*Even though rubs and scrapes are beginning to pop, the rut isn't here just yet! To learn more ways to hunt this particular weekend cold front, check out"Hunting An October Feeding Front", from 2012.
If you are planning on doing a little weekend cold front hunting; beware! If you have followed my advice for how, when and why to hunting cold fronts, I am sure that you are hitting the woods this weekend, and I will be right beside you. However...make sure that you proceed with caution!
*Frosty mornings are coming soon! To read all about how to use the weather forecast to pinpoint mature buck activity for this high quality weekend cold front hunting opportunity, check out my most recent forecast in"The Weekly Midwest Whitetail Forecast".
Why proceed with caution? Because the Pre Rut is not here yet. What that means is that although the conditions are prime for deer movement (in particular for afternoon feeding travel), this is still a bit to early to head to your favorite cruising and bedding area rut stands.
Why does it really matter? Because even lite to moderate hunting pressure placed on some of your most hollowed high value rut stands, can potentially destroy a "slam dunk" Pre Rut sit before it even takes place. With the Pre Rut beginning in most Midwest locations during the last week of October, you just can't afford to make a hunting pressure mistake. Of course the hunting pressure applied to a stand location can be healed with the passing of 3-4 weeks or more, but by then the rut could be nearly over in many locations. The point? Don't go "all in", just because the weather is cold. i
You will be rewarded if you use patience and an appropriate strategy to both take advantage of the cold front, and to preserve you high value rut stands for extremely high value sits coming soon.
While the strategy of using cold fronts to predict success seems to be catching on in 2015, with many realizing the power of the weather for predicting mature buck movement, every cold front can not be hunted the same. You can bet I will be in the woods with everyone else seeking the comfort of frozen toes at daybreak, but I will be saving my best rutting stands for just a little while longer.
This is an October Feeding Front, which is not to be confused with a rutting cold front. My favorite October cold front tactics date back several years on my site and in my books, but the weekend cold front hunting opportunity we have before us is one of my favorites for busting wide open the October Lull. I like to focus on two varieties of hunting strategies involving either morning or evening hunts.
1. Morning Weekend Cold Front Hunting Tactics
Stand locations between long brush travel corridors between high quality bedding and high quality food sources can be both effective, and non invasive. Keep in mind that a morning sit during this time of the season is still more risky than an evening sit, so it pays to make sure to avoid locations that could possibly hinder a potentially higher value evening sit within the same line of movement.
I will also occasionally hunt the backside of a highly defined mature buck bedding area, but only if my exit route offers a completely safe retreat, and only if my downwind location while on stand, is 100% blocked from any potential deer usage. An extremely low level of hunting pressure is key!
*Morning Pre Rut hunts are when I have harvested the majority of my oldest bucks. To read about one several advanced morning access strategies, check out my "Whitetail Rut Morning Treestand Access Guide".
2. Evening Weekend Cold Front Hunting Strategies
Here is where you can really find a high level of defined success during this weekend's cold front! Although I will still hunt during the morning hoping for a mature buck that chooses to wander just a but linger than typical, my primary focus will be to observe afternoon food source movements. But along with high level of potential reward, there is also a high level of potential risk!
The afternoon food sources and the bedding areas that relate to them, are often the anchors of deer movement for most hunting lands. If you over pressure the food source, you can destroy the very movements that you will be counting on to provide a foundation of predictable deer movement throughout the entire rut.
My favorite mature buck busting October feeding front stand locations are typically located within 50-100 yards from a major food source, within a proven funnel of cover choked deer movement. I demand that my stand locations will not only allow me to access them without spooking bedded deer during my afternoon approach, but to keep me from spooking deer from the food source during my exit.
Morning transition stand locations and evening food source movement ambushes, can be hot spots to run into a mature buck during mid October; but they are also a few of my favorite rut stand locations that I like to avoid hunting during an October feeding feeding front. Cruising stands, interior bedding areas and food sources are 3 of my primary favorites that I like to save during an October feeding front, especially when the rut is just around the corner! It takes several weeks for a stand location to heal after a negative dose of hunting pressure, so with the Pre Rut approaching I make sure to stay clear of stand locations that I will be targeting heavily the following weekend. It may have been worth a shot earlier in the season to apply a little hunting pressure to a couple of your best stands, but it isn't worth the risk this late in the game.
*You will be rewarded if you manage your treestand use well. For a complete guide to getting the most out of your cold front hunting sits, make sure to read "Stand Timing For Mature Bucks".
This is a great time to consider the differences in hunting tactics and stand usage between Feeding and Rutting cold fronts! We will discuss this later, but a Third and completely different set of hunting tactics is needed for Late Season cold fronts. There is no "one size fits all" cold front tactic. Just because temperatures are dropping in mid October, doesn't mean that you should rush off to make sure you sit in your favorite stand that you count on for the rut. Instead, try a more conservative approach that makes sure that your best stand locations are still available and hunting pressure free, for the last week of October and beyond. Enjoy the high quality weekend cold front that is upon us, while planning ahead for the the ultimate mature buck hunter's annual date for, the Whitetail Rut.