Are you trolling the internet looking for the secret to put that buck in your freezer this year? You may be looking in the wrong place because you should be in the woods. But this is your week if you want a secret strategy in plain sight!
There's a certain way the wind blows, and the angle of light changes as fall approaches. It almost makes you want to drop all your plans to get into a tree. It's called euphoric recall. Guess what? Bucks experience it too. As the fall moves toward the rut, even big bucks can't help but sample the change. It's like an eight-year-old kid whose parents put presents under the Christmas tree a week early.
It's scrape week, and if you want to find out why it's your week to be in the woods, don't stop here!
Everyone gets excited for the opener of deer season. But you might be slightly burnt out if you're already in grind mode. Deer are in transition, and the ones that aren't stay tucked into their nearby food sources. That could mean the average hunter has started to experience "the October lull." Not seeing many deer while hunting can take a bite out of anyone's motivation.
If you're experiencing some of these feelings, squash them down for a bit. Everyone else is starting to experience those same circumstances. When those people stay on the couch to watch football, you'll have more of the woods to yourself. In the whitetail woods, in any part of the country, less pressure almost always means more and better deer movement.
Deer sign has been showing up for a while now. Why does this week matter? Currently, the sign that your finding is at the perfect layer. Any old sign is dried up, sign from the early part of the season hasn't been freshened, and the latest buck sign can be correlated to close-to-light movement.
Buck sign isn't obscure anymore. Aggressive rubs and ruffed up scrapes are popping and will give clues to where to stake your claim.
Up to this point, a buck's primary need for food and safety is being changed by the need to breed. Doe bedding areas are places that make bucks curious. Daylight movements are further, last longer, and begin earlier. Don't be surprised if you see activity that mimics the late morning cruising that makes the rut so famous.
Food and Cover
White oak acorns are dwindling by this time of year. Isolate patches will draw deer from further away. But other food sources are becoming attractive. You need to know the players that are hot in your neck of the woods. Don't get stuck on acorns and soybeans. Deer are experiencing other needs, which is part of their major change in habits.
As for the cover, not only do you need to know how a lack of upper canopy affects your setup in a tree. You have to think about how it may change where a buck chooses to live. Bucks may use terrain-based cover now more than they would have a few weeks ago in some places. The more folds you can find to hide a deer's outline, the better.
Remember what I talked about in the intro? Euphoric recall is real in the whitetail woods. Think back to an awesome hunt you had. What smells, sounds, and sights trigger you to want to be in a tree? That's a euphoric recall. Hunters talk about it all the time in conversation, on podcasts, in articles, and in seminars. If it sounds ridiculous, how many special dates are you waiting for because those handful of dates were on your trail cams for the last three years?
Those key dates on specific scrapes and trails are because bucks are looking for a repeat. They know where to find what they want, so if you found sign this past spring that you believe could be a player during scrape week, don't be afraid to hunt that area now. It may now give you way more options, which is never bad.
To summarize, this article is meant to motivate you to keep trucking this time of year. But truth be told, if you're ready for some real scrape-time action, there's never a better time to be in the woods than these next two weeks of October.
Author: Aaron Hepler, Exodus Black Hats Team Member