By Mark Kenyon
Saddle up boys and girls. It’s about to begin!
From everything I’m hearing, and now from what I’m seeing, it appears that the pre-rut action is just about to start rolling.
Shooters On Camera
I just pulled a couple trail cameras, and in one food plot last night I had three different mature Michigan bucks passing through. Needless to say, that’s my kind of trail camera pull!
Visiting my Whitetail Institute Pure Attraction food plot yesterday evening were two of my old friends, and one new fella.
First to visit the plot was the one eyed 3.5 year old buck I’ve dubbed “Pirate”. He arrived at about 8:30 PM.
Next to the party is my top hit-list buck on the farm, “Leaner”! He rolled in at about 10:00 PM. Unfortunately, just like last year, his antlers are getting all busted up. Already he’s busted off a couple inches off his right side G4, and his entire right G5 is gone now too.
Last, just a little after midnight, a mystery buck rolled through.
Why The Increased Movement?
So whats the deal with this flurry of big buck movement? I think it’s a combination of two things. Number one, we’re in the midst of the biggest cold front so far this fall here in Southern Michigan. Temps have been in the 40’s during the day, and 30’s at night over the past two days. (Did you see our article on the importance of cold fronts yet?)
Secondly, I believe this action is a result of very early pre-rut behavior just starting to kick in.
This last week +/- of October typically is when pre-rut behaviors start showing up in the form of bucks beginning to move a little more, as they begin to casually scope out heavy doe traffic areas to gauge their receptiveness.
The movement I’m seeing so far on camera is still night time, and this is definitely not the hardcore cruising/seeking that we’ll see in early November, but it’s the first step in that direction.
What Does This Mean For My Hunting Strategies?
So all that said, what does this mean for hunting. From my perspective, this means it’s about time to start heading into some of my better areas. Between this cold front and the start of early pre-rut behavior, the next few days are probably going to offer me the best chance so far this year at seeing mature bucks during daylight.
I believe the next 5-6 days will be my sweet spot, timing wise, for getting after one of the local bucks on this farm. Pirate, Leaner and another buck Six Shooter have been consistently appearing on trail camera on this property, and I also encountered Leaner and Six Shooter while hunting the first week of the season. These bucks are definitely local, but when early November hits, they may very well begin roaming far and wide.
That said, as I see it, I need to take advantage of this next week to get after these three bucks while they are still staying close to home. Yes, the prime daytime rutting movement period isn’t here yet, but I’m hoping that a low pressure approach, cold weather, and early pre-rut excitement will get these bucks up and around before dark just enough for me to have a chance.
On top of that, I need to take advantage of this next week because during the prime rutting period of the first two weeks of November, I’ll be down in Ohio.
So here’s my plan. Over the next few days, assuming good weather and wind, I’ll be slowly moving deeper into the core of this property. For the most part, bucks and does are still on a regular bedding to feeding pattern, so in the evenings I’m going to be sitting in between or near food sources, hoping to catch one of these bruisers getting a snack and checking out the ladies. Mornings will either find me closer to bedding areas, or not in the woods at all.
Once we hit Halloween though, I’ll begin my all day vigils on stand and the real rutting action will begin.
So, with all that said, let me leave you with this. If you’ve got a buck or two on a property that you hunt, that you know is sticking close to home, this may be one of your best chances to get after him. Hit this last week of October hard, but be smart. If you play your cards right, you may just be able to take advantage of this cold front and these early pre-rut tremors to get a crack at your buck before he begins his rut roaming.
Good luck out there, and I’ll keep you posted on my hunt as well! Tonight should be fun.