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Non-Typical Hunter

The calm before the storm

Sat, October 16, 2010

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!


Mark, Sounds like you and I are seeing some of the same things. Deer feeding on acorns during the day.Your right about keeping your eyes peeled, but keep your ears alert too. Often you can hear a soft snort as they expell dirt and debris that gets in their nose as they feed on acorns. Many times in the stand that soft snort has alerted me to an approaching deer. Hope you have good luck with the video.

Posted by mdoc on October 16

Jim, that’s a great add! Yes, keep your ears peeled also. Last week I was hunting the evening when I heard a buck grunt. I didn’t think much about it because my mind was in la la land and I was half way to a nap. When I heard the second grunt, I though to myself: “Hey bozo, that’s a grunt”! I slowly turned around and saw a doe getting chased by a buck. The doe eventually came to my area and the buck decided to stop about 60 yards back. Not sure why he did. The doe was actually flirting with him trying to get him to follow. He decided to go back where he came from leaving the doe meandering around my area. After 10 minutes of trying to hold my breath and keep from moving, I had decided I had enough, so I hammered her! I needed another doe in the freezer grin

Thanks for the well wishes regarding the video. I wish you the same luck with the photography this year! I enjoy seeing your pictures!

Posted by Marc Anthony on October 16

Hawg, because:

1. You’ll have to drive 200 miles to hunt with me.
2. The deer might come from where you’ll want to be and spook.
3. I hunt in such tight quarters, you’d be lucky to see my position from 20 yards.
4. The chances of me getting busted by deer jumps exponentially with others in the timber.

Given that I spent over 100 hours in the timber getting this last buck, I would assume a person would get might burnt out filming me trying to kill a buck. I know you have some great equipment but and it would be nice to get some footage but I’m not sure it would be worth the risk. Thanks for the offer though! I’ll consider it more.

Posted by Marc Anthony on October 16

That was supposed to read above ” I would assume a person would get burnt out…”

Posted by Marc Anthony on October 16

I saw nothing while on stand this morning (my daughter saw a basket rack) but I was sure treated with something cool on my trail cameras.  I switched SD cards and went home to watch 21 videos from only 3 days.  Several does and smallish bucks and then the cool video….3 bucks fighting right in front of the camera.  A 1.5 year-old basket 8 went after a 2.5 year-old 8….Believe it or not, the 2.5 year-old was afraid of the little guy.  Then came the real cool part.  A real nice 4.5 year-old 8 with a big belly came into the frame.  At first he just stared at the other two that were about to face off, then he attacked the 1.5 year-old and horned him right in the hips spinning the little guy sideways.  I have a few more videos of them over the next 10 minutes or so, but the fight video was by far the coolest trail camera video I’ve ever gotten.  Strange to still see 3 bucks together like that too.

Posted by Treehugger on October 16

more and more bucks (new ones too) showing up on our trail cams in Macon County. Seems like the shift is already on!

Posted by Walston on October 16

i had my first filmed hunt this year for Magnus Broadheads and your right Marc, it is hard to get a shot with someone behind you. While you are trying to get into position for the shot, they are trying to get there shot with the camera. It all worked out alright,because like you said they where eating acorns and never seen it coming.

Posted by coop 351 on October 16

Haven’t gotten skunked yet this year, and have seen a nice buck the 1st wknd of October, but been pretty slow in western Peoria county.  Saw a 2.5 yr old 8 pt on Saturday morning, but that was it.  More rubs are popping up here and there, but most activity has been at night on the trail cams.  The moon is pretty bright right now, but if we tough it out for a couple weeks it should hit the beginning of the rut just right.  FYI…the last couple times I’ve hunted the wind has been blowing pretty hard, but the last hour before dark the woods gets extremely calm and I’ve had a lot of anticipation mount up that the big boy may just come out before dark and just do a little scouting in the bean field.  Now is a great opportunity to get a shot at a nice deer, but it may not be till the last half hour of the night, so stay alert and it may pay off.

Posted by N_The_Tree83 on October 17

Saw nothing last 3 days.  Got busted each morning going into the stand, and saw some in the picked fields leaving at nite, nothin inbetween. The wind seemed to be all over the place each day.  My snack bag isn’t big enough to stay out all day.
Tree- Also had pictures of bucks locking up at 3 in the afternoon on Friday. Two eights with a six watching.  Out of curiosity what kind of video camera do you have and how often does it eat up batteries.  I get good still pictures, but always wonder what happens between shots.

Posted by BIGPOND on October 18

BIGPOND, that’s why I went to video….always wondering what else happened or what came right behind her.  Believe it or not, I use a very cheap camera.  The Stealthcam IR Rogue.  I only have two of them for right now but plan on buying several more.  I bought my last one at Cabela’s near Six Flags St. Louis for only $100.  Each has a 2 gig sd card and the most videos I ever got was 92 (only about a dozen deer videos and the rest were high winds) and it wasn’t full yet, though I’m sure it was close.  I have the camera set to take 30 seconds of video.  I changed the batteries (8 C cell) in them about two weeks ago and they’re still going.  In my opinion, there’s no reason to buy one of those $600 cameras.  These cameras seem to never miss a thing, even squirrels.  I even got a video of a coyote running through the frame from right to left at full speed.  Daytime is color and night time is black and white, but crystal clear.  I’d say the IR will pick things up a good 40 feet from the camera.  Another important thing to note.  When I first tried the IR camera, I was afraid the red lights would spook game.  Not the case at all.  I’ve only had two bucks freak from the red light but they only ran 5-10 yards then stopped and calmed right down.  All the rest (over 100) didn’t care one bit.  Some would stare at the light but would stay right there and others seem to not even notice the light even when they’re within 4-5 feet from the camera.  Man, sounds like I’m getting paid by Stealthcam.  I wished.  Though if they’d like to send me some product, I be happy to oblige. 
This year I am trying to shoot a deer on trail camera video.  I’d like to get some video of the arrow coming out the other side while I’m in the background up in a tree.  I have my cameras set up fairly low in order to capture the deer and my stands.  No success yet.  In fact, I’m having the slowest start that I’ve ever had in 24 years of hunting.  Getting lots of bucks on video, but all at night….even the does are at night.  I had one video of a doe in front of my stand a few days ago, then she looks over her shoulder and just walks away.  The next video is of me several minutes later getting into my stand.  busted and I never knew it.

Posted by Treehugger on October 18

Tree - thanks for the info - I think I’ll give it a try.

Posted by BIGPOND on October 18

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