Contributors to this thread:
Strategy for December
So at this point in the season I've tried everything, and I've had very little rut activity in my area compared to previous years. I also struck out in Ohio after a week of hunting, although I was able to see a bunch of deer on stand, and had some pretty cool encounters, so it was definitely worth the trip. The funniest was just as I had started a rattling sequence one evening in the blind, I had a doe and fawn step out from the brush and stare right at me, then take off, sounding the alarm and killing that sit! All in all though it was a lot of fun! I'm wondering what you guys are focused on going forward? I have a bunch of bucks on cam from the summer, but not nearly as many pics as of late. No response to scents or cold calling either. My thought is just sit on the runs, no more scent or calling, and hope I'm at the right place at the right time. What strategies are you guys using as the clock winds down?
FOOD. Put out 200 pounds of corn and you should have some decent luck.
Just kidding! But seriously you gotta focus on food sources. They gotta eat.
Go to spot. Sit. Hope for the best.
Food,food,food!!!! things will get better after shot gun. Deer have to put some fat on like I do this time of year!
Put in the hours in the spot I have. No food in my spot other then a few oaks that all acorns are gone. It's a pass through, so hoping that it's a safe haven during gun season since I'm the only one allowed in this little spot. Camera has always shown deer over the last 6 years , just not every day. I guess if I put in the hours I'll see deer.
One more thing look for sign around stone walls. I know it sounds stupid but last few years I have done this because so many times I see deer from my stand or on the ground there walking threw or near a stone wall. Something to think about.
Just be in the woods. Anything can happen and your season changes in a second, but only if you're in the woods. Keep it simple, just hunt.
Locate regular bedding areas and sneak as close as you dare to set up. Find isolated areas with little pressure were they hide. Estrus still isn't a bad idea. Or still hunt with a shotgun and walk new areas.
Just seen a buck chasing a doe through a small meadow 2 days ago
Food is going to be one of my strategies as well. I still hunted across a southern facing clear cut slope today that was covered in all sorts of greenery, deer sign all over. In most my spots acorns have dried up, but I'm seeing lots of sign around greens. I'm also going to keep using the strategy publiclandhunter mentioned, setting up super close to beds. I've been doing it all season and have seen more deer from the stand than any other year, but I've also scared off just as many. Unfortunately, it hasn't resulted in a kill, yet....
The later into the year we go, the more food is the key draw (sort of like early season). I'll third Moons and Dean... Get on the best food source you have and hope for the best.
Dean's point on walls is good to. Corners where two walls connect almost always create a bit of funneled movement as do breaks or real low spots in walls, and spots where walls just end. Those spots can be great areas. Especially if you combine them with cover types: wall with break where hemlocks meat oaks; Swamp meets hardwoods and stone wall; etc...
Awesome to hear you saw some deer in OH! Going back next year?
Fields with green grass!!! Set up a hundred or so yds in the woods from a suspected bedding area. If you have no fields look for any type of browse. They will be in some thick stuff casually strolling through and eating as they go. This time of year forget about the crap acorns on the ground. They are dead anyway ( except if you get a snowfall !!!! )
one thing I have found over the years is pricker brush. You know the kind that has vines and is still green and thorny. The guys down here on the south coast know what I am talking about. In the spring when they are sprouting the deer will eat them when they are tender. You will see them as short and stubby now compared to the rest of the vines. This will give you a good idea or travel routes in the late season. I stay close to the thick stuff late season and I tend to see more deer walking through that than in the open.
DFA , I saw that last night . Does munching on brush of some kind in the middle of the woods. This week I am getting reports of deer close to the road in green fields after dark and saw a nice buck in the turnip patch . Big Buck sighted with another buck close to the road at 7:00 at night.
It seems to have a similar flow as last few months . That makes sense to me with a new cycle of breading of the next crop of un-breed does which will follow the same monthly timing I believe. Expect it to pick up as it did last month around the seek stage . This week - 10 days are slow and feeding , then seeking and breeding . Good week to push into bedding or deep feed spots or fields with greens . Or the planet Mongo .
Don’t write off the rut either. I have seen chasing well into Dec. some does come in late
The first Saturday of shotgun season means renewed opportunity on one property I hunt. Prior to shotgun season, no one hunted adjacent land to the north. Now, the gun-toters will be there to push the deer out of their refuge. I'll be sitting about 50 yards south of a rock wall hoping my orange army allies do their job.
Good thoughts, thanks for the tips,.. I am curious to see what Saturday is like!
Since it's getting to the end of this years hunting season, I like to really start pushing the envelope and stomping right into areas I don't expect to hunt again until next year. Pretty much scouting now for next year. But if I might want to hunt there again or I know someone else is hunting there, I'll wait until January. Unless I hate them, then I'll stomp all over the place and piss on the ladder stands. Oh, and steal their night eyes! Just kidding about some of that . . .
Don't steal the night eyes,.. Move them MRW,.. and make the person walk right into a swamp !
Mud Man BB LOLOLOL
PS I do like your suggestion of blowing right in at the last hunts (late Dec) and consider it a late season scout too!
Great stuff guys!! Dfa, definitely know what your talking about with the prickers, the main bedding area im focused on is surrounded by it, good strategy. I have a food plot with a variety that still has a bunch of green in it. Tomorrow morning I'm going to get in a hangon I have off the edge , nice and early. With the am thermals and the wind direction, it could be a great set. Maybe the boys in orange will help me out. Either way, we're making ginger bread houses with the kids after lunch, so it will be a great day regardless! Will,i would love to, but I don't think I can do all the driving anymore at my advanced age! Lol. I could use a partner maybe next season? ;-)
Tried a combo of everything mentioned on this thread. I hunted about 50 yards in from a field. A ridge loaded with briers led right to the field and two rock walls intersected here as well. The wind was real whacky, kept switching between SW and NW. Near closing time a decent buck came from directly down wind of me. Stopped slightly quartering to at 22 yards, nose high in the air for about 10 minutes trying to pinpoint me. He then stepped behind a group of small pines and I drew expecting him to pop out broadside at 25 yards, but he just vanished. Like he teleported out of there, no idea where he went. Long story short the thick briers and rock wall funneled this guy directly to the field edge where I'm sure he planned on eating the fresh greens, just like you guys had said.
a lot of times the rock walls are the edge of an ancient field or pasture, so you end up with a soft transition between two types of cover... good for deer!
I went out hunting saturday morning with a buddy. We went to a spot we knew had deer. We even saw deer in another field and we went to where they like to travel, but they took the other route. 3 different options and we chose wrong. We went to the option that had a fork in the road and we each took a path after the fork. Count be on te fork, as it is too close to te road for legal shot. Well, they went a different way. So we moved to the spot my buddy got his does last monday. Lots of sign everywhere, even another hunter, but no deer. So wife sends me a picture text. Found the deer. In front of my garage. Just to the side of my house. Should have opened the garage door and sat in the back of the truck. Mobile hunting blind? Oh well. That's hunting. Keep at it.
There’s three doe in my area. I got one of the bucks, now I want one of those tastey doe. To date they only show up at last light when it’s too dark to take a real shot, just as I’m trying to get out. They walk around a bit, then take off. I swear they know what’s up and they’re consciously screwing with me.