-By Rich Miller
October is my favorite month of the year. It is the month when it seems like everything is changing. There is just a different feel in the air after the 1st of October. With the leaves turning, the temperature dropping and less sunlight in the days, it just starts feeling like pre-rut.
The thing I like most about October is that I start getting pictures of bucks that I haven’t seen since last year or have never seen before. I don’t know where these particular bucks have been since February but they will usually start making their first appearances in October. Just about all of the pictures I start getting are nighttime pictures. That doesn’t do anything to help me get a shot at them, but it is reassuring and exciting to have proof that these deer made it through the summer and are still in the area.
Although these mature bucks are 90 percent nocturnal, the later into October it gets the better my chances are to see some of these bucks during shooting light. They really seem to start cruising more whether they are checking scrapes or browsing through food plots, checking does to see if they are coming into estrus. This is the time I start getting a little more aggressive when it comes to the way that I hunt. I will not go into the woods without a grunt call or some rattling antlers; the deer will really start responding this time of year. Deer do not respond every time that I rattle or call, but I feel like the more that I call the better chance I have of getting a buck’s attention. This is the time of year that a hunter cannot afford to be passive because over the next couple of weeks it will be the best chance to get a shot at a big deer.
Another thing I like about October is that it means in just a couple of weeks I will be leaving to go on my annual Kansas bow hunt. I am extremely lucky to have a really good friend that lives in a part of Kansas that really has some giant whitetails. If you have never had the opportunity to bow hunt the Midwest during the rut you are missing out. Kansas is heaven on earth for a bowhunter after trophy bucks; especially a bowhunter who loves rattling, calling and decoying deer. I have never seen deer react to calling the way they do out there. Not having my deer decoy would be like leaving my bow at home while I am there. If deer see the decoy they will come to it and all of their attention is focused on it. It turns a stand that is overlooking a 50-acre alfalfa field that would be a perfect rifle stand into a bowstand. Just get the decoy out in the open where it is visible from most of the field and let it do the work.
We are starting to get a few pictures of some pretty good bucks and it should start getting better over the next few weeks.