At this point in the season you have likely hunted your best stands a time or two. Either you blew a shot, or the buck you had patterned never turned up. As a hunter at times you must reevaluate your approach and determine whether you should adjust your expectations. This blog explains five things to consider in the final two weeks.
Shotgun season begins December 2nd. After gun season the deer become much more skittish and difficult to hunt with a bow. It can be done, but you will likely be spending longer, colder hours in the tree stand with fewer opportunities. You may want to take an additional day off of work or shoot a buck that you passed on earlier in the season to avoid having to hunt in December and January.
The End of Harvest
When I was younger I hunted rabbits off the combine as my dad would harvested. We wouldn’t see anything all day until we reached the last section of standing corn. Rabbits and pheasants would pop out all over. Think of the deer the same way. Most farmers have their crops out at this point. However, if you locate a standing field near you, it may hold a significant number of deer. Does avoid bucks by hiding in thick cover. As a result the does will gravitate to the remaining crops, and the bucks will follow.
Variations in Calling
Up to this point I have largely used contact grunts and rattling to bring in aggressive bucks. Consider doe bleats if you see a buck tending a frustrated doe. The doe may try to run the buck off onto another doe if you bleat at her. Bleats to draw in the doe work well when you can’t seem to get the buck’s attention.
Take a hunt off to scout. If you have been hunting hard for the last two weeks, don’t continue to rely on scouting done in late October. At this point the deer have changed their patterns. The crops have been removed, the rut is in full swing and many deer have had a run in or two with a hunter. The deer may have changed their preferred food sources and likely frequent water less as it has cooled off. What you believed was the right approach in early November may not continue to work. At the very least hunt a field edge that allows you to view a wide area and understand deer movement.
At the beginning of the season you may have had your eye on a Booner. Instead, you have watched highly aroused spike bucks frolic around under your tree stand for the last month. If you have an old buck patterned in the area that will likely shrink in the next year, you may want to take the shot. Another candidate is a younger buck with poor genetics.
Only two more weeks of top-notch hunting left. I hope this article helps you get the job done.