Mid-October Whitetail Hunting Update/ Forecast

Nice 12 point buck harvested opening week Bowhunting mature whitetails in Mid-October can be challenging, yet very rewarding when the weather conditions cooperate. Deer movement can seem to be idle at best during the “Indian Summers” the Midwest typically experiences sometime during the first 2-3 weeks of October. Many whitetail hunters refer to this time of year as the “October Lull”. However, if and when the weather conditions align, it can be a great opportunity to hunt a “core-range” buck before the impending rut possibly leads him elsewhere.

Mid-October is a time of great change in the whitetail woods. Crops are coming out, acorns are falling, and natural browses are dying off. Clover food plots, alfalfa, oats and rye during this time of year are still lush green and deer are preferring anything with moisture still left in them. White oak acorns are a whitetail’s most preferred food source right now and as long as they last, will be feeding regularly on them. We had a bumper crop of white oaks this year in West Central Illinois, likely due to near drought conditions earlier in the spring.

2023 Mid-October Illinois Whitetail Hunting Update

Mature buck in a food plot After a warm start to October, a major cold front pushed through Illinois that brought several days of below normal temperatures over the first full weekend of the season. Right on que, my social media feeds were flooded with several hunters capitalizing on the first weather front of the season with harvesting mature bucks.

After a slight warm up this week, this weekend looks like it will once again cool off as a high-pressure front that will bring daytime high temperatures into the 50’s followed with moderate winds from the North and West. A multiple digit temperature swing and high-pressure front is exactly what October bowhunters wish to see in the forecast.

As the barometric pressure rises and temperatures drop over the weekend, hunters should expect to see an uptick in overall deer movement. If you are lucky enough to hunt this upcoming October cold front this week, good luck! Don’t be afraid to get aggressive when the weather/wind conditions present themself during the infamous “October lull”. If you have a buck that’s been on a fairly consistent pattern, even if it’s just after dark, now might be one of the best times of the season at an opportunity before the upcoming rut or other factors (field harvest, hunting pressure, preferred food source change) take your target buck elsewhere.

-Zach Jumps



More on Pre-Rut Whitetail Hunting/ Calling/ Tactics Here >>

Last Updated: October 11th, 2023

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