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I’ve always liked the first couple days of
November. The largest bucks I’ve gotten on trail cam in the daylight have been the last 5 days of October. This happens almost religiously every year. I really should start hunting the last full week of October. I have gotten some big ones during the middle of November too but definitely a lot less deer movement.
 

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Wow not many people hunting the last offered week in November? Most are cut off at the 14th? No 15th-19th???? If you want the big boy gotta hunt the last week men. With the exception of the first day miracle the month of October has always been a giant bust for me. I can count on both hands the amount of total deer I've seen on Halloween its been that bad. November is when the monsters start creeping out. By the third week they are out in full force. I'm a firm believer that they let the little bucks perform the fake October/early November rut.
In my opinion, the best chance of getting any legal buck is first week of Nov. The best chance of getting the biggest ‘known’ bucks in that general area is the second week of Nov. The third week in Nov is when you’ll see unknown giants roaming outside their areas since they already bred the majority of does and have to roam further for more. Trailcam data has consistently shown every year for several areas I hunt.
 

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I've shot 3 bucks in Pa that dressed over 200 pounds coming in to check scrapes. One of them came in to a grunt call and thrashed trees the whole way in.
I've shot a few others in October that dressed in the 180-191 pound range.

October 14th 2002 201 pounds Secluded scrape
October 14th 2004 191 pounds Secluded scrape Grunted in. Very aggressive
October 16th 2010 183 pounds Secluded scrape Snort wheezed at me. Snort wheezed at him. Killed him
October 17th 2017 200 pounds Secluded scrape
October 27th 2014 215 pounds Secluded scrape

Nov 5th 2020 185 pounds Tending a doe in secluded bedding
Nov 9th 2018 187 pounds Checking doe bedding area


All of these October bucks were killed over scrapes that were right on the edge of a buck bedding area. Does and young bucks were probably in the Ag fields for 2 hours before these bucks ever stood up out of their beds. These are the ones you see in the fields with your headlights on your drive home.
Mature bucks can be killed every day of the season, you just don't have much of a chance of killing them if you're hunting fields, doe bedding, and travel corridors outside of the rut.
 

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I've shot 3 bucks in Pa that dressed over 200 pounds coming in to check scrapes. One of them came in to a grunt call and thrashed trees the whole way in.
I've shot a few others in October that dressed in the 180-191 pound range.

October 14th 2002 201 pounds Secluded scrape
October 14th 2004 191 pounds Secluded scrape Grunted in. Very aggressive
October 16th 2010 183 pounds Secluded scrape Snort wheezed at me. Snort wheezed at him. Killed him
October 17th 2017 200 pounds Secluded scrape
October 27th 2014 215 pounds Secluded scrape

Nov 5th 2020 185 pounds Tending a doe in secluded bedding
Nov 9th 2018 187 pounds Checking doe bedding area


All of these October bucks were killed over scrapes that were right on the edge of a buck bedding area. Does and young bucks were probably in the Ag fields for 2 hours before these bucks ever stood up out of their beds. These are the ones you see in the fields with your headlights on your drive home.
Mature bucks can be killed every day of the season, you just don't have much of a chance of killing them if you're hunting fields, doe bedding, and travel corridors outside of the rut.

Good info. I totally agree and have had similar results.
 

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In my opinion, the best chance of getting any legal buck is first week of Nov. The best chance of getting the biggest ‘known’ bucks in that general area is the second week of Nov. The third week in Nov is when you’ll see unknown giants roaming outside their areas since they already bred the majority of does and have to roam further for more. Trailcam data has consistently shown every year for several areas I hunt.
Agreed. I've seen the most action and shot bucks during the first week of November. In my opinion, things start to slow down after the halfway point in the month. The rut happens the same time every year and you want to get in there when they are still cruising and before they lock down.
 

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The rut may happen the same time each year, but it’s a very dynamic process. If it weren’t, nobody would even bother discussing it, the facts would be the facts, and everyone would take the same days off.
The plethora of factors that effect everyday deer movement can make for a very intense or a very dull rut.
For instance, I’ll take 30 degrees the first week over 80 degrees the second week.
And I’ll take 30 degrees the second week over 80 degrees the first week.
If I had to choose, I’m taking the cool weather over the timing, because hot weather will keep does bedded and bedded does means buck movement is suppressed.
Cold weather, high pressure fronts, and certain moon phases cause deer to move.
I don’t care if it’s the first week of October or the last week of November…..I’m hunting it.
 

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It's completely random and localized, but the first week of Nov has been slow for me for a couple years now. I'm rolling the dice and traveling up for Nov. 6-13.

I also love referencing this... Actual data points on miles traveled by day of the months from PSU research team. It's three individual bucks tracked so small sample size, but amount traveled peaks consistently in the 2nd week. Good for seeing a lot of bucks if you've found the does, probably bad if you're targeting a specific one. https://ecosystems.psu.edu/research/projects/deer/news/2017/so-about-those-rut-movies
 

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They may not be running around quite as crazy as late October and the first two weeks of November but with that being said the 3rd week of November can still be excellent. A lot of doe have been bred by that point so a buck may have to search a little harder and by that time there may also not be as much lockdown . It’s all a matter of being in the right place at the right time and when you do happen to see a buck cruising or chasing during that 3rd week there is a good chance it could be a big one .
In my opinion there is just so many factors that go into the rut beyond weather and time frame and I put just as muck stock if not more into buck to doe ratio and hunting pressure .
The third week of November last year might of very well been my best rut action I ever had . I was hunting a area with hardly any hunting pressure and not a ton of deer . Also a lot of separation between bedding areas and it was cold . Because a lot of doe already came into estrous I believe the bucks were working harder and moving more to find the remaining ones in heat or ready to come to heat. Every sit I was seeing multiple bucks cruising at all hours of the day . More cruising than actual chasing .
Anyhow I am not saying the third week is the best but I would say it’s probably on par with the first two weeks of November . Just a matter of being in the right location.
 

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Just want to expand on another thought and I am sure some of you will think I am a idiot. Regardless I will put it out there anyhow. So my way of thinking is that a buck isn’t going to grow old on any kind of pressured public ground by running around haphazardly searching for doe during the first two weeks of November. I truly believe they still remain mostly nocturnal and do most of their breeding within the bedding areas . A mature buck will have command of the best bedding where he will be surrounded by doe and can monitor them all day without having to leave his security cover . Granted there may be a day or two where he will roam but he’s not doing it at all hours of the day every day . By the third week his options in his core area are becoming limited and as a result he will need to move more to seek out the remaining doe that are about to become in estrous. Perhaps this is why a lot of guys comment about seeing giants in that third week ? I know even before I got into archery I noticed this phenomenon while out there small game hunting or driving down the road .
I know I am no wildlife biologist. Just a personal theory of mine .
 

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I spent alot of time hunting into late November over the years, Ohio's season doesn't stop like ours does. The first thru the tenth is when I've the best buck movement, and I saw and shot some whoppers during that 10 day period. After the tenth things slowed down noticeably, and by the 20th you hardly knew the rut was still happening. I will admit I did see some whoppers during late November, but not much buck activity as a whole.

In 1988(iirc) I hunted the week of thanksgiving, all day every day, except for about 4 hours mid day on thanksgiving. The weather was crappy, 30's and 40's with rain and snow at times, gloomy all week. Friday at about 11 o'clock I saw my first deer of the week, a 206# eleven point. I hunted the same stands that week where I'd seen buck after buck earlier in November, but hardly any activity later in the season. Most years I hunted late into November I had similar results as far as seeing much buck activity, few and far between. Ymmv.

As far as hunting October, I don't hunt much til the week of halloween. But some of the best big buck slayers I know consistantly kill them in mid October.
 

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It's pretty interesting though to break down the movements and times the bucks traveled in the PSU study. It appears they are up on their feet almost constantly even if they're only moving 100 yards.......at all times of the day. This is encouraging!
I wonder how many does a typical buck breeds in a season. Every time you see a little blob of pings indicating limited movement from the 3rd week of October on......is he tending a doe? It's plausible.

As far as the movement and roaming of bucks in the 3rd week, I've read in these PSU studies that the biologist were attributing it to a massive influx of human intrusion, displacing these deer from their normal ranges.
What are all these people doing in the woods all the sudden? Going up to deer camp and checking on stands for the rifle opener!
 

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Mebey that's why I saw so little activity in late November, I was the only guy in the woods in late November, all the deer hunters came to Pa in those days.
 

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I broke it up this year. I took Nov 3 - 5 off at work which will also give me the last 4 days of bear. Then from Veteran's day through that weekend. Also have off the end of the early ML season since son #2 can still use a rifle then for doe, but I may just carry the bow.
 

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I don't have a lot of vacation like I used to and we are super busy at work. Unless I quit my job before the rut and that's a good possibility I'm not going to have the time to hunt like I used to. Still going to get some hunting in the first two weeks of November, but I may not be hunting Wayne National in Ohio like I used to.
 

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I don't have a lot of vacation like I used to and we are super busy at work. Unless I quit my job before the rut and that's a good possibility I'm not going to have the time to hunt like I used to. Still going to get some hunting in the first two weeks of November, but I may not be hunting Wayne National in Ohio like I used to.
What’s your thoughts on the 3rd week of November if you don’t mind me asking because like yellodog you have a good bit of experience and have been very successful . I really value your guys opinions being that you have been archery hunting a little longer than I have and have hunted that 3rd week more .
Maybe I was just lucky during the 3rd week of November last year . I will say however some of the biggest bucks I have ever seen in Pennsylvania has been during that week . It also appeals to me because hunting pressure seems to drop way off because guys don’t want to burn their vacation during that time frame . Last season I was getting a little annoyed trying to avoid other hunters but by the 3rd week it was like guys weren’t even aware we could still be out there hunting. That kind of low pressure is right up my alley and I am perfectly fine with sacrificing a week of better deer movement knowing I will have the woods mostly to myself.
Anyhow I am extremely optimistic about the 3rd week of November this season.
 

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We are so busy at work that I have only taken a few individual days this year. We even skipped the beach this summer. I am taking some days off in October to go riding with my son and some family and friends at the Hatfield McCoy trails in W.V. If work stays too busy I'll get out a few days here and there. Good luck to everyone this season. Happy belated birthday Steel.
 

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I used to always head to Wayne National after Pa season closed and hunt the 3rd week of November every year. I've seen slow times and I've also seen crazy rutting and chasing that 3rd week. One thing is for sure if I saw a mature buck by himself cruising checking for does it was almost automatic you could grunt him in, mature bucks at that time are really susceptible to calling. I just keep grinding every chance I can be in the woods from early season to late Muzzy here or late archery in Ohio and eventually things seem to work out.
 

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What’s your thoughts on the 3rd week of November if you don’t mind me asking because like yellodog you have a good bit of experience and have been very successful . I really value your guys opinions being that you have been archery hunting a little longer than I have and have hunted that 3rd week more .
Maybe I was just lucky during the 3rd week of November last year . I will say however some of the biggest bucks I have ever seen in Pennsylvania has been during that week . It also appeals to me because hunting pressure seems to drop way off because guys don’t want to burn their vacation during that time frame . Last season I was getting a little annoyed trying to avoid other hunters but by the 3rd week it was like guys weren’t even aware we could still be out there hunting. That kind of low pressure is right up my alley and I am perfectly fine with sacrificing a week of better deer movement knowing I will have the woods mostly to myself.
Anyhow I am extremely optimistic about the 3rd week of November this season.
I had success similar to you last year. The third week the flood gates flew open and it was a dang buck parade. I also have years of trail camera data showing the third week of November was always the best for getting the monsters on camera in the daylight very frequently. I think it varies place to place as to when the deer come in heat and the ratios. For my mountain ground the third week is always best. Funny thing is Halloween is usually a bust. I normally get skunked on that day lol.
 
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