Alsheimer: How the October Lull Influences Your Deer Hunting

By Charles J. Alsheimer

Charles Alsheimer on Deer & Deer Hunting

Full bellies and warm weather can significantly reduce deer behavior during mid-October in the northern parts of whitetail habitat. (photo copyright Charles J. Alsheimer)

Is there such a thing as the October lull? You bet there is, and you can bank on it happening.

For starters, by the time October 15 rolls around all whitetails become lethargic from the amount of food they are consuming. Based on over 20 years of raising and studying the daily habits of white-tailed deer, I know that from August 15 to October 15 bucks will put on up to 20 percent of their pre-rut body weight. In a mature 4½-year-old buck’s case, that can mean packing on 25-40 pounds in a very short amount of time.

Secondly, by the time mid-October arrives a northern whitetail’s winter fur has grown in. This is also a time when much of the whitetail’s home range experiences very warm conditions. Because deer have no sweat glands, their only way to stay comfortable is to bed in the coolest locations they can find that also offer protection from predators.

Watch Deer & Deer Hunting TV to learn more about the October lull.


So, an overindulgence in food combined with warm weather causes all whitetails to be very nocturnal during the month of October, especially in the North. For this reason daytime deer sightings can be hard to come by, causing the October lull.

– Charlie

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