If you still have a tag in your pocket when late season hits, you may be in luck! I’ve always been a huge fan of late season hunting for whitetails. This can be a very productive time of the year. Below are four proven tips that I’ve used to find success as seasons begin winding down.
- Food & Water Source– When late season hits, bucks will be back on a pattern. The rut has bucks running all over and they become very unpredictable. Once late season hits their number one goal is to fill up on groceries and get their weight back up. Bucks are seriously run down after the rut and they know it’s going to take food to get ready for winter. I’ve found many deer will bed close to a food source during this time of year to maximize their food intake and minimize the burning of calories. This can be a huge advantage to you when hunting. Find a food source that deer are hitting on a regular basis. Scout this area before hunting so you can see where most deer are entering and exiting the field. Also note what time they are heading out to the field so you can plan accordingly. One important tip to remember is when you do go in to hunt…be extremely quiet. Deer are usually quite close to a food source so be careful not to push them out when you get on stand.
- Trail Cameras– If you don’t have time to get out and scout, a great solution is taking the time to put up a few trail cameras. I like having cameras out because you can not only see what type of bucks are left on your property, but you can also get an idea of when they’re moving. Another great part of this is even if you do have time to scout, cameras allow you to be watching several places at once!
- Hunting Afternoons– As a rule I quit hunting mornings when late season hunts. It’s not that I become a lazy hunter, it’s just important to make certain I am hunting the right times and not doing more damage than good. Use time wisely and it won’t take long to understand that afternoons are much more productive in the late season
- Keep Yourself Warm & Comfortable– Finally all these tips can help you determine when and where deer are coming out, but most importantly you need to keep yourself warm and comfortable. If you’re not, you’ll be moving and not staying still which will severely hurt your chances of success. A couple things I can recommend are using hot hands and hand muffs to keep hands warm. I like to wear thin gloves but keep my hands in a muff to stay warm. Next, a neck gaiter is key. I always keep a neck gaiter in my backpack year-round, but late season is the most important. It can be pulled up to keep your face warm in cold and windy conditions. But mixed with a stocking hat and a hood, you’ll be amazed how much heat will stay in and keep you warm. It’s important to keep your body warm and this can be achieved by layering up and keeping a heat source on you. I put ThermaCare wraps on my kidneys and neck. These were made for people who need muscle relief but are extremely helpful in hunting situations because they provide contestant heat that lasts for over 12 hours. Lastly, feet are a difficult area to keep warm. I’ve tried so many boots and usually my toes are still cold. The way I combat this is to put some sort of boot blanket over my boots with a hot hands in there as well. There are numerous companies who make a boot blanket that simply zip over and keep you very warm.