Many of us spend the first few weeks of the season hunting over or near food sources such as soybeans, corn or food plots. This can be a successful tactic in the early season as the deer are patternable and find those foods attractive. As the calendar turns to October I shift my focus to ridge tops or oak flats loaded with acorns. The deer may still be making there way to the big fields to feed on the food plots and agriculture crops; however given a choice between traveling a great distance between bedding/security and feeding areas, or simply hanging out in a secure area with all the food you could eat, there's little reason for the deer to put themselves in potential danger by going elsewhere for food. The acorn is low in protein content, but very high in fats and carbohydrates. They are easily digestible, their nutrients are readily absorbed, and they are processed and passed through the body quickly. The deer use these magical nuts to pack on the weight prior to the rut and winter.
Scout, Scout, Scout
Many deer hunters think that every free second they have needs to be spent in the stand hunting. I too catch myself doing this year after year. Just last season I hunted a spot I thought was a hot spot during the rut on a yearly basis. It wasn’t until after the season ended when I was assessing the property I noticed all the sign shifted 100 yards to the south. It might not seem like a great distance but it’s so thick I couldn’t hear or see any of the action I was missing.
You scouted all summer and patterned the deer down right? Guess what, more times than not the deer have shifted their patterns since those summer or early season scouting trips. To keep up on the top areas for sign, freshest scrapes, rubs and trails you need to devote a couple scheduled hunting trips during October to scouting your property. Move your set-ups to where the deer are, don't wait for the deer to come to you! Most Importantly don’t forget to bring your bow on these scouting missions as you never know what you may sneak up on!