A lot of hunting resources suggest that you should wait to hunt your best stands until later in October when the daytime buck movement begins to increase as pre-rut bucks begin to hit scrapes and search for the first estrous does. I am not necessarily in opposition to that mentality, however, I have recently been asking myself if there is ever an exception to this rule.
Some very successful hunters minimize their morning hunts through the month of October while I have read books writeen by a few where they have had success on opening weekend mornings before hunting pressure puts bucks to bed before the sun rises. I’ve always felt that I have seen more deer during morning hunts, especially if the daytime highs get above average, however, most of the bucks I have managed to take with Archery gear have been as a result of an evening hunt. So, to make a long story short, I decided to change an approach this year and hunt mornings rather sparingly through the month of October with an exception being the opening day of New York’s archery season.
As the season opener approaches, I’ve been watching the weather forecast, the moon phase and a variety of other criteria to try to determine if it would be worth making the drive and, if it was, what stand would give me the bestshot at harvesting a deer, preferably a buck. Do I hunt the fringes of the property and remain conservative, or, if the conditions are optimal do I go all in and dive into one of my best stand locations? I decided a while ago I would play it by ear and if the conditions didn’t seem to be in my favor I might not make the drive at all, instead opting to hold out for opening day of Pennsylvania and hunt the evening of the opener.
The closer we got to October 1st the better the conditions began to look for the New York property and the poorer they became for the PA opener. A tropical storm forecasted for opening weekend in Pennsylvania has my hopes low, however a break between a smaller front and the larger storm that falls on New York’s opening day has me excited. It seems like the stars might be aligning, although I feel like I am jinxing myself by writing this blog. It could be the perfect conditions to get aggressive on opening day and hunt one of my best stands. Truthfully, I don’t know if its the right or wrong call, but my gut is telling me that there are too favorable things to pass up te opportunity so I am going to dive-in and I’ll let you know the result after.
Here are the details:
Several days of rainfall are forecasted to end with a partially cloudy day on October 1st. The temperature dropped 10-12 degrees on September 29th and is forecasted to fall another 5 degrees on the 1st. This is a bit below average for the time of year and should have deer moving. To add to this, there is another front moving in on October 2nd. Deer feeding activity is often increase before and after a front, and opening day happened to be just after one front and at the beginning of another.
The barometer is between 30.1 to 30.2 for the opener, which is higher pressure for this time of year, and it will be on the rise, another positive factor.
The wind will be out of the NNE on October 1st. We don’t get too many Northeast winds on this property and this happens to be an optimal wind for one of my best stands. It can be hunted on any North wind however, a NNE wind does two things, it allows a buck to feel secure moving quartering into the wind while still being unable to detect a hunter on stand before it is too late- a nearly perfect wind scenario. The windspeed is to be about an optimal 10-15 miles per hour, which is strong enough to provide some consistency from variable and shifting currents.
The moon is just past full by a few days, which some people feel triggers more movement due to more optimal rising and setting times, and its overhead time is about 5:00 AM. This is getting fairly close to being within an hour of first light and according to many theories on the moon and how it correlates to deer movement, an overhead or underfoot moon within an hour or so of peak deer activity times (dawn/dusk) can trigger earlier movement in the evening and later movement in the morning, as well as more of it. Online solunar calendars can give you overhead, underfoot, rising and setting times for the moon for every day of the year. The jury is still out for me about the moon’s influence, but I have decided to start paying attention to it more closely this year to determine if it is a legitimate movement predictor for the deer inmy hunting areas.
Here is the stand I believe will give me the most opportunity at a buck either coming back to bed a few minutes later in the morning or leaving his bed earlier in the evening. If I am unsuccessful I believe I can get in and out of the stand with minimal impact and leave the area alone until later in October, thus avoiding any negative impact on my rut hunting in this area. Hopefully there will be good things to report from this high risk high reward early season sit.