It’s October and time for the annual renewal of the debate about the “October lull” in deer hunting. In case you don’t know, the lull refers to what some perceive as a scarcity of deer sightings as Fall approaches.
The October lull is among the most talked about topics in all of deer hunting. Some are believers. Others reject the idea outright.
Some seasoned hunters say It can be difficult to keep up with deer in October. Some years, there is an abundance of acorns. Other years, there are hardly any. Crop rotations, weather, and other factors can make it seem as though deer have disappeared.
Others say they notice a significant drop in mature buck movements during the pre-rut. The deer know they are going to need the energy to sustain a long breeding season. Earlier in the season, bucks may show up at feeders five to eight times a night for short periods, but right before the pre-rut, they will usually only come once. Every deer has its own personality.
Still others believe that what people perceive as the lull is actually the whitetails’ reactions to hunting pressure. In an area with little to no hunting pressure, deer—and especially buck—activity will steadily increase throughout October as the rut draws closer.
Clint McCoy, a deer biologist with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, has conducted research that contradicts the lull.
“I think there is a perception of an October lull,” McCoy said. “It comes down to the cause. Does it come down to movement or pressure? What is really happening is deer reacting to pressure. For me, I’ve seen in our research that there is not a decrease in activity during October.”
Most seem to agree that what seems to be a lull is simply bucks adapting to changes around them, especially with food sources. For those hunters, the October lull is deer moving from their summer patterns to fall ranges, and hunters aren’t seeing them. The deer are off the field. At this point, patience is the key.
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