Pennsylvania Game News - October 2021 - 55

to take a chance on wounding a whitetail.
Don't go overboard with drives either.
If done too often, they can cause deer to
relocate.
Another option in mid-October is to
just take a break. If hour after unproductive
hour on stand is leading to bowhunter
burnout, stay home. Rest up and get ready
for the rut or get in a few practice sessions
to make sure your equipment (and your
aim) is still good to go.
APPROACHING RUT
Late October, in my opinion, offers
the greatest bowhunting treat of them
all - the pre-rut and beginning of the rut.
Bucks start caring less about filling their
stomachs and more about satisfying their
libidos. The advantage once again tips to
the bowhunter.
Stands adjacent to food plots and
hardwood mast might still produce deer
now, especially does and younger bucks.
But bowhunters looking for a wall-hanger
would be well advised to switch to stands
overlooking fresh scrapes and rub lines.
Consider geography and topography,
too. Cold snaps that encourage leaves, and
even snow, to fall can impact deer activity
and hunters' ability to see deer.
This is also prime time to break out
grunt calls. I generally keep two or three
at the ready so I can experiment with different
tones. I've lured young bucks to
within bow range during the first week
of October by grunting - no doubt drawn
by clueless curiosity - but sounding the
right note during the pre-rut or rut can
attract bruiser bucks to your stand. I've
often spotted rutting bucks passing by at
a distance and, with a few notes on my
grunt call, sometimes accompanied by a
chorus of bleats from a can call, managed
to entice them within bow range.
You don't necessarily need to see a
OCTOBER 2021
buck before calling one in.
Years ago, I was hunting on Halloween
morning and didn't have much time to
spend on stand. I still was teaching and
had to work later that morning. I sounded
a medley of grunts and, almost immediately,
a nearby clump of vine-entangled
brush shook violently.
I first thought a squirrel had leaped
onto it, but after I sounded a few more
notes moments later, the brush went into
another spasm.
An agitated 8-point was raking his rack
against it. He stepped out and headed my
way, offering a shot at less than 10 yards.
I filled my buck tag, but never did make
it to school, what with the field-dressing
and dragging to be done.
TIME ON STAND
Grunt calls don't always work that
well. And some hunters say it's possible
to call too much and turn bucks off.
The jury's still out for me.
Come late October, though, I always
carry my trusty grunt calls and rattling
bag into the deer woods. I've only ever
lured one buck to my stand via rattling,
but that gear goes into my bag of tricks,
just in case.
However you hunt, and whatever you
carry, just be sure to spend as much time
as possible in the deer woods come late
October. Once the rut starts up, early
mornings remain a good bet, but bucks
can be on the move all day long. I can't
tell you how many mornings I've climbed
down from my stand after three hours only
to stumble upon a buck reminding me that
I should have stayed longer.
But that's OK. If you haven't been
treated to a filled buck tag by month's
end because of October's trickery, no
worries. November and the peak of the
rut is dead ahead.
55

Pennsylvania Game News - October 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - October 2021

Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2021 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2021 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2021 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2021 - 2
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2021 - 3
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2021 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2021 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2021 - 6
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Pennsylvania Game News - October 2021 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2021 - Cover4
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