This past week was characterized by a mid-October cold front that passed through much of the central part of the U.S. Buck activity really spurred up after the two weeks of warm days. Several of the members of the Midwest Whitetail Pro Staff were hunting and a few actually took nice, mature bucks. This is the first flurry of activity we have seen since very early in the season. Don’t think you are the only one that has been experiencing tough hunting. Everyone is seeing the same thing. Other than the odd buck here and there being killed, it was very slow prior to the cold snap.
Now it is time to get serious. Not because of the cold snap, though it definitely helps, but rather because of the calendar. I always try to start hunting around October 25. At that time, the bucks are generally moving enough during daylight that it is worth the impact of walking through and hunting certain parts of my area. However, I am still not hunting my absolute best stands unless I have some trail-camera photos that suggest something interesting is going on there, like a mature buck moving during the day. Otherwise, I wait another week to start hunting those areas. Primarily at this time, I am hunting fringe stands that I can get to and from without any risk of bumping into deer.
I want to be ready to strike when the calendar flips to November. I used to wait to start hunting locally until November 1 each year (I hunted other states in October), but I have moved that local start date up because of the potential of the last week of October; especially if a cold front passes through. A cold front during the last week of October can be dynamite. Each day when you get up and study the extended forecast on your favorite weather site, be searching for that dip like a 1 1/2-year-old buck at his first rut. A day or two when the temps drop ten degrees from the norm are your signal. The bucks will be moving those days; this is one thing you can count on in late October. Take a vacation day, etc., but you need to be in a good stand when the temperature drops.
When I come back next week I will be telling stories from my hunts in the trees. Good luck to you. It is finally go time!