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Whitetail Wednesday: Is the October Lull a Myth?

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Raleigh and cameraman Matt waiting on an October whitetail.

Raleigh and cameraman Matt waiting on an October whitetail.

My oldest daughter, Raleigh, recently bowhunted from a stand where I felt certain there would be a shot opportunity. The treestand is located in a known travel corridor where several white oaks were dropping fresh acorns within 40 yards.

Unfortunately, Raleigh got skunked. Many folks would blame the so-called October Lull.

It’s still a few weeks before the whitetail pre-rut in most areas of the country, and this portion of the season is often referred to as the October Lull. I’ve certainly experienced some hunts during this time of year when it seemed there were no deer in the area. But I’ve also experienced some great hunts during mid-October!

It seems many hunters talk about the October Lull, but whether it really exists, or what causes it, seems to be unknown. Possible reasons for this perceived lull are as follows:

  • By mid-October deer have a full coat of long hair to help keep them warm during periods of cold temperature. However, the temperatures can often be very warm during mid-October. Deer with a full winter coat will not likely be very active during daylight hours.
  • There are very few receptive does in most areas during this time.
  • Food is plentiful.

Oak acorns are often at peak abundance during mid-October. Deer simply don’t have to move far to feed when acorns are plentiful. The combination of high temperatures and plentiful food allow deer to move less, or move only during the coolest part of the day/night.

I really enjoy hunting during mid-October when a cold front is passing through my hunting area. Another great time is when there’s not a large acorn crop and deer are traveling to food sources that are in the open, such as food plots and crop fields.

I suspect that the October Lull is actually a result of local conditions and not a wide-spread synchronized activity such as the rut or fawning. I’m more interested in the current weather conditions and available food resources than a date on the calendar to predict daytime deer activity.

Lesson learned? Position deer stands based on preferred available food sources (and wind direction) and then watch weather patterns for the days that are cooler for better hunting opportunities in mid-October.

Enjoy creation!

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