Late Season Bowhunting Tips

October 30, 2013 by  
Filed under Bowhunting Tips

By Brian Stephens
Stick’em Archery

For the most part the primary rut is over.  If you were fortunate to harvest a mature buck up to this point in the season, congratulations!  If you are like many of us and just did not see the type of deer you were looking for it is time to focus on late season strategies and tactics to have another opportunity to get on a mature deer.  I have several quotes that I will often relate to in my professional career that, I think are transferable to bow hunting.  The first is “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is a sign of insanity” and the second is “Perpetual Optimism is a Force Multiplier”.  How do this relate to bow hunting?  In order to be successful we have to adjust the way we hunt during the Early Season, the Rut and now the Late Season.  I am of the belief that you have to be willing to go where the deer are as they adjust their patterns to the changing season.  While bow hunting is one of the most gratifying sports it can also be very frustrating and difficult.  It is so important to stay positive and have the right mind set even when you are going through a dry spell.  I am going to share some tips on hunting the late season to hopefully give you one last opportunity to harvest a mature animal.  We will discuss factors that drive deer’s behavior this time of year, stand placement, and external factors such as the moon/WIND.

A few things that I focus on no matter what phase of the hunting season we are in and that is deer revolve around 1) Food, 2) Water, and 3) Cover.  We have had a tremendous amount of success over the years by considering these factors.  Understand that the food sources, water and cover may vary throughout the season.  Based on this it is important that you adjust your strategies/tactics.  During the late season the primary rut has occurred and bucks are looking for food to recover.  So, finding the food source is a primary factor.  This may be a food plot, and / or natural food source.  If you don’t have a food plot you may want to consider one for next year.  There are a number of resources on the site that can walk you through the right food plot for your areas.  Now we need to consider the cover situation.  As we know the cover is going to change dramatically during the winter.  A mature buck is going to find the thickest cover available to not only bed but also travel through to get to the food source.


Now consider your stand set up.  Do you put your stand on the food plot?  Maybe, but I would suggest that you first think about 1) Where are the deer bedding this time of year?, 2) Where is the food source?, and 3) How are they going to travel to the food source? A mature buck many times is going to wait until dark or right before dark before you would see him in the food plot.  So how do you get on him?  I would suggest that you get between his bedding area and the food source.  Find the travel zone and staging area that you think he is going to use.  We have all seen that once the rut has occurred many of the mature bucks will go nocturnal.  It can be challenging to have an opportunity harvest a quality deer during shooting hours.  If you can find the crossing, funnel or bottleneck that may be between the bedding area and food source, you may have a good chance at getting a shot.

A few other things that are vital to consider are managing the WIND, stand placement and getting to your stand.  The wind factor is nothing you don’t already know about, but this still is over looked many times.  Where you set up your stand and the tree you find is very important.  Consider finding the area that you believe that buck is going to travel through (cover) between bedding area and food source.  Pick a tree that is in staging area that is close to the bedding area but not so close that you will bump that deer as you approach your stand.  Next, is finding the right tree with enough cover.  This can obviously be tough this time of year.  Look for a tree that can give you some kind of backdrop and that is not right on the trail.  Get a few yards off the trail, so you can draw your bow without getting busted.  Now that you have found your tree think about how you are going to get to your stand.  Think about getting to your strand without walking down the trail the deer travel or walking by the bedding area to get to your stand.  Something that can be challenging this time of year in areas where the leaves are on the ground.  As you have experienced, it can be noisy in the mornings getting to your stand.  A trick I learned from someone many years ago and that is to mimic a buck chasing a doe.  You can walk at fast pace (without tripping) while blowing the grunt call as you walk.  While the primary rut is over, there will be some does that come in late that bucks will want to breed (Think about the bucks you have seen chasing a doe – it makes a lot of noise).  This has worked for me on several occasions when I have been walking to my stand and had a deer blow.  They did not wind me but I did scare them.  I immediately got on the grunt call and quickly walked to the stand.  I have seen the deer come back towards the stand as I got up in the tree to investigate.

Finally, I believe you need to put everything in your favor that you can control.  We cannot control the weather and the wind.  Although, we can work around them to some degree.  One factor that I believe in and that is hunting around the moon phases.  If I only have a few days to hunt, I am going to pick the days that the moon is going to be in my favor.  We have a number of resources that you can use on the site such as the Game Forecast Charts .  While there are no absolutes, I do believe the moon has impact on deer movement.  The major feeding times are going to revolve around the moon up and moon down phases.  Now, I don’t protest to be a moon expert.  I am a bow hunter that try’s to put as many factors in my favor as I can.

Originally posted 2009-12-01 22:08:34. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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