What deer activity are you seeing?
It's October, and that means the kickoff of deer season in many states across the Midwest. Right now, the best thing a hunter can ask for is a significant cold front to get deer on their feet. We're getting that. A major front is moving through the region as we speak.
For much of the northern Midwest, the front is already pushing through, bringing low pressure, rain and even snow. As we move closer to the weekend, the cooler temps will stick around, accompanied by clear skies and high pressure. That's ideal early October hunting conditions, especially since whitetails are still on feeding patterns and, in many areas, haven't been hunted yet. It should be an above-average opening weekend for most.
In my home state, the cold front is already moving in, with rain and low pressure forecast to persist through Thursday. Friday and Saturday conditions look outstanding. If you're thinking about leaving work early Friday afternoon, do it.
There was a fairly heavy red oak acorn crop this year, but a majority of this mast has already fallen and been consumed. If you can find a red oak still dropping, it will likely see a lot of action until the food source dries up. Oaks aside, the primary food sources right now are greens, such as alfalfa and clover. Evening deer activity has been decent, but with the coming changes in weather, I'd expect to see a dramatic increase. Rubs are starting to pop up more and more each day. Also, the first few scrapes of the years are beginning to appear. While this sign is an indication of things to come, stay focused on food this week.
Moving south, parts of Ohio saw temperatures of 90 degrees-plus on Wednesday, but by Friday, highs shouldn't get out of the 60s. Conditions look very good in the Buckeye State throughout the weekend and into next week. I spoke with Ohio DNR Deer Biologist Clint McCoy, who said the state's mast crop was weak this year. Many fields are sitting fallow due to the extremely wet spring experienced throughout the region. With food sources limited, areas where mast and green fields can be found should see a lot of action.
In North Dakota, cold weather has already moved in. These conditions are sure to get deer on their feet and feeding. Primary food sources right now are alfalfa, clover and soybeans.
Nebraska is experiencing the same major front. Conditions look great on Thursday, with Sunday forecast to have ideal hunting weather. The acorn crop in Nebraska was very sparse this year, too. If you can find an oak that is dropping acorns, it'll likely be a hot spot.
Kansas is expected to see great weather conditions over the weekend as well. Rubbing is starting to pick up there and should increase with more deer on their feet due to the cooler temperatures. Focus on alfalfa, winter wheat and milo.
Major October cold fronts are special. Having one line up with so many opening weekends is even rarer. This can be one of the best times to capitalize on a buck while it's still on a feeding pattern. Focus on the transition zones between bedding and feeding destinations. Good luck to those of you climbing into a treestand for the first time this season.
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