laruebuckiowaHistorical “rut curves” assembled by whitetail biologists over decades show that bucks really begin to rev up their scraping around October 20. Better yet, the data show that 5 to 7 percent of a herd’s does are bred by bucks on October 21, give or takes a few days. That’s not a lot, but good things happen when bucks start to rip scrapes and prowl for the first estrus does. The more they are on their feet, the better your chances of shooting one.

The big thing that can kill October hunting is warm weather. But when a cold snap blows in and drops the temperature 20 or 30 degrees, perfect. The cooler weather will kick deer into moving more. That is happening in many areas right now, so plan to get out there.

Stand to try: this weekend: Hang a stand on an oak ridge within 200 yards or so of a corn or soybean field. Set up near a well-used deer trail or creek crossing where the wind is right. It is a good acorn year in many areas. Many deer will browse on the ridge before moving out to the crops at dusk, if they ever leave the ridge at all. Be ready.

Tactic to try: Try setting 2 scent wicks near your stand, one doused with buck urine and the other with hot doe. (Remember to check your regulations; with CWD a concern, some states have banned real deer urine, and you’ll have to use a synthetic scent.) When bucks start to prowl, they may circle in to either lure, to fight a rival or love on a gal. Have your grunt call ready and blow it occasionally. A buck might hear it and veer over.