For many deer hunters, the month of October is it. Me included. The weather is starting to change. Cool fronts are coming in. Bowhunting is in full swing, and archers are already bringing bucks in for mounting and public appreciation. The saws and meat grinders at the venison processors are whining at high speed. Anticipation for the upcoming gun season in November is whelming up inside hunters of every age and sex.

Time for the big deer season is really close.

But hang on a minute. Let's not waste this month and the few weeks into November before the gun season officially kicks off. Man, there is a lot of work to be done, so let's make use of the time.


Prudent scouting

"In reviewing some trail-camera photos that I captured last year, I noted one of the better bucks was photographed in mid-October over a fresh rub," said Trey Wahl, who hunted a lease near Clinton. "I initially thought it was a little early in Mississippi to be finding active rubs, but boy was I wrong. The more I looked around, the more rubs I found. It's a good time to scout, but be careful not to blow open the whole area with human scent."

It's really smart to use the same scent-control tactics now that you use during active hunting. Avoid clothing with human-scent contamination. Be sure to spray down all over with good scent killer like products from Wildlife Research or Primos.

Wear rubber boots, and be careful to keep your hands off of everything unless you're wearing gloves. Don't handle any rub tree. In fact, it's best to stand well back from a rub and view it through binoculars rather than walking right up to it. Keep hands off fences, trees, shrubs and other browse. The less scent left behind, the better.

Good places to hunt for rubs are along the edges of woods, across cutovers, on evergreen trees in the area, on trails beside creeks or ditches and around narrow funnels. Rubs can often be found in little islands of trees set apart from main sections of timber. Areas around shallow standing water are also good spots for buck rubbing. Be sure to look around the same places you found active rubs last year, too, because bucks are creatures of habit.

It may be premature to expect to see a scrape, but when it comes to deer behavior, one can never really know what might happen next. So be on the lookout for them, but again keep a safe distance away to keep from messing up the area.

All the time you scout now just about a month from gun season continue to evaluate potential new spots to hang another lock-on or ladder stand or to perhaps create a natural ground blind or a spot for a pop-up fabric blind.

Another thing is to keep an eye out for the food sources in the rub areas, too, especially foods that might be available late in the season during the rut. Remember the gig goes like this: Where a doe eats, the bucks show up to check things out. Food is the pivotal element.


While the clock ticks

The calendar days are rolling over, and the Timex never quits. In short order, deer hunters all over the state are going to wake up and discover tomorrow is hunting season. Then they rush into the garage or closets, and panic sets in. They can't find their hunting boots. That box with the deer calls, scents and other gadgets is nowhere to be found. Man, a tire is flat on the ATV, but the battery is dead anyway.

They open the last box of ammunition to find two rounds left. Now paranoia sets in, so just to be sure, they run a solvent-soaked patch down the barrel of their favorite deer rifle, and it comes out reddish brown. Uh, oh…

If this even remotely sounds like you, then you best get busy.

Where this is headed should be all too obvious. It's time to get off the duff, and get your act together. You'll feel better when it's all done and everything is ready to roll.

Start by making lists. Lay out the lists in a priority order. Then begin to chip away at them. Make one for hunting clothes, cold weather and rain gear, boots, waders, guns and shooting supplies, knives and game-cleaning tools, ice chests, optics, electronics, ATVs or UTVs, camp needs, hunting accessories like decoys, rattling antlers, game calls, doe scents, tree stands, safety harnesses, seat pads, tie down straps and such. Then don't forget flashlights, spotlights, tool kits, the first aid kit, insect repellent, gun cases, gun-cleaning kit with a strong barrel rod, personal bath kit and meds and extra batteries of all sizes. Surely I've left something out, but that will come to me the first day in deer camp.

October is a great month. Deer hunters like everything about it, even Halloween. But, of course, we're hoping not to spook any big bucks. The best way to get ahead of the game is to start checking off those deer hunting lists now. Worry about spooking the Booner later.