-By Brandon Wikman
As the middle of October draws near - a time when the forest canopy bursts with flavorful colors and temperatures flirt with the freezing mark; deer hunting only gets better. If you haven’t had the fortune of wrapping your tag around antlers yet, there’s a lot of hunting left.
I have only archery hunted a few weekends since the middle of September, hoping to strike luck on a behemoth buck. Unfortunately, I haven’t even had the opportunity to crank my bow back at any deer whatsoever. It is now time to begin brainstorming new setups, different scenarios, and hone in on the wily bucks that seemed to have all but vanished during the 1st quarter of game play.
Early season is history. Summer feeding patterns are forgotten and the deer have only become smarter. As we approach the 2nd quarter of archery season, we need to focus our attention on different food sources other than soybeans, which were an absolute goldmine during the first few weeks of season. My uncle began combining soybeans earlier this week and I can surely bet that deer will find another entrée to chow. Corn is typically a surefire crop that deer will be devouring from now until the snow begins flurrying. The carbohydrate-packed food will supplement whitetail with the critical energy they desire during the tireless rut.
With that said, the food factor presents reasons for deer to change bedding grounds and travel patterns. This is an exciting time, because you will begin seeing deer you’ve never seen before. Deer have their own type of ‘migration’ that has been studied and researched keenly. From a one-mile stretch to a full fledge ten-mile journey, deer will find a new spot to call home. This is a critical reason why seasonal food plots play a major role in keeping deer on your property in a year-round fashion.
Last weekend I hung a set of stands in the exact same spot where I had arrowed my buck last year. This location particularly presents a prime example of what a minor deer migration is. During the summer and throughout the early season of archery, there are few if any deer in the area. The location is a low-lying marsh with a small creek weaving and winding through it. I’ve proved the lack of deer by using my Moultrie scouting camera on several trails leading from the tangles to the cornfields. By mid-October, deer will venture down the Mississippi river bluffs and into these eerie swamps, where no humans seem to go.
I readily look forward to the rut, just as any other whitetail maniac would, but there are still a lot of fine days before the madness begins. By understanding the seasonal differences and how deer respond accordingly will ultimately serve as another useful tool to use when letting the carbon fly!