5 Tips for Hunting Late Season Whitetail Deer

5 Tips for Hunting Late Season Whitetail Deer

Time is running out.

Opening day was a warm, colorful fall Saturday, and it seemed like the season would last forever. But Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s all went by in a flash, and now you only have a few days left until the end of hunting season.

It’s time to get moving. Whether you’ve hit the stand every week or let the season slip away, there is still time to hunt.

However, the cold weather, snow cover, and dormant plant life create unique challenges for late season hunters. But with an adjustment to your strategy, you can harvest a trophy deer that will make your season a complete success.

Focus on Food

Winter is a time for foraging, as food for all wildlife, including whitetail deer, becomes more difficult to locate. Areas where food can be found, including harvested cornfields and food plots, become the place to be for whitetail deer. Start your late season hunt with a mind towards finding food.

Use the Snow for Tracking

Tracking deer in the early season is tough, especially if the ground is dry and hard. However, you don’t have to be a great tracker to follow a deer through snow. If you find a track, there is a deer at the end of it; all you need to do is catch up. Even if the tracks were made the night before, the deer probably bedded down somewhere in the area. 

Stalk The Deer’s Bed

Some of your fellow hunters might see this as a desperate, last-ditch effort, but at this point, what do you have to lose? Leave early and get into your spot before daylight. Keep the wind to your advantage and wait for early-morning feeders to return to their bedding. It’s a gamble, but it just might pay off when a buck comes back for a late-morning nap.

Be a Hunter When Going to the Stand

Many hunters get out of their truck, haul their gear to the stand, and then get ready for the hunt. However, when hunting in the late season, you need to take advantage of every possible opportunity, including the walk to your spot. Have your bow or rifle ready for a deer that you might spot along the way, and walk slowly and quietly, as if you were actively stalking a deer. Of course, when you reach the stand, make sure to unload your firearm before hoisting it into the tree.

Consider a New Tree

A tree that is perfect in fall may not be perfect in winter. During the late season, trees have been stripped bare, so a backdrop of leaves that was hiding you on opening day is gone, exposing your silhouette. If you only have blue sky at your back, consider moving to a spot that is backed by trees dense enough to hide your form.

Wear the Right Performance Gear for Late Season Hunting

When you’re hunting the late season, you need layered apparel that will keep you warm while masking your sounds and smells. Visit the online store from NOMAD and you’ll find top-quality performance hunting apparel, including the Dunn Hunting Vest, which is warm, water-resistant, and flexible.