Part of the Midwest region is seeing another wave of cold weather
Last week, we discussed how it's been one of the slowest starts to deer season in recent memory. With warm temperatures and pockets of massive acorn crops, deer movement has been slow. It hasn't been the kickoff we hoped for.
I've checked in with numerous Realtree pro staffers, outfitters, and diehard deer hunters. All of them have talked about how poor the first few weeks of deer season have been. Midwest Whitetail's Jared Mills hunts mostly in Iowa, and he expressed how this has been the slowest October he can recall. Movement has been the worst of his entire hunting career.
But fairer winds are blowing.
Last weekend, a cold front pushed through most of the region, leading to a highly anticipated increase in deer movement. Since I live and hunt in Kentucky, I opted to cash in on the quality weather during its two-day early muzzleloader season. In doing so, I tagged a nice, mature 11-point buck last Saturday afternoon. I saw upwards of 50 deer in the half-day sit, and 15 of those were bucks. The biggest of the bunch walked up out of sinkhole it was bedded in, eased through the CRP, and got bit by my CVA.
Then, earlier this week, I spent some time in an Ohio treestand. Overall, the weather was warm, and the hunting was slow. But I did have a mature buck walk into bow range with 10 minutes of legal light remaining. The problem? I was hunting in the timber (in the white oaks), and it was too dark to see my pins. Fortunately, I made it out of the stand cleanly without pressuring deer, and I'm hoping to return soon and settle the score.
This weekend is shaping up to mirror the weather front that pushed across the Midwest a week ago. It's Thursday as of this writing. Some states in the western part of the region have already experienced it, but others won't see the temperature change until Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Depending on the specific location, hunters are seeing 10- to 15-degree drops in highs in a 24-hour period. That's a solid weather change. The best part: This front is hitting on a weekend, so most hunters can take advantage of it.
Furthermore, it comes at a time when deer are naturally increasing their movements anyway. The pre-rut is ramping up, and rut sign is appearing across the landscape. I spent some time checking the timber for rubs and scrapes, and both are popping up in large numbers. Expect that to continue for the next few weeks.
All in all, while the early season wasn't much to write home about, the Midwest is now seated firmly in the pre-rut, and we're finally getting the weather changes we need to spark good deer movement. The coming rut is doing the same. Things can only improve from here.
So, if you have a good pattern on a specific target buck, now is the time to move in and get the job done. Once the rut kicks off, all bets are off on where that deer will be. You have about two weeks before the madness begins. The clock is ticking.
Longtime Realtree.com contributor Josh Honeycutt is a guy who knows big deer and makes a full-time living writing about them. He hails from Kentucky but hunts all over the Midwest.
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