By Nathan Unger
If you have already discounted the remainder of your hunting season, or if you are part of the group that was fortunate enough to tag out then you can begin to implement these practical tactics. This will help make you even more prepared and successful next season.
As hunters, a lot of times after we meet our personal quota of deer for the year and put meat in the freezer we tend to call it quits for the most part and enjoy the remainder of the winter season. My encouragement to you -keep hunting!
One of the most valuable things you can do for the next season is scout how the deer are behaving now in order to be one step ahead of them next year. Hear are a few things you can begin to focus on:
1.) Find the bedding areas
This will help tremendously for stand placements in the fall when you are trying to key in on that big buck. Likewise, if you find where does are bedding this will be where you need to set up during the rut to find those bucks that are cruising through looking for the hot does. If you find these beds you will also be able to find these bucks in the late season when they become a lot less active and merely move to eat and then head back to bed. This is pertinent because after the rut a lot of big bucks become invisible and revert to being nocturnal.
2.) Find the relevant food sources
If you are scouting right now for where deer are cruising to eat, this may not be as helpful in the fall months next year. During the winter months deer are eating higher calorie foods such as corn in order to stay warm whereas in the falls months they might be targeting clover fields and such. If you can pick out these foods specific to your hunting property and specific to the weather you will increase your chances of targeting that big buck you have been after.
3.) Find the travel routes
This point does not need to be overlooked. If weather doesn’t go your way and deer aren’t showing up where they typically do these routes will, however, give you an idea of where they are traveling. Instead of setting up on a field or food plot you may have to set up back in the woods at a pinch point or saddle where these deer are traveling to the fields and plots. Sometimes if these deer have been over educated during the season they will wait in almost a holding pattern until cover of darkness. If you can locate these spots it will not only help you in the late season, but it will also give you a one-up for next season on those early season bucks.
Keep scouting and good hunting!