Whitetail Deer Hunting Late Season
The love of the pursuit of whitetail deer runs deep, making them North America’s most sought-after big game animal. From the deer’s widespread range to their fantastic adaptability, hunting whitetails is an endeavor from mountains to prairies and swamps to crop fields. Tenacity, cunning, and elusiveness come together in whitetail deer, creating a game animal revered from coast to coast. Hunted in various seasons from August to January and requiring various tactics, hunting late-season whitetail deer is a challenge revered by hunters.
When the daylight hours of wintertime dwindle, and the mercury plummets, deer hunters with the grit and stamina to withstand the late-season elements look forward to some of the season's best hunting opportunities. Flip the calendar to December; C’mon it’s time for late-season whitetail deer hunting.
Beating the Cold -
Short days, cold nights, and north winds combine for a recipe that leads whitetails to high-calorie food sources. The same drive that pushes deer to consume large amounts of calories makes hunting late season a fantastic opportunity to tag a great buck. The trick to putting a hunt together this time of year and being in the right place at the right time when the deer are on their feet is staying comfortable in the cold.
At Nomad, we share the love of the pursuit and understand the call of the hunt when the temperatures drop. Made for hunters, by hunters, Nomad’s Conifer NXT collection has what it takes to stay in the game and remain comfortable when cold weather comes calling.
The Conifer NXT jacket and bibs are packed with Primaloft insulation that utilizes ultrafine fibers to trap warmth without bulk. The Conifer collection’s brushed outer shell stays quiet in the cold while providing windproof and waterproof protection without sacrificing breathability. The Conifer NXT lineup fills a late-season deer hunter's needs with added features like magnet pocket closures, hand warmer pockets, and Silver-Z scent suppression.
While retaining a comfortable core temperature is a must for late-season cold weather hunts, protection for extremities cannot be overlooked. Cold fingers or ears are no excuse for packing it in early and missing opportunities, so Nomad put together the Conifer NXT mitten, glove, and trapper hat for the ultimate in a true cold weather system for late-season hunts this year.
Pairing the right moisture-wicking base layer like Nomad’s Durawool Hoodie and leggings with an insulated outer layer that blocks wind and weather is the perfect recipe to be in the hunt when the cold weather has big bucks on the move.
Finding Late-Season Bucks -
Recovering from the rut-crazed days of November and making it through the frigid midwinter nights can take a toll on a deer herd. The key ingredient to recovery and survival when temperatures take a dip is groceries. Deer seek out the densest calorie forage available in the late season.
In most cases, the nutrient-rich acorns in the hardwoods have long since fallen from oak trees and are long gone this time of year. Hunters that key on agricultural feed sources will be the most successful. Corn stubble, bean stubble, alfalfa, and over-wintering green cereal crops such as wheat, rye, and oats are late-season magnets for deer searching for calories.
When scouting Walk-In Hunting Access (WIHA) or Block Management Public Hunting areas online or in person, focus on the highest quality food sources and expand the search for critical habitat. Locating bedding areas and travel corridors to and from food and cover is a proven tactic for a chance at a late-season buck recovering from the strenuous rut.
Late Season Whitetail Deer Tactics -
By this stage of the game, most bucks that made it through the early season and the rut have a few tricks up their sleeve. Making a wrong move and pressuring late-season deer is a sure way to push them out of an area or make them go nocturnal. Late-season deer hunters can still successfully fill their tag with careful tactics and a little planning.
Morning Hunt Darkness -
A whitetail deer lives and dies by its nose, but its sense of hearing and vision is nothing to laugh at. Concealment from a deer's vision is imperative. Effective camo patterns like Nomad’s Conifer, Harvester, and Cottonwood are incredible, but cover when walking in and out from a hunt takes more than effective camouflage. Utilizing the cover of morning darkness to approach a stand or blind is a great way to avoid detection. However, don’t think that the lack of daylight will have hunters entirely in the clear, utilize topography and natural barriers such as ditches, creek beds, and tree lines to break up and conceal movement to and from the hunt stand or blind.
Don’t Forget the Wind -
Unscented soaps, detergents, and scent-killing fabric treatments have come a long way, but wind direction is still king when it comes to hiding from a whitetail’s nose. Human breath, scents from everyday life, and the natural oils in human hair and skin all have tough odors to conceal. Playing the wind both during the walk into a hunting area and during the hunt itself is a critical component when it comes to late-season success. Avoid both prevailing winds and thermals created by the suns warming rays from carrying the hunter’s scent into bedding areas or across feed fields where the deer are expected to be.
C’mon It’s Late Season. Don’t let a day on a calendar or the cold in the air stop the hunt when the season is open and there are deer tags to fill. At Nomad, we’ve designed the right gear to keep hunters in the woods longer and make the frigid days of the late season as comfortable as the mild hunts of October.
With some scouting, the right gear, and careful tactics, putting a tag on a mature late-season whitetail deer is a challenge worth accepting.