By Ryan Miloshewski
Greetings all! This is the first post of a new weekly installment for Mahoney Outdoors E-Magazine, called “Whitetail Weekly.” In it, I will provide weekly updates on sightings, activity, rut status, and predictions on whitetail deer movement in Missouri (mostly central MO, as that is where I do most of my hunting). Hunting season is in full swing for me, and I wanted to share experiences and notable activity I’ve seen in the woods thus far. My hope is to get a group of writers to help contribute, but, for now, you have me.
Since this is the first post I will start from October 4 and go until October 19 with my predictions and notes.
The dreaded lull is upon us, I believe. Bucks are going hard with their bulking stage and moving at night according to my cameras. There is some daylight movement, but only in the first hour or right before the sun sets. Acorns are dropping everywhere I look, and deer are taking advantage. My cameras over a food plot have seen some movement but not nearly as much as the ones in the timber. That’s a tell-tale sign they are focusing on the nuts. Based on my sightings and talking with other hunters, deer are very much in the pre-rut stage at this time. But, that simply means they are preparing for the rut. How? By eating…a lot. Bucks are starting to get amped up, but it’s just the beginning. It does not mean you need to break out the rattling antlers and estrous urine already. On October 5th, I saw two bucks sparring, but with not much intent on harm. Testosterone is starting to flow, but it is just priming the pump, so to speak. Bucks are remembering what their purpose is, but nothing more at this time.
With that being said, by the end of the week (October 19th) I expect to see things starting to ramp up. Scrapes and rubs will start popping up with high frequency and bucks will have established their “home range.” Bachelor groups will be a thing of the past (probably are at the moment, really) and some investigation of does may happen by younger deer. Some grunting and light rattling may entice a buck, but don’t be too aggressive yet. Acorns will still be the main food source, and I recommend setting up near a white oak that’s dropping. That’s where the does will be, and if bucks ARE starting to get interested, that’s where they will be. Food is still the key, that’s the main point. Don’t let buck sign sway your decision making too much, or you may find yourself hunting a ghost of the night and waste your time. Of course, these are simply predictions. I am an aggressive hunter, and if you believe a scrape or rub line is hot and seeing day time movement, set up and see what you can do. Tread lightly, though. Educating a buck at this time of year is dangerous. The seeking and chasing phase is still a month or so away, so save your best travel corridor stands until then. It is nice to start seeing fresh rubs, though! Definitely gets the adrenaline going.
October is a month of change, seasonally, and for deer and deer hunters alike. Leaves change colors and fall. Bucks start their yearly quest to pass on their genes. It truly is a magical time of the year, so get out and hunt! You never now what you’ll experience.
Weekly Quote: “Summer was fun, fall is here, let’s go out and kill a deer!”—Ted Nugent
Send tips, sightings, notes, etc. to Ryan Miloshewski to be included in “Whitetail Weekly” to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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