Friday, December 28, 2012

Late Season Bow Hunting

Late-season hunting can be very challenging. However, understanding the deer’s behavioral and physiological adaptations can be a great help. Next, toss in some nasty weather and a prime food source. Suddenly, late season becomes a great time to be in the deer woods.

Winter Deer Habits
Especially in very snowy climates, whitetail deer tend to minimize their movements in order to maximize their energy efficiency. This means they travel between food, water and bed almost exclusively.  Activity will slow down in these conditions as well. Once you figure out where deer are bedding on your property, make very straight paths between there to your food plot or a water source. Deer are more likely to try to conserve energy by using pre-determined paths, so one of these corridors may well be your key to bagging your late season buck. Using game cameras during this time is vital. Deer will relocate due to cover reduction, coyotes, food sources, and hunting pressure. Where you thought that big buck was living may not be the case now.  I am trying to identify where these bucks are living based on available cover, food sources and pressure. Once I have done this knowing a shooter is in the area I will focus on stand placement between bedding and food source.

Hunt In and After Storms
If you are stalking bedding areas, consider hunting during winter or rain storms. When the snow is coming down and the wind is blowing, it’s hard for deer to keep track of everything going on around them. It’s easy to catch a whitetail off guard when the weather is making things more confusing. After storms, deer will tend to seek out food. Keep an eye on your food plots after a storm, and you may find the monsters coming straight to you. With that said many times mature deer will stage up before dark. Place your stand off of the food source to catch him during shooting hours if needed.
Even in the late season, whitetail hunting can still be excellent. Keep warm and keep thinking like a deer, and you may find the late season to be even better hunting than the rut. Lastly and maybe just as important as food sources is managing the WIND. This is been a key to success and that is hunting only if the conditions are right. Don’t minimize your efforts by hunting a bad wind. Have several stands set up so you can still hunt but with a good wind. Good luck!