Late-Season Whitetails

Submitted By Jimmy Estes Feb .22.2016

It's that time of the year and for most of us, the rut is in the rear view mirror. That doesn't mean that you still can't put that tag on the buck of a lifetime. Hunting late season just requires a different set of rules and is a great time to close the deal. This week we will talk about some of the things we can do to be more successful during this period.

Secondary Rut. For most of us, the rut is in early to mid-November. Don't forget that any does that are not bred during that period will be coming back in heat roughly a month later. It is a great time to catch those mature bucks on their feet around mid to late December, trying to catch those last few does. When I see bucks chasing or pushing does around this time of year I love to use calls such as tending grunts and doe bleats to try to bring these bucks into bow range.

Food Sources. As we get into the winter months food becomes a big factor when hunting whitetails, but set-ups can either make you or break you. If I have very cold weather I like to set up either right on the food or just off the food in known travel areas. When you get those frigid temps I believe that deer do not move the distance that they normally do and will be closer to that food source. This is where the importance of food plots comes in; you have the food, you will have the deer.

Scent Control. During this period I use the same scent control tactics that I use in the earlier seasons--a shower with Scent-A-Way green soap and shampoo, fresh clothes washed with Scent-A-Way Laundry Detergent and dried with Scent-A-Way Dryer Sheets and stored in a Scent-Safe bag, dressing in the field, a selection of Scent Wafers and a liberal dose of Scent-A-Way Spray. Being as scent free as possible when I hit the woods is always a priority, whether it's early season or not.

Long Distance Scouting and Trail Cams. This is also a pair of tactics that I like to use in the last season--glassing potential food sources early in the morning and late in the evenings, trying to catch a good buck on his feet during the daylight hours. I also love to put up a bunch of my Bresser trail cameras around the food sources to try to get an idea of what deer are still around and what deer are coming in during legal hunting hours.

Hopefully these tips will help you in the deer woods. Late season can be a great time to hunt and tag a big buck. Good luck and good hunting!