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October lull

September 25, 2020 by Dale Streubel

As we begin to enter October you will notice  a particular peacefulness that settles over the woods. The changing color of the leaves never cease to amaze a person at the beauty mother nature creates from year to year.

The animals are beginning to grow their winter fur, while enjoying a bountiful supply of food.

When it comes to a whitetail, this is the time of year that begins another transition for them. They already are growing their winter coat, which can alter their amount of activity during the warm October days ahead. Once again their diet may change as other foods develop. As instinct is telling them to eat as much as possible before the winter. They are finding mushrooms to be a delicacy, while also snacking on catkins, which are basically a 1-inch fruit stem hanging on hazel brush. What becomes interesting is the amount of fallen leaves they will devour.

The reason the leaves become such a tasty morsel to a whitetail is that when cooler temperatures set in, the minerals and water stop circulating in a tree, which consequently trap a certain amount of sugar and carbohydrates in the leaves. This also means that different pigments take over from chlorophyll. For example: the color red in a leaf is a pigment called anthocyanins, while the pigment in a yellow leaf is called xanthophyll and the orange in a leaf is called carotene.

What I have always found interesting is the fact of a whitetail being color blind, and yet they will groom the forest floor in search of a red maple leaf in preference to others. I am assuming the amount of sugar content in that particular leaf has created quite the delicacy in demand and has a particular odor that a deer has conditioned themselves to remember.

A person in pursuit of a whitetail during the “lull” period, can be very challenging. To give you a simple analogy of what takes place this time of year in the woods is to ask yourself how you would feel after eating a large meal while wearing a winter coat in 60 degree weather. It simply does not pay to wear out a good hunting area this time of the season, when knowing that in another three weeks or so, a deer will go into another exciting transition that you will not want to miss.

Now, with that being said, there are special times during “The Lull” you may see a definite increase in activity in the woods. When you notice a cold front entering with a temperature drop of 10 degrees or more, and barometric pressure is on the rise, this is the time to be there because animals will generally be on the move.

The next three weeks are a time when a person could simply be taking a walk through the woods, checking new areas, and if you are a devoted fisherman, it will be prime time for muskies and walleyes also.

In all actuality, the October “lull” to many people can be seen as the best time of the fall.

Good luck!

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