Mapping Out Your Late Season Deer Hunting Approach
The work never ends, especially if you have not tagged out a buck by now. Deer hunting season will soon be transitioning into the late season, which brings with it a whole new set of challenges and opportunities.
Late season deer hunting brings back with it the ability to prepare and plan unlike rifle season in most states which can be a chaotic frenzy pushing bucks in every direction. Because of this, you have to have a strategy for hunting bucks in the late season.
The best way for deer hunting big bucks in the late season is to use trail cameras effectively and position tree stands in the highest success areas. Trail cameras are going to provide the necessary information needed for developing an effective deer stand placement strategy. These two late season deer hunting tactics, when combined, assist you in putting a late season buck on the ground.
Setting Up Late Season Trail Cameras
Much has been written about trail camera settings and setup. All of which are worth reading and considering when deploying late season trail cameras. However, there are two particular settings for your game cameras that are critically important and often overlooked. Both time-lapse and photo burst settings can be helpful when mapping out late season hunting locations.
The time-lapse mode is by far one of the most underrated and underutilized trail camera features available on most game cameras. What the time-lapse setting does is take pictures at a specified interval over a certain period of time. That allows you to monitor a food source like a food plot to track exactly how and when deer are using it. The key pieces of data from time-lapse images are what deer are using a late season food source and where they are entering and exiting.
Choose a trail camera with high resolution, 10MP or greater, and a large memory card, 16GB or greater. Place your cameras over a food source, such as a food plot or agricultural field, and set it to take photos for the first 1-2 hours or the last 1-2 hours of daylight with a 1-minute trigger.
Photo Burst Mode
Many cameras also have a photo burst mode, which takes several photos over a pre-set delay. This setting is useful for monitoring travel corridors such as funnels, draws, and main trail arteries. The goal with using this setting is to focus on individual buck patterns in order to position and time tree stand sits for late season deer hunting.
Position your camera at a 45-degree angle from the trail or travel corridor, no more than 30-feet away. Set burst mode to capture 3-5 photos on a short delay like 10 seconds. Burst mode helps to capture a clean image of a moving deer, a buck in this case, so you can clearly identify him and pattern his movements.
Additionally, there are other late season trail cameras tips that you should consider. First, always use fresh batteries when re-deploying game cameras for the late season. Cold weather can drain batteries faster and utilizing the two settings above can also use more battery power than you would normally. Second, having the HuntStand hunting app you can build detailed maps of where you positioned trail cameras. This allows you to easily explore the best places to hang a late season tree stand. Lastly, you want to make sure you keep cameras, straps and your presence as scent free as possible. Bucks have had an almost entire season of hunting pressure and the slightest hint of a human can be enough to throw off your late season deer hunting chances.
3 Primary Stand Locations for Hunting Bucks Late Season
Your trail camera data matched with advanced hunting app features will be your guide to making critical tree stand placement decisions. That being said, here are three primary tree stand locations that consistently produce for late season deer hunting.
Food Sources – Not a big surprise here. Deer will be back feeding as the late season arrives. Key food sources include food plots, agricultural fields with leftover crops and recent clear-cuts that have tops and new growth to browse. Use trail cameras to monitor which food sources are hot and develop a deer stand placement strategy around them.
Buck Sign – Unless you are lucky enough to run across some second rut action, most rut activity has concluded by this time of the year. Although, bucks have been known to use the same travel areas where they made rubs earlier in the year. Good rub lines from this year are one of the best places to hang a late season tree stand.
Post-season Bedding Areas – Having trail cameras positioned on travel corridors will provide a mechanism for mapping out late season buck bedding areas. Tract bucks back to their beds devise an ambush spot nearby for a tree stand.
Timing Late Season Deer Hunting Sits
With your late season whitetail hunting strategy mapped out, the final piece of the puzzle is to decide when you make the move to a particular stand. There are three timing triggers to remember for deer hunting big bucks the last few weeks of the season.
Forage Depletion – A lot of times buck can sense when their main food source is starting to dry up. Think agricultural fields. As leftover corn or beans get exhausted, bucks will tend to visit them more frequently in order to consume as much as they can while it's available. Be aware of this and put the time in stand over food sources that diminishing.
Daytime Activity – Trail cameras will let you know when daytime activity is ramping up in a certain area. Take advantage and hunt stands where bucks are moving during shooting hours.
Cold Fronts – Cold fronts force deer to feed. The ends, leading edge and retreating edge, of deer hunting a cold front are the best. It's already cold in the late season so how do you know when to hunt one? You are looking for a temperature change of at least 5- to 10-degrees, pressure changes and precipitation in the form of snow. A hard cold front when late season deer hunting might be exactly what it takes to trigger a mature buck to move during the day.
Late season deer hunting can be literally a mountain to climb. If you are still looking to fill your buck tag this time of year, preparation plays a huge factor. Get your trail cameras out working for you and map out the best places to hang a late season tree stand.