Contrary to popular belief, October is not the first month of deer season

Some folks think October is the first month of deer season.


Sure, archery season opens, followed by youth hunts, hunting with muzzleloaders and then real guns — a whole 100 page brochure’s worth of special hunts, dates, seasons and yada, yada, yada…

But sorry folks. For those of you who don’t truly understand today’s modern deer hunters, October is the tenth month of the deer season.

Even though the previous year’s official deer season runs into January in some parts, January is actually the first month of the deer season. That’s because to serious deer hunters, deer season is a twelve-month a year pursuit. Here’s the way it goes.

By January, most hunters have already taken most of their vacation time and most of the deer they will harvest. The holidays offer a few heavy hunting days, but unless you continue to hunt an elusive trophy buck or try to fill the freezer with a late season doe, there’s not as much pressure to stay in the woods from before daylight until after dark.

Not as mad

It’s the month that deer hunters borrow the old saying from fishermen: “I’m not as mad at them as I was.”

February is deer hunting payback month. It’s the month where you have to pay your dues for all those days you spent preparing for hunting and actual time in the woods and at the hunting camp. It’s a two-edge sword. Payback begins at home, where the honey-do list has grown and patience for putting off those much needed items has shortened. So get them done. And you also have to sneak in time to do your own honey-do list: clean your guns; wash and organize your clothes; put all those random shells and bullets back in the correct boxes; clean the mud off…well, clean the mud off every thing you own.

Then come March and April. It’s time to go fishing, but only if February payback is complete. And for a deer hunter, that means finally breaking down and cleaning your guns if you haven’t done this already. Seriously. Don’t quit ignoring that. It’s one of the most serious season follow-up items and for some reason it’s one that some hunters put off the longest.

May and June are good months to adjust the trail cameras, follow up on some late season trail work and starting to pick good spots for later in the year if this year didn’t pan out.

It’s also time to start inspecting the stands and making sure they are in good shape. If you are a box stand hunter, it’s okay to spray the corners with wasp spray and make sure all the openings are closed so a buzzard won’t roost and reproduce in your stand. There is nothing more nasty than a deer stand turned buzzard roost/nursery.

Slow month

July is the slow month for deer hunters, but there is still work to be done. Mainly catch up on the things you haven’t done yet and take time to knock that honey-do list down to zero so you can at least start off the upcoming season in good standing.

August is bush-hog and shooting lane cleanup time. Mother Nature is always trying to throw us a curve, so we have to combat that by sprucing.

September is celebration month. It’s the month you get to make that last monthly payment for all that deer gear you bought on 12 months, no interest this month last year. It’s time to start over again!

You just have to get out in the woods and see what’s going on in September. And if you plant food plots, listen up. If we’ve had some rain, the LSU Ag center recommends this: Always include clovers and peas in your winter mix since they are legumes and they can manufacture nitrogen on their roots and this nitrogen can be used by the other plants. I would recommend that most food plots be planted by the third week of September, since October is one of the driest months of the year.

Fair game

And here we are again — October.  It’s the tenth month of deer season and deer are fair game and Louisiana hunters are up and at ‘em.

According to figures from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, around 227,200 hunters spent about 4.4 million days afield during the 2022-23 deer hunting seasons. In the last measured season, hunters harvested around 190,000 deer. Almost all the numbers showed increases over the previous year, which had shown fairly large increases as well. The total number of deer hunters increased 9.1%; days spent deer hunting was up 24.1%; days spent hunting with modern firearms dropped 12%; but days  spent archery hunting was up 62.9%.

The first shot

Archers and muzzleloaders always get the first shot. Archery used to be a passing thought, but popularity of hunting with a bow and arrow has taken off as the stats above show. Many kids are learning to hunt with a bow and arrow before even using guns. Older hunters have so many options for crossbows that they have joined it too.

It’s not necessarily politically correct, but I have always felt like if a bow and arrow was better than a gun, we would all be Indians. But had Native Americans had the same type of archery equipment hunters do today, things might be different.

October blends right in with November and December to form a single “month” that we call deer season. If you want to find a good plumber, painter or carpenter, good luck. They are probably booked up these three months unless it’s a serious emergency. And you can say the same for men and women of all walks of life. It’s deer season. The last months of the year are marked by noticeable increased auto gasoline bills from running the roads, lack of sleep from getting up way too early way too often and other signs. But hopefully there’s also the reward of a freezer full of fresh venison or a new rack for the camp wall.

And hopefully, a few new good memories with friends and family that make this year long pursuit worth the time and money you put into it.

About Kinny Haddox 578 Articles
Kinny Haddox has been writing magazine and newspaper articles about the outdoors in Louisiana for 45 years. He publishes a daily website, and is a member of the Louisiana Chapter of the Outdoor Legends Hall of Fame. He and his wife, DiAnne, live in West Monroe.

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