Friday October 12th, 2012, offered high winds and approaching rain. Saturday the 13th and then into Sunday, 2" of rain dropped! Between the high winds, rain, and a continual chaos of stress within the woods, this hunting opportunity could not be missed, and there were several reasons why. The deer were pinned down, stressed and hungry.
Deer are rhythmic pattern feeders, feeding 5 times per day. When several feeding opportunities are suppressed they need to re-fill their bellies. At the same time, increased stress levels equal a loss of energy so during a strong front deer are subject to a two-pronged attack of hunger. Historically, some of my favorite hunts have taken place during what I refer to as, October Feeding Fronts.
The Perfect October Cold Front Hunt
That 2012 weekend's double-whammy of hunger pains produced an outstanding reduced-wind feeding trigger for the perfect evening sit. It had been 4 days since the last quiet evening and the deer were ready! During the sit I was able to pass on 11 different bucks. The two oldest were 4 and 5 years of age, and offered shots of less than 20 yards, while both groomed each other and sparred for over a 1/2 hour. Another pair of 3 year olds enjoyed sparring 200 yards away and the entire evening of all the boys hanging out within the CRP and small food plots, continued into the cover of darkness.
What a great sit, and a very precise set of Mid-October ingredients combined to offer a high-precision opportunity. The time to hunt these conditions is as soon as the front has passed, and the winds quiet down. Even if the following day is slightly colder, I have experienced that the first day with calm conditions, clear skies and major temperature change, is the can't miss day, to be in the woods.
*Do you want to control the deer movement during the daylight hours during October cold weather patterns, as well as all season long? Then make sure that you effectively create the afternoon Feeding Movement.
Cold Weather October Feeding Choices
I often get asked, "What do deer prefer to feed on", during October or any other timeframe during the hunting season. Deer are creatures of diversity. Keeping in mind that deer feed 5 times in a 24 hour period, their need for diversity is a 24 hour game. If deer are feeding on low-digestability corn and beans twice at night, and acorns twice, tips and woody browse twice during the day; where deer feed in the afternoon has got to be different. This is why a high diversity mix of greens is critical to your food plot program, in particular in October when deer still have a few choices left in the surrounding ag fields, woods or fields.
Think of greens as a drink of water for deer feeding on a high volume of dry, low digestable food sources. If you combine hidden, zero hunting pressure greens and remote bedding areas adjacent to those greens, I have experienced that deer will actually go out of their way to hit the safe green food during the afternoon, before heading to nearby corn, bean and hay fields. Whatever you offer though, if your food high quality, good volume, diverse and different than what the deer can find anywhere else in your area, you can expect them to find it. If what you offer is near deer bedding opportunity, you can then expect deer to not only find it, but relate to it every single day - often all season long!
October Equals Feeding Cold Front Opportunities
While precision October feeding opportunities may be several days apart, they are real, they are powerful, and they are worth trading a long weekend of hunting, even for just 1 sit. One of the best ways to manage my time with family, friends and a busy hunting career, is to only hunt the best days. By not taking 3 days on a weekend to hunt and instead just taking 1 day during the week, I have found that my other priorities in life are more positively impacted. But don't be misled into thinking that your hunting efforts will suffer!
Less is much more, when you focus on choosing limited high-impact sits, over several days of poor value, low impact days. If your goal is to merely to enjoy a long weekend in the outdoors, then the choice is simple: Forget about the weather and just hunt! However, if your goal is to consistently shoot the oldest bucks in the neighborhood while positively managing your career, family and time with friends, then try honing in on the power of an October cold front. By not hunting and potentially leaving scent, sound or site during the entire Friday to Sunday weekend of October 12th, 2012, I was able to enjoy one of my best mid-October sits ever, on Monday, October 15th. The hunt was worth the wait, and I was also able to enjoy some of the other priorities in life at the same time.