If you’ve deer hunted long enough, you’ve heard about the infamous “October Lull.” Often times, folks who hunt in the Midwest talk about the October Lull, but it happens elsewhere, too. The dates seem to be from about October 10 through about October 20. It’s during these mid-October weeks mature buck just lay low, feed at night and conserve energy before the onslaught of the rut. It’s the calm before the storm, if you will.
However, every season hunters find themselves quite successful during this lull in the action — if they’ve done their homework and weather conditions are favorable. Bucks do tend to move a little less and not wander far during this time, which is why hunting tight to bedding cover tends to be the key to success. The thing one needs to keep in mind is that you must have the wind absolutely perfect to pull it off, and you will likely only get one or two chances to make it work.
Likely your buck is staging near an oak dropping acorns or some small food source before moving into a destination feeding area, like an agricultural field or large food plot after dark. You’re likely to catch him moving out of his bedding cover the last 10 to 15 minutes before dark. Just the opposite during the morning. He will likely be in bed just after day light.
Keeping these things in mind, I like to go into these areas during mid-day, and like a mouse walking on cotton, carefully hang my stand. You will likely be inside 100 to 200 yards of the bedded buck. Better yet, if you think you can slip in midday, hang your stand and hunt that same afternoon, even better. Same goes for a morning strategy. Also, always keep in mind your entry and exit so you’re not bumping other deer as you arrive and leave, which could foil the hunt.
The one thing that can get deer up and moving during the “Lull” is weather. Unusually warm weather can dampen daylight movement very quickly. On the other hand, cold fronts can cause these deer to hit their feet much earlier in the afternoon.
Here’s a couple ideal situations that I’ve homed in on over the years for an October-Lull hunt. If a slight or major cold front move in and there is a rising moon in the evening, then you need to hunt. The perfect scenario for a morning hunt would be a setting moon with a cold front settled in. Nothing is set in stone, but if you’ve done your homework and are fortunate enough to have a cold front hit during the dreaded October Lull, you might tag a mature buck slipping up.
About the Author: Chris Parrish has won turkey calling contests at the highest level and has hunted up and down this continent. He has a well-honed knowledge of the habits and patterns of mature whitetails — having recorded 22 bucks in the Pope & Young and Boone & Crockett record books. He’s been an ambassador for PRADCO Outdoor Brands as well as many more. Chris has a passion for sharing his knowledge with others, so look for more of his articles here and at Moultrie Products and Summit Stands.