’ll have to use a synthetic scent.) When bucks start to prowl, they may circle in to either lure, to fight a rival or love on a gal. Have your grunt call ready and blow it occasionally. A buck might hear it and veer over. Good luck.
Today’s guest blog from fellow Virginia hunter Chris Davis. These are the stories I like the best, hard-working, hard-hunting Americans doing their thing, grateful for the opportunities we have, thankful for the chance to one day shoot a big deer:
Opening day of bow season in Virginia, I went behind my house in the morning because I only had a few hours to hunt. I saw a fawn come by, but not much else. I noticed rubs on big cedar trees that were fresh. I decided to come back in the afternoon when I had more time.
When I returned later that day I saw squirrels, birds and a few hawks flying around. Daylight was starting to fade when I saw movement, a decent 6-pointer. I stood up slowly and grabbed my bow but noticed that behind him was a nice 8-pointer. As they fed on acorns, I noticed another buck coming in, a huge 7-pointer.
They fed on acorns for about 5 minutes, and had no idea I was standing there, bow in hand, ready to draw back. Finally, the time had come. I took a deep breath, and told myself to take my time and don’t mess this up. I put my pin on the 7-pointer, slowly pulled the trigger back and let my arrow fly.
I knew the shot was good when he did a mule kick and took off only to hear him crash about 60 yards away. I put my bow up and that’s when the buck fever kicked in–my legs turned to Jello! I started shaking…it took me about 20 minutes to get myself together enough to climb down.
Once down from the stand, I walked over and immediately saw blood. I followed the blood trail for about 60 yards…it was at that point I saw him and realized just how big this deer was. I thanked The Lord for the opportunity to take this big buck, and I stood there awhile in amazement. I had taken my biggest buck to date on opening day of bow season in my own backyard.—Chris Davis
Great buck and story Chris, way to go man! One of the biggest 7-pointers I’ve seen in a while.
Over the past 8 years, President Obama has been the firearms industry’s best salesman, with gun and ammo sales breaking record after record for months. But you ain’t seen nothing yet if Hillary wins on November 8.
From the Washington Post:
Now the Las Vegas gun store Westside Armory is predicting a Hillary Clinton victory in November, and it has a message for customers: Buy now, because things are going to get expensive.
In an advertisement over the weekend in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Westside Armory said it was holding a “Pre-Hillary Sale” on tactical rifles, warning of a price surge if the Democratic nominee wins the presidential election next month. “Don’t wait!” the advertisement reads.
There is little question that Westside is spot on, and I am certain hunters and shooters all over the nation will be hitting the gun shops and buying during the next 3 weeks. If you’re in the market for a new firearm (and even if you’re not) you should consider purchasing now. A prominent Clinton surrogate was caught on tape saying there could be “an executive action” on firearms to circumvent Congress and restrict our gun rights if Hillary is elected, even thought we do have a little thing called the Second Amendment.
(Photo: John Ralston @Ralstonreports)