Published on January 16, 2018
Every bowhunter loves hunting in October and November. The weather is typically nice, bucks are chasing does, and the odds of success are pretty good. When December rolls around, being motivated to get outside and bow hunt is pretty low on the priority list. According to Pat Reeve from Driven TV, the late season is a great time to get out in the woods and kill a buck. “Once the rut ends, deer get back to a normal routine and they can be patterned much easier than they can during the rut,” Reeve said.
When Reeve hunts the late season, he focuses largely on food sources and doesn’t hunt a location unless his trail cameras are providing pictures of good bucks. “It is really important this time of year to not over hunt an area. The deer won’t tolerate it. Nicole and I stay out of our spots unless our cameras show us that good bucks are moving through an area we want to hunt.”
Most of the cameras Reeve puts out are over food plots or farm fields that still have standing crops. “Once we see that bucks are returning to their normal feeding patterns, we start hunting. This time of year, we prefer hunting out of ground blinds because it can be a little warmer and sitting in a chair makes sitting for hours in the cold much easier than when we are hunting out of a treestand.”
During the late season, Pat and Nicole often get picked up by truck or ATV after a long hunt. “Leaving a food source can be tricky after dark, especially during the late season when large numbers of deer congregate on a food source at one time,” Reeve said. “Walking out will often spook the deer, but being picked up by a truck doesn’t seem to bother them so that’s what we often do. I think it is very important when hunting the late season to have a good exit strategy because wise old bucks won’t tolerate much pressure. Getting picked up by someone has worked out well for us.”
Drawing a bow and shooting at a buck can be difficult when Pat and Nicole hunt in December and January so they practice shooting almost daily. “We practice shooting from a seated position, which can be more difficult when it is cold outside. Shooting a bow in cold weather can be challenging so we practice a lot so when the perfect shot presents itself, we are ready,” Reeve explained. “I even crank down Nicole’s bow a little bit so it is easier for her to draw in cold weather. Bowhunters should shoot often during the late season if they plan to hunt during the late season. Drawing with bulky clothes on and after you have been sitting for hours in cold temperatures is tough.”
Bowhunting during the late season presents many challenges, but it can be very rewarding. Patterning the feeding pattern of a monster buck in the late season is often easier than trying to find him in the rut. If you still have a tag in your pocket, bundle up and find a food source. Like Pat and Nicole, you might find yourself grip and grinning with a nice buck.