- Chris Campanelli
The Arrival of Sweet November
Sweet November is officially upon us. For bowhunters and even some gun hunters across America, that basically means the Super Bowl of the whitetail deer hunting season. The period of the year that we dream about just about every other month of the year. Nothing says deer hunting like the first two or three weeks of November.
Those first few weeks of November signify the rut cycle across large portions of the Midwest and Upper-Midwest. Heck, we are already seeing a ton of rutting activity from the pre-rut phase of late October. The time is now when it comes to intense action and entertaining hunting.
Simply put, if you are a deer hunter and you want a crack at a big buck, you better be making reservations at your nearest treestand. Point blank.
November is all about pulling those all-day sits, planning your vacation days and sick time around the rut, and hunting so hard that you barely want to hunt in December or January. Until it's December and January, of course. You get the point. We're about to embark on the most intense phase of the hunting season.
That calls for celebration and preparation.
You know we will be celebrating the joys of Sweet November all month long here at AO, and we will always be helping to get you prepared with interesting tips and ideas. It's what we do. Thus, I wanted to do something of a general, surface-level checklist for the November hunter. Something that will give us a launching pad for the weeks ahead.
Treestand Time is King
Want to make the most of your November? Well, take as many hunts as possible. Now, you still have to be smart about wearing out the same stand for days on end. However, this is the time of year when you want to be in your best spots as much as possible. You can't be afraid to hunt hard if you want some November success.
Intel is Less Important (Kind Of)
All year long you have heard us and many others preaching intelligence. Gaining as much information as possible on a big buck or several bucks. Information is always good, but it's not king in November. I'm talking more about trail camera pictures, which can be deceiving at this point in the season. The best intelligence you can get in November comes from having your butt in a stand. Trail cameras can yield a lot of false hope with night-time pics of big bucks that are simply traveling through. They aren't useless by any means, but think about hunting over scouting without a doubt.
Let's face it, every hunter likes to be as aggressive as possible. It's just that we aren't able to be super aggressive most of the time. All of that changes in November. Calling becomes relevant, scents become relevant, and all of the worries can drift away for a bit. You can decoy, grunt, rattle and not scare away every deer in the woods. We now have two (1,2) success stories from friends of Affiliated Outdoors who had success with calling and hunting aggressively. Take note.
Don't Get Too Serious
Let's cap this off with a reminder that life is bigger than hunting and the outdoors. While we love the outdoors dearly, pushing the envelope and hunting too hard can make you absolutely dread it. Don't let all of those big buck pictures and crazy stories get you off of your game. As we know, we won't all have the opportunity to kill a giant this November. In fact, most of us will go home empty-handed, with a smaller but respectable buck, or maybe with a doe.
That is OK! Don't let everyone else set your expectations. Enjoy November for what is truly is. It's the best month for simply observing deer movement and activity. Soak it all in by getting out as much as possible and enjoying the show. Avoid the pressure and negativity that can come from constantly checking social media to see the next monster buck.
It is my belief that we will each get an opportunity at some point or another. So long as we hunt hard, hunt proper, and have a little luck on our side.
May your arrow or bullet fly straight, and may you have a prosperous Sweet November!