Deer movement increases in October throughout South Carolina

This month is transition time for bucks

According to biologist Charles Ruth of SCDNR, one of the first things a hunter needs to understand is the biological change that causes deer to move a lot during October. Unlike humans, it’s not because of the cool breezes and comfortable temperature. Basically, it’s biological.

Ruth said that early to mid-October is when deer really begin to move a lot in most areas of the state.

“Our detailed records of deer activity show that from Oct. 20 until Nov. 10, over half of all the deer conceptions occur and the peak rut is on,” Ruth said. “But the weeks immediately prior to that will constitute a dramatic change from previous deer activity, a change that is good for the adaptive hunter. The reason is simple. Bucks are transitioning from summer or early season patterns and are actually ready for the rut by late-September and early October. But only a small percentage of does are receptive during that time.

A scrape and rub close together is a sign of buck activity when deer are moving.

“During this time, there’s a lot of bucks moving, looking for only a few receptive does. This period offers what I consider among the best opportunities to see and take bucks. It is the time of year that I personally prefer to hunt, based on years of hunting and having first-hand knowledge of lots of deer being harvested.”

Ruth said that because deer move a lot, they are moving throughout the day, and both morning and evening hunting are often good, as well as the middle of the day.

“I know some hunters who pack a lunch and stay in the stand most of the day,” he said.”Most of them select areas where they can see considerable distances and a variety of terrain and use their binoculars a lot to spot deer movements. And for those dedicated to sit and hunt, their patience is often rewarded.”

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About Terry Madewell 812 Articles
Award-winning writer and photographer Terry Madewell of Ridgeway, S.C., has been an outdoors writer for more than 30 years. He has a degree in wildlife and fisheries management and has a long career as a professional wildlife biologist/natural resources manager.