Deer Hunting High Risk Areas When They Count

By the time winter rolls around your drive for deer hunting the late season might look as desperate as a rut worn buck looking for something to eat! The pressure of unfilled tags burning holes in your pocket doesn’t help either. Deer and especially bucks are wore thin after the rut, they have busted countless hunters not using scent control, and most likely been shot at a couple times. In your mind deer hunting this period may seem pointless, but there is still hope. If you are in this situation read up…every bit of what’s about to be said will help!

If you have just ran a marathon and lost 30 percent of your body weight where would you be? Don’t lie to yourself either! For most, the honest answer would be the couch with a bag of cheeseballs…you can assume the same goes for a whitetail in the northern states or Midwest. The rut takes its toll on a buck, and you can use it to your advantage. The last month or so of your deer hunting season is arguably one of the best chances available to kill a mature buck.

A bucks first priority after the majority of does have been bred is finding food. A standing bean field, standing corn field, recently cut corn field, or field of reasonably sized brassica bulbs are all top picks for a mature bucks. For some lucky hunters, deer hunting during the late season stops here…but for many lacking the luxury of food plots or a big crop field a good late season tactic will require more work. Identifying the buck’s bedroom is the only other hope this late in the game. However finding a buck’s bedding area has to go further than just a thicket.

Look for a spot that entails these characteristics.

  • Thick early successional growth. Thick growth of species such as green briar, blackberry, black raspberry, and saplings like oak, ash, redbud, and sumac. That not only provide cover but an abundant food source. Thickets of cedar or pines are also desirable, especially with heavy snowfall.
  • South facing slope, anything slightly oriented south receives more sun in the late season which leads to thicker vegetation, faster melting of snow, and of course a warmer bedding area.
  • Light to no human pressure, whether it is a sanctuary or a hard to reach thicket in the back of the property or on public ground, no human pressure areas can be guaranteed as great spots to finally hit in the late season.
  • Proximity to late season food, yes a thicket is its own food source but a bean pod or brassica bulb are much more desirable when the snow falls. Finding a bedding area within 100 yards or so of food is an ideal spot, if hunting the food is unavailable.

Find a spot like this and you will be covered in deer.

Deer hunting in or on the edge of bedding areas can be extremely successful but requires hunter expertise with no mistakes. Entry and exits must be carefully planned out, the blind or stand needs good placement with plenty of cover. Time spent in the stand needs to be minimal, and of course scent control and wind direction is a must.

Deer hunting bedding areas is a touchy subject and a controversial one among hunters. It requires absolutely seamless tactics and scent control techniques. Staying out of these areas in the early season and during the rut is an acceptable policy. This late in the game however, it pays to be risky.