The thrill of hunting the season’s first whitetail buck is long gone, and the rut’s high point has also passed; the last chance to bag the elusive buck has arrived. Though you’ll see significantly fewer deer during the winter months, the competition for the few remaining animals will also be significantly less. Only the most tenacious hunters will risk the sub-zero weather and fresh powder that blankets the woods.
The freezing weather may scare many hunters, but it also draws the surviving bucks out into the woods, searching for any sign of food. Late-season hunting presents unique challenges, but with the appropriate strategy, you may be able to bag the elusive deer finally.
To make whitetail deer hunting successful, follow these four strategies.
- Seek Carbohydrate-Rich Foods
Even though in winter when hunting may not seem like the best time to go, those final weeks can be some of the most rewarding. And, on occasion, the cold the weather conditions, the better. What is the reason for this? Because whitetails need to get out to get their fill of carbs to survive the cold temperatures. Even though they’ve spent most of their time resting, they still need to feed.
It means that bedding spaces will most often be located near high-carb food sources that are conveniently available. If you can discover those, it won’t be long until you spot your prey because deer are more likely to come out during daylight hours, which they are known to shun. Going for regions containing crop grains like maize and soybeans, as well as forbs, is your best choice.
- Bedding Areas for Crowds
As winter approaches, days become shorter and colder, a deer’s activity to rest ratio shifts toward rest and keeping warm. It means that deer are less available for late-season hunters because they are sleeping most of the time. However, they will need to come out foraging for a small portion of the day.
It’s crucial to carry out a plan that involves sitting near or glassing bedding places and recognizing entry and exit routes. Because a deer’s primary motive for being out at this time is to eat, tracks will most likely reveal where the deer are eating and sleeping. If you focus on those locations and stay close to them, you might end up with a successful whitetail deer hunt.
- Check for water
Water is the other lifeline that deer rely on in addition to food and shelter. The fact that there were plenty of water sources earlier in the year doesn’t make staking them effective. However, many water sources that deer relied on throughout the year have frozen over in the winter, especially in places with constant sub-freezing temperatures.
The fewer water sources available, the easier it will be for a hunter to identify a deer in broad daylight. Because water is such a scarce resource, even the most cunning and wily deer may make a mistake in their quest to satisfy their thirst.
- Stick to a Still-Hunting Strategy
In the winter, rather than stump-sitting in the same area year after year, a more active strategy is sometimes required. Because this hunting strategy demands the hunter to walk slowly through the woods, patience is essential. Glassing is also a necessary technique for winter hunters to acquire to keep a watch on bedded areas and tracks leading to food and water sources as they move around.
Though spotting a whitetail during the winter is difficult, the perfect combination of patience and strategy will help you capture a deer before the season finishes.
Do not let Snow and cold put a full stop to your whitetail deer hunting. Instead, follow the tips of Squaw Mountain Ranch to make your deer hunting a memorable experience.