Heartland Outdoors: Non-Typical Hunter

The calm before the storm

Saturday, October 16

Some hunters refer to the third week of October here in Illinois as the “lull” period. There are several factors which are responsible for this so-called “lack of activity” but in reality, it’s a great time to hunt. For deer, it’s a major transition time. Crops are being harvested, smaller bucks are testing their dominance and deer in general are changing patterns. If you understand why they are changing, you’re back in the game!

This year in Illinois, we’re having a great acorn mast. What does that mean for you? It means as the crops are being pulled out, deer are now finding an ample food source in the timber. So instead of cruising to and from their favorite crop field, they’re merrily walking slower and grazing as they move. This is a great time to hunt! With their heads down most of the time and their slow pace, it becomes a bow hunter’s dream. The only draw back is you don’t hear them coming! It’s a time for glassing and being alert.

This so called “lull” doesn’t last very long. By the end of October, the pre-rut will be in full swing and bucks will start dropping their appetites and looking for love. Why wait until then? Next week will offer some of the best hunting all year. Relaxed animals, noses to the ground and slower movements are ideal circumstances for any bow hunter. Add cooler weather to the equation and you’re living the dream. 

When hunting this period, make sure you plan on hunting as much as your body can take. Don’t think for one minute that your only chances of dropping a buck in the middle of the day, will happen during the rut only.  Deer WILL be moving all day during the lull but not as rambunctious. KEEP YOUR EYES PEELED! They’re there! Bring snacks and water and if you have to, rotate into different stands. I think a ground hunt would be especially beneficial for the simple fact of mobility and comfort. Bottom line: Don’t sit back and wait for the rut! This is colorful October when the weather is great, colors are vibrant and deer are calm! Get out and enjoy it!

I’m going to do something I thought I would never do the next time I go out and that is film a hunt. Although I’m scheduled for a filmed hunt in Kansas next month, I have never done any filming myself. I have a device called a Bowpix that will mount my digital camera to my bow. Without having to take the risk of having another person tag along, I think this set-up might work. My only fear is trying to fumble with the camera while attempting to make a shot on a deer thus losing the opportunity altogether. We’ll see how that works! It could be fun or it could be disastrous. If it works, the Heartland readers will be one of the first to know!

OK, get out and forget this lull nonsense!

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