These are the best days to deer hunt for the 2017-2018 season.
That special feeling is nearly upon us. You know the one we’re talking about. It’s noticeable when the wind shifts to the north and the temperatures begin to drop ever so slightly as summer wanes.
During hunting season, that feeling consumes us every day, especially the ones that are perfect for deer movement. It doesn’t matter what day of the week it is either; when the time is right, it’s right. And usually, those near-perfect days come around a few times a year. We’ve listed them below to give you a jump start heading into October. Just be sure to keep your gear packed and honey-do list checked off so you can hit the woods at a moment’s notice. Those spare sick days may come in handy too.
The Red Moon of October
By mid October, the rut has kicked in around much of the country for at least a week or two. Then, it quickly accelerates, sometimes in only a matter of days. Adam Hays, host of Team 200 on the Pursuit Channel, believes the accelerant comes in the form of a red moon during the latter half of October each year. According to Hays, a hunter’s red moon occurs when it is directly underfoot or overhead two to three hours before dark. “I have had, without a doubt, my best luck at shooting monster bucks during this period, including all three of my 200-inch deer,” he said. Hays said he loves the fact that bucks are still moving in a fairly predictable pattern, yet are antsy and start to get up earlier in the evenings. Add to that a red moon, and you have the perfect combination for more big buck sightings. “It’s like all is right in the universe and the planets and stars have aligned to create the perfect window of opportunity to shoot a big old buck,” he said.
Before the Storm
It’s likely a given you’ll be at camp the third weekend in November, when many rifle seasons open around the country, but consider hunting hard the weekend before. The rifle opener draws more hunters than on any given weekend during the season. So it’s a good time for a bowhunter to be in the blind before the influx of people.
We know that pressured deer tend to become nocturnal, thanks to several studies. But some researchers have found that deer “allocate a higher percentage of their total daily movement during daylight on Thursday and Friday compared to other days.” On weekends, when hunter pressure is high, deer aren’t moving as much. This is where those spare sick days come in handy. As the pool of unbred does shrinks and bucks expand their range to find a mate, focus on major funnels such as narrow strips of land connecting fields, an opening in a fence, hillside washout or a saddle on a ridgetop.
In a previous blog, we mentioned that the first 10 days in December accounts for 32 percent of Boone and Crockett bucks in the past 10 seasons. That’s more than any other 10-day period. A commonality among those harvests is a major weather event. If the forecast shows temperatures crashing in the afternoon as the barometric pressure drops, that’s a key indicator that deer will be on the move – and it’s best to be in the blind. Head to a heavily used food source or feeder. In the late season, big bucks feed early in the afternoon as they recover from the rut, but can be spotted at any time of the day. So be sure to pack a lunch, get comfortable and sit all day. You never know when an opportunity will arise.