Contributors to this thread:
As we switch from heavy rut action in November to post rut feeding frenzy, how many guys are still after a mid-west buck in December? What tactics do you employ? Do you hunt the same hours as Nov?
I am simply going to take a look at the spot I hung my stand to see if there is any activity in the same area mid December. Worst case I move my stand straight to a well used ag field trail and hope for the right wind. I am generally an all day hunter but if there is zero movement I may go back to camp and have lunch, shoot some arrows.
Late season is strictly evenings for me .. killed few of my best bucks in December.
More short sits in the evening mostly. Hunting closer to food than bedding now
Evenings only for me, and only with the right conditions. I have shot my biggest deer in January, and some good ones in December. I actually prefer a cold winter food hunt over the rut. Deer are more apt to be patternable and consistent than during the rut.
I'll be sitting out most of December due to the orange army. But after that I'll have my late season tag in hand. If you only have one spot to hunt then I would agree with most folks on evening hunts leading to feeding areas. But if you have plenty of different farms to hunt then slipping into a bedding area well before dawn and waiting for the deer to return is an awesome sight to see. Nothing like seeing up to fifty deer come in off the fields at once marching past your stand and bedding all around you. Definitely not an easy thing to due when it's below zero and you have to hang a stand, get dressed, and wait for daylight. But boy when things go right it's some of my best hunts of the year.
Same as the other posters....evenings and food. Unless there is a deep freeze that last a few days with a warm up in the middle of the day. I will be out there the minute the deep freeze starts to break.
Only evening sits in the late season. Find the food and you'll find your buck. He'll be the last one out, at least that is my experience. Love hunting late season, unfortunately no tags left this year.
I'll be leaning on a couple late season tags. From what I've learned with my spot, is they love the mowed areas that promote new growth when food inside the timber or along creeks become minimal. I mowed some areas back in early September just for this reasoning. I'll be sitting some of the mowed areas in hopes of a decent buck, or to knock down some late season does. The colder the better!
In the great white north....mid-morning till the late afternoon. When it is real cold, the deer sleep in. As the sun gets higher, they will then start to move.
Deer season closed here yesterday. Ice fishing has been open for weeks!
I will try the edge of the bedding area first, maybe there will be a smidge of chasing left of the secondary rut. Plenty of grass and food in there for em.
Why are people only hunting evenings for the most part?
"Why are people only hunting evenings for the most part?" I wondered the same. Maybe due to snowfall or the fact that the deer will be concentrated on these food sources and walking in to your stand in the morning darkness scares them off? Therefore lessening your chances?
In my part of Wisconsin the deer are bedded in thermal cover in the early morning hours because it's the coldest part of the day. It was 7 degrees this am at sunrise.
Funny, I just posted on the thread from someone asking about guided December hunts. Sorry for the repeat, but I will cut and paste it here and add that these were both from morning hunts...
Depends heavily where you are hunting. One of the spots I hunt is CRP with all the surrounding properties being crops. The later in the year it gets the better this place is. There is no cover left other than creek bottoms and the surrounding pressure really pushes them in there. 2017 & 2018 I shot good bucks off this place in December (10th & 23rd)
While there is a little bit of a late season rut, I have pics of a buck mounting a Doe on Dec. 25th several years back (Merry Christmas for him ..lol), I concentrate on food sources and go back to hunting travel corridors and routes leading to food and bedding/sanctuary areas ... just trying for a decent Doe now, I'll spend most of the remaining season hunting afternoons, with an occasional hunt before work, all dependent on wind directions .... If I get a good wind direction for a favorite location, conducive for a AM hunt before work, I'll do it, even for a Doe .... 1 month left to get a Doe ...
Late season bow goes until end of Jan. here in my area of Wisconsin. That elk tag soup wasn't very tasty, so hoping for a decent buck and another doe to end the year.
Great bucks, Shiras. Were you hunting from the ground?
Stands on both. The key for me on the 2017 buck was to wait for the right wind to go in the morning to get between feeding and bedding. The second buck that was shot on 12/23 I saw him running a doe hard the evening before. I was somewhat surprised by that, but also had a good idea where she would be the next morning and was hoping he would still be with her. It paid off.
Shiras,great buck and helluva job!! Love me a crp field....
Rick, in the late season here the deer have returned to bedding in thermal cover long before sunrise. They return to feed early afternoon once it warms up and will feed until it gets coldest again in the middle of the night. They then return to thermal cover for the coldest part of the day, rinse and repeat. They like to conserve energy during the coldest parts of the day while feeding and expending less energy when it's warm.
Morning hunts can be good if it's warm out. I would classify both of Shiras bucks above as perfect examples of that as the deer would stay out to feed longer. Looks warm in those trophy photos, IE no snow in the first one and the second one has open water in the background. Great bucks Shiras, congrats!
Deep snow and well below zero is usually the norm here for late season hunts.
The season, here in Maryland, is open until the last day of January. I used to hunt all day but at my age, 77, I come to the house for lunch. I like to be in the woods an hour before first light and come to the house by 11 AM. I like morning hunting because I have all day to field dress, get it out of the woods, and take it to the butcher. Lot easier blood trailing in day light. If shot in the late afternoon I never wait until the next morning. I blood trail right way if double lunged. Jak Hammer broadheads leave a great blood trail and they don't go far. BTW, I live in a 40 acre woods that I own so I can walk out my back door to hunt.