Welcome Back October! Early October Archery Hunting.

Early Season Whitetail Hunting (Article updated from a few years ago)

Bow season is finally underway!!!  All the months of preparation (food plots, trail cameras, stand hanging, etc.) are in the past and we now get enjoy the fruits of our labor by climbing a tree and dreaming of giant whitetails.  This is truly a magical time of the year.  The leaves are changing, the temperatures are falling, and the deer we love to hunt are beginning to prepare for the rut. Although we should be preparing for the rut as well, let us not forget the potential of a successful October.

I have written several articles in the past regarding October hunting and effectively hunting pressure systems.  I would like to combine these thoughts here as they seem relevant to the events of the past week and the potential looking ahead.  This past week we had very warm temperatures to start the bow season here in the Midwest.  I am fairly certain that this kept many hunters out of the woods late last week in anticipation of the pending cold front.  These hunters who sat on the sidelines may have missed some important cues from Mother Nature that should have sent them scrambling for their stands.

Mid-week last week there was a massive severe weather system that rolled across the Midwest.  The first leg of this system was set to arrive during the late evening hours of Wednesday.  Due to work obligations, I was unprepared to make it in a tree that evening but two of my hunting partners were set on ready.  An hour before dark one of these hunters had already connected on his target buck, an upper age class buck nearing the 160-inch mark.  Several hours after dark, the storm rolled through while we were celebrating the successful hunt.

Nice 12 point buck harvested opening week The following day the temperatures were still in the low 80’s and very humid.  Not very good hunting conditions…. that is unless, you have another severe weather system headed your way.  This system was packing a punch with high winds, hail, and potential tornados.  It was scheduled to land in our area right at sundown.  My other hunting buddy ventured to his stand after a buck he has been following for several years.  The stand was set up on the edge of a fall food plot overlooking a hardwood ridge that was actively dropping acorns. Although I was unable to hunt that evening as well, I was available to help drag out his 180-inch monster as the lightning and thunder approached from the West.

Two days later, on the back side of this front, a high-pressure system had set in, and temperatures had fallen dramatically- deer were everywhere.  I was actually unable to get into my evening stand location due to all the deer actively feeding in my food plot.  I had a great hunt that evening watching deer during the entire hunt.  I saw several nice bucks and even watched my target buck feed at the opposite end of the field.

These three stories are strong indicators of the potential in October.  Even if the temperatures are above your comfort zone be watching for radical changes on the barometer and drastic temperature swings.  Both of these events will get mature bucks on their feet.  Be cautious during the next several weeks about putting pressure on your bucks because better hunting is on its’ way, but keep your eyes open for environmental indicators that deer may be on the move.

Be safe out there this season and good luck!

Corey J. Wilkinson

Last Updated: October 6th, 2023

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