Food+Food+Food=Late Season Success

If cold temperatures are the norm and hold over through December, bowhunters who are still at it, could experience some good late season action!

That is because bucks and does alike feed heavily in December. Adult does and even young bucks have been through this winter-thing before. They know that hard-living lies ahead. They have been through it. So they tend to pig out in December, putting on the fat they will need to carry themselves through the winter ahead.

Gary Clancy
Gary Clancy

Bucks especially need to eat and eat a lot in December. Right now there is hardly any fat on their bodies. They ran themselves lean doing all of that scraping, chasing, fighting, and breeding. Bucks instinctively know that they either replace some of that fat now, while there is still nutritious food available in good quantities, or they are going to suffer come winter.

But the bucks, which have managed to survive this long, are not likely to come wandering out into a cornfield to feed until after shooting hours. Sure they are hungry, but safety comes first and the safe thing to do is to wait until near dark to make their entrance. So most of the time, this is what they do. Most of the time. There are exceptions.

Deer which are fortunate to live in a place where they received little hunting pressure, don’t think twice about hitting that picked cornfield early in the evening. Heck, on some tightly controlled private land, it is not unusual to see does and fawns out feeding at midday and bucks, nice ones too, entering the field well before the end of shooting light. Hey, we see it on TV all the time. But most of us will never get to hunt these places. So what do we do?

We find what are likely to be the best feeding fields. In ag areas that is most likely going to be harvested, but un-tilled cornfields. We look for places where we can hang a stand or two, or maybe trees on the edge of the field, which are suitable for climbers. If we are going to hunt from a ground blind, we set it up right now, brush it in and leave it alone for a few days, so that deer get used to it. Deer quickly come to accept a ground blind as just another piece of old machinery or maybe a round bale. Three days will usually do it.

And then we pray for snow and cold. If we get night temps in the teens and single digits, with daytime highs in the 20s and 5- or 6 inches of snow on the ground, it is going to be a very Merry Christmas!

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