September 15 –\u00a0October 15Throughout much of their northern range whitetails curtail their activity drastically during late September through mid-October.\u00a0 This is why hunters refer to this period as the October lull.\u00a0 It\u2019s almost like they are resting up for the coming rigors of November\u2019s rut.\u00a0 Does, on the other hand, seem to continue their normal movement patterns. \u00a0With doe sightings high and buck sightings low, hunting the pre-rut period can be very frustrating.\u00a0 However, there is a bright side to hunting the mid to late September time period.\u00a0 During this time a few bucks may still be in bachelor groups.\u00a0 In many cases these bachelor groups will be made up of a dominant buck and one or two yearlings.Bucks spend much of their time bedded in the early season\u00a0due to the warm temps and their heavy coats.Unlike the rut, when buck activity can be high throughout the day, deer activity during the pre-rut or early season, can be very sporadic.\u00a0 This is due to the warm temperatures that often occur during this time.\u00a0 Consequently, it\u2019s no surprise that deer sightings are relatively low in early autumn.\u00a0 I refer to this as the \u201cfur factor.\u201d\u00a0 With a heavy fur coat and no sweat glands, a whitetail cannot tolerate heat and is forced to keep its daytime activity to a minimum.\u00a0 I\u2019ve observed that both bucks and does often remain in one bed for up to 4 hours before rising to relieve themselves or move around when temperature are on the rise.\u00a0 Even when they do get up, they may only move a few yards before bedding again.RELATED: Why the October Lull?For the last 20 years deer biologist Wayne Laroche (Commissioner of Wildlife for Pennsylvania) and I have been involved in a study dealing with deer movement throughout autumn.\u00a0 Using much of today\u2019s technology we\u2019ve discovered that when air temperatures rise above 50-55 degrees in the North during September and October deer activity is significantly curtailed.\u00a0 As mentioned in my previous article, Hunting the Early Season Shift, hunting the last two hours of the daylight is the best option from late September through mid-October because the temperature should be dropping, causing deer to hit food sources after being bedded since dawn.RELATED: 3\u00a0Must Use Weather ToolsDuring this period a whitetail\u2019s world revolves around bedding and feeding.\u00a0 What rutting activity does occur amounts to bucks working scrape licking branches and making a few rubs. \u00a0Their interest in does is nearly non-existent, unless the odd doe happens to cycle into estrus earlier than normal.October 15 through DecemberWhen late October arrives the whitetail rut is born.\u00a0 Though it begins slowly it\u2019s the most exciting time of year to be a deer hunter. \u00a0By Halloween it\u2019s not uncommon for testosterone fused bucks to double the amount of ground they cover.\u00a0 In some cases, their range will expand up to 2,000 acres by November 1st, a 1,000 acre or more increase from September 1st.Bucks will drastically expand their ranges during the rut while they search for hot doesIn the North scraping will begin to be seen around prime food sources and travel corridors by early October. \u00a0Near month\u2019s end scraping behavior will explode and remain high until breeding kicks in.\u00a0 When working a scrape\u2019s overhanging branch, a buck deposits scent from his nasal, preorbital and forehead gland.\u00a0 Once he\u2019s done working the branch he will urinate over his tarsal glands leaving scent from both tarsal and interdigital glands in the bare earth beneath the branch.\u00a0 Both scraping and rubbing are the chief ways for bucks to telegraph their presence to other deer in the area.RELATED: Understanding Scrape BehaviorBy the end of October, rub sightings will be on the increase with each passing day.\u00a0 If an area has a good population of mature bucks, rubbing sign will be near peak during the first half of November.\u00a0 Around the first week in November, daytime buck sightings will begin ramping up.\u00a0 One aspect of the 20 year study project Wayne Laroche and I are conducting has to do with deer car collisions.\u00a0 An interesting discovery of this study is that the week either side of November\u2019s full moon produces roughly twice as many deer car collisions as any other time of year.\u00a0 In my book, Strategies for Whitetails I refer to this as the Rutting Moon, which is November 14th this year.Based on what we\u2019ve learned bucks will begin covering a lot of ground in early November. In farm country, if the doe population is high and has plentiful food, bucks may only cover 1-2,000 acres.\u00a0 But in remote regions, where doe numbers are low, telemetry studies have shown that rut-crazed bucks can cover 4,000 or more acres as they roam looking for a doe to breed.By mid-November breeding will intensify and go full-throttle through Thanksgiving with bucks locked on to estrous does.\u00a0 Commonly known as the rut\u2019s lock down, buck sightings will be tough to come by until the tail end of November, unless you have a hot doe near your stand. The preferred hunting strategy now will be to concentrate on known concentrations of does and prime food sources.Once December 1st arrives, about 90% of the breeding will be complete.\u00a0 Stressed from the rigors of the rut bucks now move into what I call the recovery stage.\u00a0 Rather than searching for estrus does many bucks will cover little ground and spend most daylight hours bedded until a few hours before nightfall, when they gravitate to prime food sources.\u00a0 From this point until antler casting (January \u2013 March) food drives whitetails, with the last two hours of the daylight being the prime time to see deer.