The best whitetail hunting of the year is occurring right now through the first 10 days of November. It doesn't matter if you're armed with a firearm, bow or muzzleloader ... now is the time to be out and after those crazy whitetails. And don't forget the muleys, either—they also tend to get goofy this time of year.
What gives? Deer are in the pre-rut and looking for love. Unfortunately, the does are not ready to give back, and that makes for a lot of antsy bucks roaming the woods and fields. While hunting the last 2 weeks, I saw the first glimmers of bucks interested in does, and it's just going to get better as the days pass.
If you want to get the most out of this window of opportunity, use the following tips:
1. Use your calls. Grunts and bleats offer subtle messages of invitation, and rattling throws out a long-range invitation. I use the Hunter's Specialties True Talker grunt tube because I can use it for both grunts and bleats.
2. Set up a mock scrape. These are perfect to attract attention to your stand site and distract a buck when it approaches, giving you plenty of time to draw an arrow undetected or settle your gun sight. I made one over the weekend, complete with a dripper, so it should be active when I return to bowhunt in 2 weeks. Code Blue Scents offers Grave Digger scented soils, including their Scrape Mate for mock scrapes, which lasts for 30 days.
3. Use a decoy. If you are having trouble getting bucks into bow range, set up a decoy to lure them in closer. A buck decoy is best now, because bucks are establishing dominance and cementing pecking order.
4. Hunt a lot. The more time you put in, the higher your odds for bumping into one of these roaming bucks. Pope and Young Club records show that more bucks are taken in this time period than any other.