Right now the 2018 harvest season looks like it is going to end sometime in 2020. This creates an obstacle for both hunting and scouting deer. Typically there are not a lot of deer to see until the crops get harvested, but this year there may be no other option but to hunt standing corn and beans. Here is a game plan for the 2018 week of the October lull and plenty of standing crops.
The nice thing about crops remaining in is that deer will move later in the day when they can use corn as cover. And also, because the deer have experienced less pressure due to fewer hunters being out and about they tend to be less timid. Be ready to not see a deer until 8:30 or 9. The buck in the cover photo of this blog is walking a fence line between two cornfields at 10:30. The past three hunts I haven’t seen anything until 8:30 and I believe this is because the deer are still pretty comfortable feeding late into the morning.
If you can see deer feeding in a bean or alfalfa field, but it isn’t anywhere near a timber, or your known bedding area or your typical stands aren’t producing, there are a few options you can do.
There are likely more deer in the feeding location than you know, and the key is to find the unknown travel corridors the deer are now using. The deer are likely to walk along the edge of the corn to minimize the effort they have to put forth while maintaining cover at close proximity. Find a soybean or alfalfa field that has a fence-line leading to a timber with corn on each side of the fence and you are sure to have deer walking by late into the morning. It can be difficult to get to these locations without bumping deer because they some will bed in the crops or start feeding very early in the day. Your best bet may be to carry your tree stand with you early in the morning while the deer are feeding out in the bean field far from the fence line.
Put a few mock scrapes with trail cameras along fence lines that are between corn fields to try to get some reconnaissance on possible new travel routes. You may have to try a few fence lines with trail cameras first, but there will be deer moving along these.
Another good option is to hunt a bean field as soon as it is harvested. When beans fall to the ground they soak up water and are easier for deer to eat off the ground. Two years ago I used this strategy to shoot my doe and saw a nice eight point as well.
This time of year can be frustrating because of the lull, the rain, and the standing crops but it is not a lost cause, whitetail can be hunted effectively this week.