October strikes again. This time of year, there is a very noticeable shift in the movement and feeding patterns amongst the whitetail. I don’t even have to go to the woods to see it; a quick glance at any of the Florida hunting groups on social media tips me off. Lots of guys posting, asking the same question, “Where’d all the deer go?”
Well, I promise, they aren’t far. But, all of your preseason scouting and hunting sites since opening day are now out the window. If you want to get back in on the action, you’ve got to come up with a whole new game plan. I’ll try to explain….
Three things are altering the deer’s behavior. One is acorns. Once the oaks begin dropping acorns, your corn piles you’ve been keeping filled all summer, become useless, for a little while. Imagine coming home to a bologna sandwich in the kitchen, every day for several months, then all of a sudden you’re given the option of the bologna sandwich or tacos in the dining room. Let’s face it, you’ll be going to the dining room.
Two, Fall. Even though we’re not yet feeling the cool weather, the deer are thickening their coats and they simply find moving about too much in the daytime uncomfortable. It’s a little cooler once the sun goes down and I can’t blame them for taking advantage of it.
Third, rut. The first big rut of the year will be kicking off very soon and the deer are moving in preparation; mostly the bucks. They’re shunning the company of other bucks, resting up alone in the thick, dark woods, slipping out at night to put in a few territorial rubs and scrapes, then back to their beds.
To counter what I’ve come to call, “The big shift”, put your boots on the ground and find the oaks showing lots of activity beneath them. Ideally, one near a known bedding area with a favorable wind.
Don’t worry, the deer are still out there, cooler weather is coming and the rut is right around the corner. Stick with it and you may yet have a chance to invite one home for supper!
If you have any comments or questions about this week’s column, reach out to me at [email protected]. God Bless, and good hunting!