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Mid-October Bowhunting Update and Trail Camera Scrape Tips

by Todd Graf 14. October 2011 11:21
Todd Graf

Well everyone, it’s mid October which means a couple things for us bowhunters. First, we are likely still stuck in that dreaded mid-October lull.  Although some people don't believe in the October Lull, my deer sightings and Stealth Cam photos have sure been way down over the last 10 days.  However, on the good side it also means that the rut is just around the corner and the best hunting is still ahead of us.  With the recent cold front that moved through the Midwest and the full moon finally behind us, it won’t be long until we're seeing bucks chase does across the open fields and through the timbered ridges. I don't know about you but I can’t wait!


This view of my Lone Wolf treestand is a one that I will be seeing more and more of as the season progresses. For those of you with the new 2011 model stands, I hope you're finding the new in-cast bow holder helpful.  I've been using it quite a bit and it works great.  A definite improvement over the previous model stands.

Through the first half of October I have been hunting pretty hard but just haven’t had the caliber of buck I am looking to shoot come into range.  As you saw in Episode 11 of Bowhunt or Die I had a great buck come in front of me opening day in Illinois, but I elected to pass him up.  I know he's a nice deer, but I'm after a couple of giants that have been spotted in the area and my heart is set on one of them.   You can see the footage of me passing on that buck by clicking here.

Although I haven't seen a shooter buck from stand yet, I have seen deer just about every time in stand so I can't really complain too much.   I believe the key to getting in close to deer is the ability to adapt to the changing conditions of the fall.  As the weather and time of year change, so do the deer's patterns.  So when it was hot, I hunted near water and saw several small bucks coming in for a drink.  When the winds were blowing hard I got down in a hollow where I was out of the wind, and saw some good deer movement.  By analyzing what's happening around me and hunting different stands accordingly I'm able to get close to deer just about every time out.   Remember, if you're hunting the same couple of stands every day regardless of the time of year or weather, you're probably hurting your chances for success.


This young buck decided it was too hot to move, so he found a cool shady spot to spend his afternoon. He and I shared a warm 4 hours in the woods together one afternoon this past week.


Filming yourself is tough business!  Here my Sony AX2000 from Campbell Cameras is all set up and ready to record some footage for Bowhunt or Die! If you aren't already, I highly suggest filming your own hunts. It's fun, rewarding and you can relive your adventures for the rest of your life.

This time of year is also a great time to fire up your mock scrapes, or freshen up natural scrapes. I’ve had tremendous success using the Tink’s Power Scrape on my mock scrapes and in the natural scrapes on my hunting properties.  Remember, the key when applying scents to deer scrapes, whether they are natural or man-made, is to reduce the amount of human scent left behind while you're applying the lure.  Always wear rubber boots and if possible rubber gloves as well. The less human scent you leave behind the more successful your scrapes will become.

Also, I strongly recommend you shifting your trail camera strategies to scrapes this time of year as well.  Over the next couple of weeks the bucks will be scraping quite a bit, and there's no better way to get an inventory of the bucks in your area.  Additionally, this increases your chances of getting daytime photos of the bucks using the scrapes and will thus help you put the pieces of the puzzle together more quickly.  Once you start seeing your mature bucks checking and working scrapes during the day you know it's time to get out there and really start hunting.  For those of you with limited time off work, this can really come in handy.  So if your trail cameras aren't on scrapes already, get out and move them as soon as possible.  Just make sure your memory cards are big enough to hold all of the pictures you're going to get!

I also suggest using video mode on your trail cameras (if they are capable) because you are able to collect more data from each shot. You can get a better look at the buck’s rack, and have a better idea of how old he is. Plus, you can get the precise location where he came from and is going to after working over the scrape. Simply put, you can gather far more intelligence from video mode than you can a couple pictures. 


My Stealth Cam set up on a scrape and ready to reveal the patterns of a monster buck!

Well, that is all I have time for now. I wish each and every one of you safety and success while out hunting this weekend. And don’t forget, if you do get a deer we would love to see it and your trophy may be featured on an upcoming episode of Bowhunt or Die. Follow this link to send us your trophy! Happy hunting everyone!

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