October Lull?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Nicole Larson
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When most bowhunters think of early october, they think of warm weather and leaves turning. They think of duck hunting, goose hunting and sitting in the stands on the evening. But they also think about the so called October "Lull" that seems to be tainting this month that i love so much.
 I like to think different. Although it is a seemingly slow month early on when the temps are high and the deer just dont seem to be moving like they should- but in my opinion thats exactly when you change your tactics.

See, the last three bucks iv'e killed in my home state of Minnesota have all been taken during this lull period- too warm,  mosquitoes, limited movement, and plentiful crops -means hard hunting to say the least. But thats when i like to be in the woods, especially on those miserable duck hunting days of rain and wind - when most bow hunters stay home and bucks seem to like to move.
This past thursday October 10th was almost a year exactly to when i had taken my last buck. Yup- early october is a good time to hunt deer. It was warm, 78 degrees with a heavy SE wind, and enough humidity for a sauna. I was on a mission after work to head to the only stand site i have thats good for a south wind, on a small 20 acre piece about a mile in from any road. surrounded by cornfields and CRP this chunk of timber holds a few good deer every year.
Its over hunted by the time the rifle season rolls around but a few of them make it every year, and i am always excited to see who made it, and if anyone new showed up.
This year was like any other, Brent and myself struggle to film all of our hunts but not always does that happen because one of us is always working. today would be a good example of that.
 I was on my own, with a thought in my head i was going to kill a deer and this was the night- with a go pro in one pocket and my I phone with a jack knife S4 gear phone mount hooked to my bow, prepared to film, with a small handy cam along incase i could get some good distant footage of a few deer and dont forget, my lucky rattling antlers...
Well hunting is hunting, and it rarely goes as planned. i had my Scent lok Heartbreaker suit with,  and my baselayers as my "walking in" suit so i did not overheat. but halfway there i was dying! it was hot and humid and mosquitoes were eating me alive... i kept thinking "REALLY? you needed to go hunting that bad tonight huh?" having every doubt in my mind that this wasnt going to work- i slowly made my way down the corn field edge mumbling that i should have just stayed at work and got in some hours...
I finally made it to my set up. i felt like i had just got finished running a half marathon, and the mosquitoes were my motivation. I quietly scaled the tree and got my bow ready with the camera pointed in each direction knowing that in this spot deer can move wherever they please and they often move early due to no pressure from adjacent properties.
After an hour-long sit of quiet and relaxation I decided I would take my rattling antlers and gently start rubbing them together sounding like a mock sparring match -I began to get attention As a young doe made her way into the CRP opening behind me she walked towards me and then hooked into the woods downwind to check me out. To be honest I won't go hunting without carbon clothes and good scent control and this was one of those times when it paid off.  She made it downwind of me and never even blinked.
she continued walking beneath my stand and further into the timber and then I watched her disappear. Thank you Scent- lok I thought to myself having just beaten one of the best noses in the woods! I love that feeling.
 Another hour went by and things got quiet again as a Sun dipped behind the trees- The woods behind me started to get dim. Having a good pair of optics is a must for me anytime I hit the woods they  help me look/scout my path to and from the stand (the Minox bino's i use are phenomenal in low light)  and it also helps Me pick things out of the timber I could never normally see with the naked eye/ and judge bucks before they get into shooting range!
I picked up my antlers one last time and decided I was going to rattle a short sequence this time slightly more intense than the last-  Just in case anyone had moved into the timber from the corn that I couldn't see, And maybe I could pique "his" interest.
Sure enough 3 seconds after I started pushing the antlers together- a buck came racing through the timber and he was headed right for me! I quickly picked up my binoculars and noticed instantly it was a four-year-old buck that we had known quite well, we called him "hutch" And if he gave me an opportunity -I wasn't going to let him pass.
Sure enough as most deer do, he began circling downwind of me to check who is making all the commotion- He actually made it down wind of me before I got a shot and continued coming! By the time he made it to 30 yards he started quartering away to check the "buck brawler" Bust a Buck scent trail I had laid down (and it worked perfectly!) 
I Came to full draw and settled the pin behind his shoulder...
I heard a loud "thwack" as my Rage- tipped Easton axis dissapeared into his side... He spun around and rocketted through the timber and soon after i heard him hit the ground...the woods fell silent.
A rush of excitement came over me as I realized that I had just shot yet another buck during this slow period of October- not only that but I also just shot my biggest MN buck!
I got down, Went to the last spot I saw him turn and run and found all kinds of blood so I knew the shot was good!
 I turned to back out and leave him be until I could get my husband and he could help me track him. (I prefer this method because two sets of eyes are way better than one!)
My husband was ecstatic for me I could barely keep my composure and it seemed like five hours for the half hour that I waited before I went out to go get him.
 The walk back was long and dark and if any of you can relate the timber looks different with a flashlight then it does during daylight. Thank goodness the blood trail was fairly easy to follow and we picked it up and headed off.
It slowed down in a few spots I started doubting myself and typically the rule of thumb is "when in doubt back out "- But I knew I heard him go down And I knew I had made a great shot on him. Many people can lose a deer by pushing them too early so I still like to live by this motto if you're ever unsure!
On the backside of the timber (about 80 yards away from my stand) the buck had wandered out into the CRP about 11 yards or so.
He bled all over the place and then there was no blood to be found... Or was there? This is where experience can pay off as mature deer are very smart and his main goal is to get away from you. He actually ended up back-tracking on his trail about 10 yards and then cutting off along the woods and CRP and crawled underneath a log... I stood there looking at all the blood around the log in disbelief when my husband tapped my shoulder and pointed in a direction "I see a white belly" he said.
I wanted to cry I was so excited! though it felt like I tracked him a long ways he really didn't go that far, but what a relief!
"Wow What a buck!" I said as I bent down to lay my hands on the beautiful creature. I was so proud of this moment it's something we all work so hard for and when it pays off it feels unexplainably well, awesome!!
I have a lot to learn and I always will be learning in the deer woods! Just when you think you are getting to know these amazing creatures they throw you for a loop. And sharing what you've learned can be just as rewarding.
October may be a slow time of year- but if you play your cards right it can pay off for you! I strongly believe in using the right scent at the right time- and for me buck urine has NEVER failed. I love using it, and I strongly recommend you do too. Lay down scent trails to put the deer in your shooting lanes! Using quality scent is important too, I prefer Bust a Buck scents where it's pure urine, from a great local farm with single- deer bottling and amazing results.
I also recommend using antlers to your advantage- but use them correctly! Don't go for an all out brawl this time of year but more of a social sparring match. Not too loud or aggressive seems to do the trick. The big boys ( if in the right mood) could come in your direction and offer you a shot- when he normally wouldn't. Ill admit, I wouldn't have shot ANY of the bucks I did in October without using scent and antlers- they can work wonders and manipulate movement!
So next time were in the prime of the October lull- remember to give these techniques a try and hopefully they wil be as rewarding for you as they have been for me!
Get out there...and good luck this season!
Nicole Larson
Field of Dreams TV