Mathews Inc.
How far will late season deer feed?
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
wildwilderness 12-Nov-22
BoggsBowhunts 12-Nov-22
DanaC 12-Nov-22
fdp 12-Nov-22
Catscratch 12-Nov-22
Corax_latrans 12-Nov-22
Aspen Ghost 12-Nov-22
wildwilderness 12-Nov-22
Kodiak 12-Nov-22
Catscratch 12-Nov-22
Bigdog 21 12-Nov-22
KSflatlander 12-Nov-22
timex 12-Nov-22
Michael 12-Nov-22
Zbone 12-Nov-22
Meat Grinder 13-Nov-22
Bake 13-Nov-22
BoggsBowhunts 13-Nov-22
arlone 14-Nov-22
drycreek 14-Nov-22
wildwilderness 15-Nov-22
Catscratch 15-Nov-22
APauls 15-Nov-22
Meat Grinder 15-Nov-22
APauls 15-Nov-22
Zbone 15-Nov-22
Z Barebow 15-Nov-22
12-Nov-22
I have 10+ acre’s standing beans to hunt Dec in NE Kansas on 187 acres. Haven’t noticed any other beans for miles around.

First time on this property. Will this draw new Bucks? Ones we haven’t seen during the rut? Is it a better reach than cruising deer?

12-Nov-22
I believe I saw a Michael Waddell show where he killed a collared buck, the GPS info showed that the deer was traveling some ungodly distance every single day to feed; if I remember right it was like 5 miles a day

From: DanaC
12-Nov-22
The question is, how close/far is the nearest bedding sanctuary?

From: fdp
12-Nov-22
And other food sources.

From: Catscratch
12-Nov-22
Thanksgiving is my favorite time to hunt. 2nd is last week of Dec sitting travel routes between bedding and food sources. Favorite late season food sources... standing beans.

12-Nov-22
Interesting to think of 5 miles as “ungodly”.

I wonder how many miles per day a recon/sniper type can cover while remaining undetected in hostile territory? Especially if you were to cut his equipment load to basically zero…..

Because there are only 3 things on a deer’s to-do list today: Get Food, Get Lucky, and Don’t Get Dead. Fitting a 5-mile walk in the woods into that routine just doesn’t seem that difficult.

From: Aspen Ghost
12-Nov-22
Bucks will travel a long way during the rut so you might not see any "new" bucks in December that didn't come through in November.

During the winter sometimes whitetail will yard up in large groups that will pull in deer from quite a distance but that usually is seen more in January/February. And there is still plenty of food around in December in Kansas with very little snow to inhibit food access. So I suspect that in December your beanfield probably won't be drawing "new" deer that weren't around in the November rut.

But there is always the chance that a buck that was too busy running a nearby area during the November rut that he never got to your place may well visit during the secondary rut going on in December. Or you might see a buck that was on your place in November but never in sight of your cameras or yourself.

12-Nov-22
Lots of bedding nearby especially to the south. All the other nearby food source within a couple miles is alfalfa, some cut corn, more to the north.

Will deer that do travel to feed end up staying? Bedding long term? Ever change core home range?

From: Kodiak
12-Nov-22
Those standing beans will draw does, which in turn will draw bucks. I see it every night from my living room window...and there's WAY less than 10 acres standing.

From: Catscratch
12-Nov-22
I've seen up to 13 bucks in a group traveling to and from late winter beans (in KS). Many of them bucks I was unfamiliar with. I hunt as far from the food and as close to the bedding as possible. Got to be careful to not bust the bedding. Late season bucks are skittish after rifle season and quickly go nocturnal with any pressure at all. Hope for really cold weather to get them moving in the daylight.

From: Bigdog 21
12-Nov-22
I don't know winter cold will move them to corn and alfalfa field.

From: KSflatlander
12-Nov-22
If there is any corn nearby they may pass the beans for corn. Lots of beans left standing all over eastern KS.

From: timex
12-Nov-22
I'm on the coast in va. I hunt a place on the salt Marsh that's a couple miles from the nearest been fields. It's usually no earlier than o am when I see deer there & the always have beens in their stomach. Can't remember when or where I read it but it was documented about deer traveling 5 miles nightly to a been field in the late winter.

From: Michael
12-Nov-22
It will draw new bucks if it’s the best food source around. A buck can definitely change his late season bedding area due to a food source. Now will he change his long term home range is a toss up.

Bill Winke talks about pulling in bucks to a food source in the late season that don’t live on his farm all year long.

From: Zbone
12-Nov-22
When I think of late season, I think of January and February and depends upon the latitude, the further north the less distance they'll travel daily to the food source and in bitter cold weather in snow likely bed as close to the source as they can, sometimes just inside cover from the edge of the field...

Also depends upon pressure.... Once had a spot were I think I was the only human hunting around this huge crop field and used to hunt if annually every late season and this one January the field was picked beans and always attracted deer, until a pack of coyotes moved in and I couldn't find a single deer track in the snow for two weeks there.... The yotes had pushed them totally out of the area... It was a long hike from parking to the other side of the field in cover, and then to setup sweating in single digit temperatures or below, was just not feasible and I never returned...

From: Meat Grinder
13-Nov-22
Back in the day when we had to rent hunting videos on VHS tapes, I remember one of the Stoney Wolf videos (makers of Bowhunting October Whitetails and others) included a short interview with an outfitter in Canada. The outfitter spoke about a client who killed a buck whose stomach was full of oats, and went on to say that the nearest oat field was 9 miles away. I don't recall if he said it was in early or late season. For some reason that always stuck in my mind.

From: Bake
13-Nov-22
I think it would probably vary depending on terrain too. Couple years ago I shot a buck around the new year that a friend had on cam 5 miles away through October and November. Funny thing, this is farm country with very little cover. He chose one farm with harvested crops over ALL the other farms with harvested crops around too.

I think they can be highly nomadic in winter. But I wouldn't be surprised if a good late season food source won't pull in deer from several miles away. I don't know that they'll walk all that way every day. But I think they may shift ranges at different periods.

I have a food plot at my house that is 1/2 a mile from the closest good cover. It pulls deer a 1/2 mile every night. They walk across a 1/2 mile of open pasture to get there. And that's early season. I'm curious how many new deer I'll see this winter (this is my first year with the food plot).

13-Nov-22
I think what seemed to make the 5 mile a day data so unreal to me was the fact that, like Bake said, the deer Waddell killed was passing a whole lot of food sources to get to the one he was going to every night. Kindve wild

From: arlone
14-Nov-22
Had an old VHS tape of a bear and deer guide in Canada, think the Wensels hunted with him? Hunters shot some big bucks that were full of oats I think, and he said nearest oats field was I believe 8 miles away.

From: drycreek
14-Nov-22
I hunted a place once on the Red River right on the TX/OK line. There was basically nothing to eat except a few acorns and a little browse where I hunted but the deer bedded there. The road to town was sandy and it was full of deer tracks headed to and from the peanut fields about three miles away. Killed my best bow buck there, he was cold trailing a doe that I assume was going to bed down.

15-Nov-22
How do deer find a food source that they haven’t been to before?

I don’t suppose they wander aimlessly? Follow other deer?

From: Catscratch
15-Nov-22
"How do deer find a food source that they haven’t been to before? I don’t suppose they wander aimlessly? Follow other deer?"

I've thought about this considerably. If you check out any GPS studies it shows deer move quite a bit. I doubt any new food source in a deer's home range goes unnoticed for more than a week or so.

I also theorize that deer can smell food on other deer and since they are social animals they end up knowing when an associate has found a new food source. So that corn pile in the middle of the pasture that just popped up in a doe's home range is soon found by every doe in the area because they can tell she's eating something new and follow her.

From: APauls
15-Nov-22
Yes. New deer will show up. Some bucks have certain areas they go to for winter food and they don't make that transition until December often times. Look at Pat's trail camera photo with like 187 deer or whatever it was in the winter on a bean field. I thought I remember him saying he had like 40ish deer there during season? He found sheds from like 20 bucks if I remember correct? Those deer moved in for the winter.

I would imagine as time goes on they will just slowly start to stack up through November and into December/January

From: Meat Grinder
15-Nov-22
arlone--you and I saw the same video. :-)

From: APauls
15-Nov-22
Could be someone was baiting with oats...just sayin.' In Canada I highly doubt deer are moving 8 miles on the daily to feed. Maybe rut a buck comes from far away, but late season when calories are a major premium there is no way they are even going a mile. Snow gets added in. I live close to a major city and feed deer in my yard. Even with deer in a non-hunting zone, in winter they will not walk 500 yards from bed to food through snow. They have to cross a couple yards and a road to get to me. If I keep the feed dolled out heavy they will usually make the trek, but if the feed goes dry for 2 days they are gone and don't come back.

From: Zbone
15-Nov-22
APauls - "Some bucks have certain areas they go to for winter food and they don't make that transition until December often times."

Have said it for years some northern whitetails actually migrate, maybe not as far as elk or mulies out west, but know for a fact some have different summer than winter ranges... Here in Ohio, a great food source like Pat provides will pull deer in from miles around... Seen it happen year after year...

From: Z Barebow
15-Nov-22
I am not as far north as Adam, but deer in my area (ND & MN) don’t move far to feed. Less than 1/2 mile in most cases. It is all about efficiency/calorie savings. They bed close to food to conserve energy/fat.

Areas that have deer in Oct/November will be void of deer if there isn’t a viable crop field nearby. Conversely you find a field they are hitting, you can see 30+ deer a night. Also, I don’t hunt AM in late season. Generally impossible to get near bedding areas without spooking them. They have 15-16 hours of darkness to feed will likely be bedded or close to bedding.

  • Sitka Gear