The October lull that many hunters refer to is the most difficult period of hunting during the first part of the season. It can rival the slow periods during the late season when deer aren’t hitting food sources hard and become difficult to locate. The lull is simply a change in patterns for deer behavior. Prior to the lull bucks are in a early-season food pattern and are still quite social. Once bucks separate from bachelor groups they become reclusive animals. It’s the early-rut and the activities that follow that really get individual bucks moving and active. Before that period bucks can be challenging to target.
Numerous hunters elect to hunt many of the best stands later in the season and steer clear of their good stands during the early-season, the October lull, and the early-rut. This conservative approach takes into consideration the cunning abilities of mature bucks and aims to keep the pressure off of the mature bucks until the pre-rut kicks off in late October. This approach can pay dividends for hunters that don’t educate mature bucks prior to their best chance of shooting these deer during the pre-rut. If you consider yourself a conservative person or some who doesn’t like to take risks your best choice may be to avoid hunting during this mid-October period.
The hunter that hunts regardless of the time of year has to be creative to combat this decrease in deer activity. Knowing and understanding mature bucks is the key to success during the October lull. The most important piece of knowledge during this period is the specific location of buck bedding areas. Knowing where a buck beds allows a hunter to get close enough to have a chance of seeing these reclusive animals moving during daylight hours. Dan Infalt is a hunter that has mastered the technique of hunting buck bedding areas. Read his thoughts on the technique to find success at this time of year. Beyond hunting specific buck bedding areas, hidden food sources are about the only other high success techniques for the October lull. Finding hidden apple/pear tears, mature white oaks with acorns, or other hidden food sources can be the best method to arrow a mature buck during this period. While these bucks are unlikely to reveal themselves during daylight hours, they may move from their bedding areas to eat at these hidden food sources while it still light out. Areas that receive little little to no hunting pressure may still offer great food source hunting during this period, but for most hunters there’s going to be hunting pressure that creates challenges for them during this period.
Outside of these two techniques it is wise to stick to a low impact approach for hunting bucks during the October lull. Some hunters may do more harm then good by overhunting during this period.