September 27, 2006 - Admin

Mid-October Lull (Bowhunting)

Have you ever wondered, what happened to all the deer that you were seeing in early October? Why after about the first ten days in October the deer you were seeing have all but disappeared?

Why you ask? There are a few reasons for this, but first I need to tell you that an average deer eats about 8 to 11 pounds of food each day, that’s about 1 to 2 tons of food each year. Most of their food comes from natural food sources, such as; acorns, leaves, pine needles, wild berries and lichens. This is a key to pinpointing deer movements during the slow times in middle October.

Regardless of how fast the feed seems to disappear from your feeders, sixty percent of a deer’s diet comes from natural food. Something many hunters either forget or sometimes never learn is how to identify when deer crave natural foods. In Northern forests, lichens become a favorite food source in mid to late autumn or until the white oak acorns start to fall. When all the white oak acorns have been eaten, the deer move to the red oaks to feast on their acorns.

Probably, most early October hunters are hunting areas that are hand planted by man and the deer will learn this by hunters leaving tell tale signs like their scent or sightings. Deer will then start feeding nearer their bedding grounds on natural foods. Deer need to feed about every four hours, allowing their four stomachs to regurgitate and predigest their food.

This time of the year (early to mid-October) is the best time to take a doe. The reason being, does are not as skittish as later on when they are wise to the hunter. If you are successful in harvesting a doe at this time, you can study the contents of the food in their stomach. Studying stomach contents will explain what types of food they are eating and where you should to be bowhunting deer at this time of the year.

Bucks are also starting to become more competitive, I have found that calling with a grunt call or a bleater can is very effective while bowhunting this time of the season. Also, you may rattle antlers lightly.

The younger bucks are trying to figure out their dominance and how well they rank in that particular part of their home front. This causes the bigger bucks to be curious enough to check out who is in their neck of the woods.

Learning what deer eat when they seem to disappear in mid-October will definitely help your chances of being successful during your bowhunting deer season. Three additional things to investigate are:

  • Where do they bed

  • What are they feeding on
  • Where are they moving to and from during daylight hours

Your sightings of deer during the lull of mid-October bowhunting season will improve when you learn more about the invisible menu of the Whitetail’s diet. Enhance your chances with these hints!

My name is Ted Lake and I’m building a website in memory of my dad Deuaine Lake. This site is all about Archery and Archery Hunting. My dad started me hunting when I was 5 years old (1956) and I’ve continued to teach both my boys the same respect for the sport of archery. You are welcome to visit my free website at

Ted Lake

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