3 Keys to Late Season Success

Late season can be tough hunting. Cold temps and nocturnal bucks to name a few. These 3 keys will help you be successful in the deer woods.

These 3 keys to late season success will give you a great chance at harvesting a mature buck. 

By Nathan Unger

For many hunters the rut is what they plan their annual vacation around. There is nothing wrong with that. The deer are moving, chasing, seeking and rutting and can make for an eventful hunt in the tree stand. However, one of my favorite times to hunt is from the last week in November  until the end of the season.

Mature bucks revert back to their feeding patterns that provide hunters a great opportunity for a harvest. Here are some keys to successfully bagging a bruiser buck during frigid temps and food shortages.

Food

Whitetails need food just as much as humans and other animals require sustenance in order to survive. Depending on where you are hunting deer may need more food. For example deer in Kansas may require more food during the snowy, winter months than, say, deer in Florida.Snow and cold temperatures are going to get deer moving and searching for high caloric food in order to maintain body heat and energy. It is true that mature bucks become nocturnal more so than they are in the rut. This could be from hunting pressure, less energy or just preservation of body heat. However, they have to feed periodically in order to survive.

Trail Cameras

Caleb's Wide-guy
Caleb Unger with his 4 1/2 year old he encountered and harvested on December 19, 2015.

If you are going to pattern a late season buck you need trail cameras. If you can pinpoint his movements in and out of his bedding area your chances increase drastically. The deer may only move 10 minutes before shooting light ends, so the use of trail cameras will help you locate his movements with minimum pressure on his home range. We pinpointed this deer with trail cameras throughout the unseasonably hot temperatures of the 2015 season. But on the first day of a cold snap, Unger capitalized on a food source as this buck was on his way back to bed.

Warm Clothes

I cannot stress enough how important the right clothing for late season hunting can be. It could be the difference between staying out for several hours or calling it quits at dusk because of the lack of feeling in your toes. Trust me, been there, done that. I make sure I have ample clothing, but not too much where it prohibits circulation. I also take along hand and feet warmers which have changed the length of time I’m able to stay in the woods during winter.

One last note I wanted to make. If you define success differently these tactics can still be useful. If you are simply trying to fill the freezer food sources and trail cameras remain important tools for the job. However you define success be sure to get out and hunt. The season is almost over!

Like what you see here? You can read more awesome hunting articles by Nathan Unger at the Bulldawg Outdoors blog. Follow him on Twitter @Bulldawgoutdoor and on Instagram @Bulldawgoutdoors.

NEXT:Using Trail Camera Surveys to Your Advantage

New to Mineral Stations? This Will Help.

If you are looking to make mineral stations this summer, here are some ideas to help.

By Nathan Unger

Mineral stations for your whitetail herd is an essential part of deer growth over the summer months. It is vital during the entire year, but especially during the summer as their calcium-rich antlers are beginning to grow, and those velvet nubs are starting to appear.

For several of you, bucks probably already have 6 to 8 inches of velvet antler visible which is why to maximize their growth, mineral stations need to be started now.

What exactly is a mineral station?

I’m glad you asked. For those of you that are not as familiar with mineral stations, it’s an area set up to provide deer with crucial summer nutrients that will commonly contain blends of nutrients, salt, minerals and natural flavors for antler and bone structure growth. It also provides for healthy fawn sizes at birth. Typically an area where deer frequently travel, but is also not too much in the open.

If a buck feels secure when traveling his corridor to the station, he’ll likely frequent it more often. Especially when the deer are on a food-to-bedding routine this time of year.

velvet bucks

Another way to maximize the mineral your deer receives is to place the mineral on clay-like soil so that it doesn’t absorb into the soil quickly, and the deer can consume it easier. Additionally, it won’t soak into the soil as easily when it rains during those summer or late spring showers.

What if I don’t know what kind?

No big deal. Many, if not all, of your retail stores are going to carry several different kinds, and you’ll just have to choose what kind you think works well and which kinds fall into under budget. Most mineral ‘blocks’ last a longtime depending on the amount of deer visiting it daily. Sometimes they can last 3-4 months.

Granular or mineral bags should be placed out once a month depending on how much it rains, the amount of deer, etc.

I personally like a mineral called Monster Maker Mineral and Attractant by Non Typical Outdoors specifically designed by Dr. Tommy Daniel, hunter and animal nutritionist.

mineral stations

His implementation provides for the best and immediate absorption of the minerals within Monster Maker.

According to Dr. Daniel, “It does not make sense to have your deer consume mineral only to have it pass through the animal with very little being utilized.”

When do I need to start?

The sooner the better. The faster the deer can begin to absorb the nutrients into their body the healthier they’ll become and the more they can maximize their off-season growth.

Another great reason to for mineral stations is that you can place a trail camera over the site and begin to survey how many deer are on your property and what bucks are making your acreage part of their home range.

This will give you a great start on where you think you will need to place your deer stands as well as how many does, if any, you may need to harvest this season. Likewise, you can also measure the maturity of your bucks as the summer comes to an end and the ‘velvet rut’ arrives.

These stations are great because you can begin to survey the overall health of your deer herd.

*Be sure to follow state and county guidelines because not all states allow for minerals or attractants during all parts of the year.

Please subscribe to Bulldawg Outdoors or comment below. Also like our page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

NEXTThree Things To Prepare For Next Deer Season

Coyotes are Impacting Whitetail and Turkey Populations More than You Think.

Each year predators kill several numbers of fawns and turkey polts. How are you going to help?

Predators are impacting our whitetail herd, and there are several ways you can help.

By Nathan Unger

This is the time of year when you can begin helping whitetail fawns and turkey polts survive. Yes, even now before they begin hitting the ground.

As temperatures drop, coyotes, bobcats, bears and foxes are only a few of the predators that place our game species in danger. Other species include raccoons, skunks, possums, hawks and cougars. Not all of these species are legal to hunt, but those that are, it is our responsibility to maintain predator populations just like other wild game.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Foothold traps such as the one above, trappers frequently use for coyotes and other small game animals such as fox and bobcat.

Not only are fawns’ lives at stake, but turkeys as well. Not only are live young and adult turkeys at risk, but also turkey nests that typically contain several eggs.

According to 2016 National Deer Report and 15 Takeaways from QDMA’s 2016 Deer Report most predator populations are stable, however, bear populations have increased in every southeastern state.

Not only is this problematic for our deer herds and turkey flocks, but as cougars migrate east this will add an entire new dimension to the phrase ‘top of the food chain.’

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Foxes play a damaging role to turkeys as well. They can also be damaging to game birds like quail and pheasants and small game like rabbits.

Foothold traps work well like this one in the picture above. Baits for predators depends on the preference of the trapper. They range from different kinds of fish to fox urine typically used for trapping coyotes.

This doesn’t encompass the entire amount of information on trapping, but it’s a start and what’s important is to start somewhere. Begin taking one predator at a time. You might also start out with cage traps are user friendly and reliable.

Be sure to subscribe or comment below. Also like our page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram and YouTube

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Shed Hunting: Where To Find Them