Late Season Archery Hunting-Tips to Fill Your Last Tag: Never Surrender
So you didn’t shoot that big buck during the rut this year like you wanted to. You didn’t get a shot at one during gun season either. You didn’t even get one during the bonus weekend or muzzleloader season. What now? Sit at home, watch football, and wait until next season? No way! Dust off your bow (literally) and get back out in the woods, because late season can be some of the most productive weeks of the season for big bucks.
Bow hunting late season whitetails is actually pretty simple. Find the food, and watch the weather. Finding the deer can be fairly easy if you can locate the remaining food sources in your area. During the rut, whitetail bucks can lose up to 20% of their body mass. So, this means that they either replace that body mass, or they will not survive the winter. This puts the bucks into survival mode, and it can make their feeding patterns as predictable as late August.
So where is the food? Well, that depends on your area, but most of the early season sources are probably gone by now. There may be the stray acorn a squirrel forgot to burry, or that cut corn field might have a few kernels left over. But, here in Ohio, we are allowed to bait deer, so we can create our own winter food source. If you have trouble finding late season food sources in your area, then you can bet that baiting will be effective there.
How does the weather affect late season deer movement? Depending on the size of the deer groups, cold fronts and snow can create storms of deer activity before and after. While we see a little bit of this early season, late season storms can really bring out the deer. So, by keeping a close eye on The Weather Channel, you can increase your odds of seeing deer while you are out braving the elements.
The inclement weather during the late season months will also create an issue with your comfort in the stand. When the temperature is below 20 degrees, you can get unbearably cold in a hurry when sitting stationary in a tree. Layering helps, but it can also hinder the range of motion needed to draw your bow. This part of the game comes down to personal preference, but I think everyone could benefit from a couple of hand warmers in their pocket.
Another obstacle during late season archery is cover. Your opening day stand could very well be in the late season hot spot, but you might get yourself busted when that group of ten deer come walking by. It is difficult in the barren timber, but you need to find a place to hang your stand that gives you cover. Pine trees are great if you have them in your area, but you have to find something to break up your outline.
Late season archery hunting for whitetails is a constant battle with Mother Nature, but that battle can pay great dividends to those who are determined enough to participate. There is a reason that Ohio archery season runs through February 1st, so quit making excuses and take advantage of it.