Beat the cold to bag a late-season buck

Having lived in Virginia to the age of 12, cold weather was definitely something to get used to. The low temps of the North can be hard to deal with, but tend to increase deer movement. This increase in deer activity may offer your best opportunity to harvest a buck.

The last few deer seasons have been quite warm, which has decreased harvest numbers. If temperatures continue to remain as they are, I don’t expect a good late-muzzleloader season. With any luck, we’ll receive a cold front to spur the winter feeding routine. Due to the drop in temperature, the routine of deer in your area will begin to change. Temperature changes tend to create the most predictable movement of the season. Predictability of deer activity will greatly increase your odds of a harvest. At this point, food will become much more important in a buck’s routine. With the onslaught of cold and snow you will once again be forced to alter your hunting strategy to accommodate the changes in deer movement.

I favor the mid-seasons stand sets for cold weather. Deer often arrive at the food source during legal light, but pressure may still cause a late arrival. With temperatures below ten degrees fahrenheit, the animals will bed for a shorter period of time. They will frequently move to heat up and to fill their furnace. Increased movement will make it much easier to designate the most frequently used trail systems, especially in snow. For an afternoon hunt, I recommend starting at the food source and back tracking the most heavily used trails. I like to set up at about the midpoint between the bed and food. As for an a.m. hunt, I start at the bed and track back to the midpoint.

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