-By Brandon WikmanWelcome to the month of October. It’s a time when the nights becomes cooler, and the days become increasingly shorter. More importantly, it’s a time when whitetails make a sudden juke on our scheming hunting blitz.
I embellish the vitality of seeking brutes on brisk November mornings, but I’m usually lucky enough to have my opponent in the freezer by then. You’ve heard it said by TV hosts, outdoor writers, and seminar speakers over and over, “focus on main food sources that arouse the whitetail’s craving”. Soybeans, corn, alfalfa, and acorns are a popular choice of groceries in the Midwest. Deer indulge on farmers’ painstaking long hours of hard work in the fields, but there’s one problem.
Once the velvet vanishes, so too the handsome racked bucks from the harvested fields. It’s an ongoing cycle that happens every year about this time. People are dumbfounded by the process and truly believe high classed whitetail have a calendar memory chip deep inside their brain focused on the day of deer season. “They just disappear,” is a common quote I often hear.
Deer patterns change, food sources deplete, and human disturbance rises, which lead deer to flee. Unless you have whitetail on the Atkins diet, the animal has got to eat! Nutrition is a vital role in the life of a whitetail. Many of my friends are clueless to this ritualistic evolution of deer vanishing theory. It is often my same friends who don’t think outside the box. They never dig into the real meaning of why deer move or relocate during this time. Mature bucks would rather yawn in their beds and take a load off until the fresh dusk aerates the forest. They sit tight and in no hurry, while the hunter watches their optic fibers fade with the sunset.
To resolve this issue we must quit hunting field edges and get back into the forage. Once deep within the forest, look for acorn ridges, clover patches, or any scrumptious treat for deer to eat for an appetizer. Bucks and does alike will bypass time in these staging areas where they feel safe. Until the sun sleeps and the tree frogs socialize, then deer will sneak to their dinner in stealth mode.
Opening day of last year I participated in a management archery hunt. I tracked the field edge, found a trail that was trampled and followed it back until I found acorn heaven. I placed a stand and the same day I blew threw a hefty doe. The doe was simply eating appetizers before the main course of voluptuous alfalfa. Sometimes the forgotten spots are just under our feet.
Don’t be afraid to slip into the woods a hundred yards. There is more opportunity of spotting a buck in a staging area tucked inside the woods than having him flaunt his antlers in the middle of an alfalfa field. With that said, venturing too far inside his safe haven will hurt your odds of ever seeing him again. I always use the expression, “knock at his door, but never walk into his room.” You want to be smack-dab in the middle of things. Assume your position in the woods between the two hottest places in a buck’s mind during October.