When the rut finally cuts loose in Illinois things can get a little chaotic and out of control. This is when the big boys go on the prowl and start busting out of the thickets, woodlots, and cornfields. On the other hand, during the middle of October things can look a lot different in the fabled big buck state. Many hunters refer to this period as the “October Lull” and connecting with a monster buck at this point in the season can be extremely tough. You can really have problems if you throw in a full moon along with acres of thick standing corn. A lot of the deer will be active primarily at night during this phase of the moon and will often bed in the middle of the cornfields before daylight. These are the conditions I faced last week in Illinois and the action was slow.
However, a local hunter was able to stick a nice chocolate-racked 14-point with his bow a few days before I arrived. Harold Ancell tagged this 160-class giant from a field-edge stand during the late evening hours. The buck’s rack was thick and massive with several unique kicker points. Ancell utilized a textbook feeding-to-bedding pattern to set his stand and intercept this impressive buck. The “October Lull” can be challenging, but establishing a pre-rut pattern and staying in the woods can pay off with a super stud buck.
Congratulations Harold on an awesome pre-rut hunt and good luck with the rest of your season. As for me, I may have to call in sick about the second week of November and drive back up to Illinois. Right now my tag feels like it’s burning a hole in my pocket!—Travis Faulkner