October hunting is often written about in many magazines, blog articles and even some books. I wanted to share my thoughts on October hunting in 2011. This year is a little different than other recent years, why you ask? Well, because of the full moon being at an odd time here on the east coast. Normally, we have a full moon the last week of October which ends up in rut going full tilt the following week through mid-November. Not this year though… this year our full moon was in the middle of October which was too early to really start rut in motion in a lot of places. So, the next full moon will likely be the one that will set off rut. The full moon is November 10, which is why we are just starting to see rubs and scrapes appearing in Central Maryland. I would say that hunting November 7 – 22 will likely be when you will see peak rutting action. Of course this is just my own personal opinion based on what I have seen in the woods. Thus far, I haven’t really seen many rubs, just a few small ones and only one or two small scrapes. This tells me the big boys are still in their mid-October mode and are just starting to become territorial.
The next 7 to 10 days will be a good time to try using your grunt call and even try some rattling to bring one of those big boys in close. I did see two decent size 8 point bucks sparring a little over a week ago on the edge of a farm field while on my way home from work. This tells me that the deer that are on public property are probably a little behind them as they get pressured and pushed to different areas. Plus, to be honest the public land has a lot less big boys than private farms, so there is a lot less fighting. I mostly just see 7 and 8 pointers running smaller bucks off. Last season, I saw an older 6 point that had his own harem of does, on private land this would be unheard of and on public land this is a common occurrence.
So far this season, I have not heard of anyone taking anything larger than an 8 pointer, which I have heard of several of those which is nothing to complain about. I have heard of nothing bigger from the public land sector. I did however hear of a couple stories of seeing larger deer early in the season, but October has made them slide deeper into the woods and most likely become nocturnal. October is the month of disappearing deer for many hunters. They seem to have a way of either completely leaving an area for a new area or becoming totally nocturnal. Hunters know this as the “October lull”.
I personally used to love hunting in October with the changing leaves and upcoming rut made for a great chance to take a good buck. This year, as I said, everything has shifted to a little later, which is why I believe that the next 10 days will be a good time to get in an elevated area within ear shot of a bedding area and try grunting and rattling. The added element of a food source would make that location that much more appealing. One of our readers suggested to me over the weekend that hunting an area with a good food source that is elevated during the rut could be a key to finding a good buck. I have to agree with him, and wanted to thank him for the suggestions and his opinion on hunting over the next few weeks.
As I write this article, I want to remind our readers that I only have the information that is available to me (I.E. information from past seasons, what I see and hear in the woods and finally what I hear from you, my readers).
So, please fill me in on what you are seeing and hearing the woods and a general location so I can keep our other readers up to date on what stage the rut is at locally and hopefully improve everyone’s chances at taking that trophy of a lifetime.
Good luck and remember to get out in the woods November 8th thru the 18th!