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Top Ten Tips for Deer Hunting Late in the Season

  1. Cover Your Scent
    Late season mature bucks are going to be very wary at this time of year. Most of their buddies have probably been harvested, so be sure you’re using field spray or some sort of scent block clothing. We recommend treating late season like close range bow hunting.
  2. Check Game Cameras
    Are the big bucks only coming out at night or do you have one or two that are showing up at dawn in dusk? If it’s the latter, try and pattern these deer to see if you can catch one off-guard.
  3. Look for Fresh Trails
    Get off the beaten trail. Often, deer will completely change up the path they take to food plots or feeders late in the season. If there has been a lot of disturbance throughout the season, they may abandon the worn out trails altogether that you saw earlier in the season.
  4. Watch the Does
    Keep a constant eye on the feeding does in your area. If other whitetails are in the area, they will look towards the oncoming commotion. It may be an approaching dominate buck.
  5. Eye the Fence Lines
    Look for tangled or loose barbed wire that may not have been there earlier in the season. This may be a new crossing. Hunt away from the fence towards a wooded area and be sure you have a clear shot at any open areas.
  6. Scatter Corn or Use Salt Licks
    Deer in the late season are pretty spooky and you usually only have a few seconds to get a good shot off. A lot of hunters miss or wound deer by trying to shoot them walking. Your best bet of spotting and shooting a deer is while they’re stopped, so prepare ahead of time by chumming corn or other attractants such as mineral licks to stall deer walking on a trail.
  7. Hunt the Moon
    Winter is cold and dark and typically filled with days containing lots of cloud cover. When the moon is dark, whitetails are normally more active in the later morning when they have better visibility and it warms up. Plan on staying out until noon if you can.
  8. Wait for a Buck
    Unless your fridge is empty, it’s the last evening hunting of the season, and visibility is getting low, or you’re just out of buck tags – try and hold off on the does. In the South, there is often a “second rut” extending late into January. These doe may attract the big buck you’ve been waiting for.
  9. Set Your Stands Near Creek Crossings
    To preserve energy in the winter, deer will likely find bedding and create trails that are in short distances of both food and water. Hunt the creek crossings for increased chances of spotting more deer. Wind coming off the water is going to be really cold, which leaves us to our last tip..
  10. Stay Warm
    Late season requires lots of patience and may require you to hunt areas away from a box blind or tree stand due to the deer’s new trails. You may have to hunt for longer periods - so it’s important that you wear good insulated boots and a heavy overcoat so that you can have the tolerance to hunt early in the morning and late into the evening.

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