Hunting can be fun, especially when you have a successful season! So, if you are looking for more challenges, try hunting in the winter where you don't have much tree cover, and you have to pay attention if you want to snag a big buck.
Once the weather gets colder, the deer aren't so easy to find, so you will have to be on your game. Here are 10 tips for hunting deer in the winter to help you fill your tag!
Depending on how you plan on hunting (with a bow or a gun), your range of movement can be significantly affected by the layers of clothing you wear during the winter. As an archer, you may find that you have decreased draw strength.
If you use a rifle, you must have the correct type of holster that will help you to line up your shot. By practicing in your full winter gear, you can prepare and adapt.
When hunting buck during the winter, you will be out all day, walking very slowly and silently. You may want to plan your hunt around feeding areas during the early morning.
You can even look around these feeding areas for bucks that are still asleep. Sneak around the ridgelines to stay hidden and keep the wind at your face to prevent the deer from detecting you.
Hunting in the winter means hunting in the snow is possible. Use this to your advantage by learning the difference in deer tracks (mature bucks will have a more extensive path that is larger in the front). You will also want to start following the ways because you could find feeding and bedding grounds.
Throughout the winter, deer need carbs and fat to make it through the harsh weather. Look for crop grains like corn and soybeans because these are great suppliers of both.
Also, watch unfrozen water sources because when winter comes, these become scarce. Deer will flock to these unfrozen sources for their water, thus making it easier to hunt them.
Many people will avoid areas thick with vegetation, but you could be missing out on excellent scores. Instead of approaching these areas like a standard field, you will need to approach them differently, even if that means squatting to see under the plants or crawling on your belly to get a closer look.
The critical thing about the dense vegetation is to proceed very slowly and not scare away any lurking deer (or other animals).
When you want to stop moving for any reason, make sure you stop near some cover, be it a tree, a bush, boulder, etc. The body will keep you shielded from the deer's view and keep them from running off.
Also, these things will give you a chance to rest and act as a rest if you need to shoot offhand.
The key to finding a food source where the deer feel most safe is searching for quality forage. Many hunters or outdoor sportsmans overlook late-season food sources like Forbes, which make up more than 60% of what deer will eat throughout the year.
Forbs can be found on the southern slopes that get the most sun. Here, you'll find weeds and wildflowers that are still growing and are green. The best slopes will be those facing entirely south, but southwest slopes are suitable too.
Being wet and cold isn't a good situation when hunting in the winter. You can avoid getting sweaty on your trek to your tree stand by wearing moisture-wicking clothing and making sure you layer up.
You don't want to don your warm outer layers until you get to your mood. You'll be more comfortable (and warmer) once you get on the stand.
Hunting deer in the winter using the still hunting tactic will be challenging, and you may have to make tough shots. The shots you may be able to get will be freehand, and in the best-case scenario, there'll be a tree or boulder for you to rest on.
Shooting deer in the winter will require fast shooting, and you won't have the chance to set up for a regular shot like you would during the fall. You will want to practice these shots in the off-season at the best gun range near you to prepare better for still hunting.
Hunting in the winter does have its own set of challenges for every sportsmans. You will want to stay alert and make sure that you move very slowly. When you do that and follow these tips, your hunting experience will be much more enjoyable and fruitful! And the essential thing is that you must have the right type of hunting gear.
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