November and the rut has not come and gone and December is here. Sure there may be some rutting activity left to service those few does that got missed during November, but hunting those rut spots is not what I would focus on anymore this season. It is time to start shifting gears from hunting travel corridors and bedding areas to hunting closer to food sources. Across much of the Midwest snow has begun to fall along with the temperatures. The does are starting to go into that feeding frenzy preparing for winter months ahead. Bucks too are trying to rebuild fat reserves they lost during the rut. They may be resting some but I guarantee they will be up on their feet feeding in daylight hours at some point.
Hunting the food sources is also a good way to catch the little rutting activity that may be left. Does that have not been bred will be feeding and bucks will typically find them in the food sources for breeding. Now is where you may find the benefits of planting food plots such as Frosty Feed or Green beast for this time of the year they are highly attractive. They are nutrition rich and the only green food around. Standing crops such as corn and beans can also be a great spot to find that late season buck. Oftentimes I like to have the late season greens even planted in with that corn or bean food plot.
With most of the gun seasons having come and gone now throughout much of the Midwest, I often hear that there aren’t any deer left or they went nocturnal. Well there are deer left out there and yes it can be hard to find them during daylight hours after a gun season. This is why you need to hunt those areas that haven’t been pressured. All through archery season you hunt and see deer but a few guys in the woods now and then playing it smart usually does not affect deer movement too much.
However, once rifle season opens up there is an overload of pressure present. Some people push deer others hunt over and over. I also see that at times rifle hunters may throw out precautions like wind direction because of the added range they can shoot. All things lead to heavily pressured hunting in many areas making it hard to fill that late season bow or muzzleloader tag.
Concentrate on areas that you know haven’t been hunted. Maybe it is a small corner of the property or even where you least expect it like in the tree grove behind the barn. Think of those small overlooked areas and chances are you can find a mature buck hanging out there.
This is another reason for planting late season food plots. Get them planted in late summer or early fall and let them be until this time of year so you have a unpressured spot with a bountiful supply of food for recovering bucks and does preparing for the winter. Good luck out there!
Hunt Smart, Hunt Hard and Hunt Safe!