When it comes to hunting mature whitetail bucks, your best chance of tagging a true giant might actually come before November, during the pre-rut stage that comprises the "October lull.
As the sun began to set in the western sky, a slight chill came over me from the first northwesterly breeze of the season. I had been patiently waiting for this particular wind since the season opener 18 days ago. The quarter moon peaked high in the evening sky, another sign the time had come, my agonizing wait was over. I wanted everything to be just right before hunting this stand for the first time, and tonight was the night!
As I surveyed the surroundings from my elevated perch, I felt confident that the giant buck I was after was bedded close by, somewhere in the high weeds that bordered the thin strip of cover I had chosen for my ambush. The rub line of freshly shredded trees and newly opened scrapes I passed on the way in to my stand reinforced in my mind that I was in the right spot.
As the setting sun neared the horizon, I picked up my rattling horns and began a short sequence, not too aggressive, but with enough force to let the boss know someone was messing around in his territory. I had barely set down my antlers and reached for my bow when I heard it -- the unmistakeable sound of an approaching deer -- and it was coming fast. I slowly turned to face the sound and positioned myself for a shot at the trail that passed directly beneath my stand. As the crunching of dry leaves underfoot became louder, I strained to see a flash of brown coming through the timber. As the deer closed the distance on my position, his whole body came into view, and atop his head was the biggest set of antlers I had ever seen in my life!
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