4 Reasons October is Better Than November to Kill a Buck

Ask any deer hunter what month is the best for killing a buck and they’ll likely respond with, “November!” The month of November tends to get all the glory when it comes to the best days of the year for chasing whitetail bucks. And understandably so. It’s when the peak of the rut happens in most of the country. Ask the same hunters about the month of October and you’ll likely get a mixed bag of responses. But somewhere near the top will be the October Lull, a time many hunters believe deer seemingly go off the radar and show minimal movement. The month of October can often be shunned like a red-headed step-child because of the lull in deer activity that some experience. But the truth is, October can honestly be even better than November when it comes to scoring on a buck. Here’s a look at 4 reasons October is better than November to kill a buck.

october is better than november to kill a buck mature-buck-looking-left-clsoe-up-grass

October vs. November – which is a better month to kill your buck?

Less Pressure During the “October Lull”

A lot of hunters don’t get serious about hunting until the last part of October and the first week of November. They don’t want to “waste time” on hunting during the lull, so they stay at home. This means ample opportunity for the guy or gal willing to get out there and get after it. The concept of the lull in deer activity is largely due to the sudden pressure hunters put on their hunting properties. The deer react to this pressure, changing patterns and movements. But unless you’ve abused the property with an abundance of pressure, the deer will still be there. Take advantage of the opportunity to strike while there is less pressure in the woods. Remember, in most states October is typically limited to archery hunting. This means far less pressure, noise and the number of hunters in the woods than what you’ll find when the gun seasons start rolling in November.

october is better than november to kill a buckHunters-Walking

Bowhunters don’t typically have to compete with gun hunters in the month of October, making it the perfect time to notch your buck tag.

Deer Aren’t Locked Down

Again, everyone seems to look forward to November and the rut, but the rut typically means that bucks will be locked down with does once the actual breeding phase is taking place. This can be a really tough time when it comes to deer activity. That’s why October and the pre-rut make for a great time to catch bucks alone and looking. The last few weeks of October provide the perfect days to begin catching bucks in daylight hours with minimal distractions from the ladies or other bucks.

Deer Calls Work Well in October

I often hear guys complain about not being able to call a buck off a doe he’s chasing through the field or timber in November. My response – “Why would a buck leave his lady to come check out a distant buck grunt or can call?” He’s got what he wants. He’s on a mission to fulfill his life purpose. He’ll rarely leave that to come investigate your calls. This is not the case in October. Again, October finds bucks on their own for the most part. They are very vulnerable to calls at this point. Play off their weakness of being curious creatures. You can call them to within bow range better in October’s pre-rut than just about any other time of the season.

october is better than november to kill a buck - justin-with-grunt-call

Calling works throughout the hunting season, but late October just might be one of the best times of the year to call a buck to within bow range.

Local Bucks are Still at Home

October allows you to make your move on the buck you’ve been watching and patterning all summer long. He’s still a homebody at this point. However, that will all likely soon change as he begins to wander in search of estrous does in the weeks ahead. For now, he’s still showing up on your trail cams in his regular routine. Make your move in October, while he’s still at home and available. He may be miles away when November rolls around.


Take advantage of the abundance of hunting opportunities you’ll find in the month of October. Don’t wait until November when the woods will experience a dramatic increase in hunting pressure. Keep the items mentioned above in mind and make your move now to kill a buck before the pressure of November comes into play. Stay safe – shoot straight – God bless.

Brodie Swisher

Brodie Swisher

Editorial Manager at Bowhunting.com
Brodie Swisher is a world champion game caller, outdoor writer, seminar speaker and Editor for Bowhunting.com. Brodie and his family live in the Kentucky Lake area of west Tennessee.
Brodie Swisher

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  1. Gavin Oldham says:

    I love this article! I went hunting this past weekend on my family’s land and there was no pressure, deer were moving A LOT, and I saw a couple of big bucks still hanging around that seem like ghosts in November. Had one good looking 4 by 4 standing just out of my comfortable crossbow range. Last year there was a 12 point buck hanging around during early season and then he almost disappeared during the rut. Thank you for this article!

  2. Richard Hall says:

    Amen! I’ve always said that the first 2 weeks of the season are the best time to target a big buck. They are still on a pattern and haven’t gone nocturnal yet. I love hunting the rut, but its kind of a crap shoot at times.

  3. Graham Sutherland says:

    In the last two years in the middle of October, I have killed the biggest bucks in my short 20-year life. They move more during day time to feed to prep for the rut. at least that is my experience.


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