-By Brandon Wikman
Do you want to test your whitetail hunting abilities to the extreme? Would you like to face-off with some of the most challenging variables and obstacles in the outdoors known to mankind? I urge you; take the late-season hunting challenge to test your woods-wits!
I’ve never been a fan of bone-chilling weather. Nonetheless, I live in the great state of Wisconsin that remains frozen one-third of the year, literally. Over the years you’d think a person would come to deal with the frigid forecasts or even adapt, but not me. It makes for problematic and definitely dangerous situations. Our bodies can only tolerate so much winter weather before things turn just plain icy! Yet, many dedicated hunters still find themselves layering up and yanking bootlaces tight to hop in a tree stand.
Late season brings much more than frosty weather, but also a heap of other issues that make it one of the most enduring hunts imaginable. Deer have been continually chased, harassed and sometimes shot at for the past three months! Many hunters and landowners don’t own a large enough tract of land to hold deer that haven’t experienced a little hunter harassment. A deer’s education has not only expanded to the means of human pressure, but more or less skyrocketed! Late-season deer are a totally different breed of animal. They are always on the tips of their hooves on high alert, but I can assure you one thing. They are still killable.
The best times to hunt during the late season are intense snaps of cold weather and an impoundment of snow. It’s times like these when deer will be in your food plot or a nearby agriculture field devouring everything in sight. Deer not only live by their keen senses, but also machine-like stomach. Food is a deer’s primal source of energy, which keeps them warm and alive to see another day. A deer must eat. It’s as simple as that. That is great news for hunters and keeps us in the stand throughout the month of December.
During extreme cold fronts, deer are more apt to move earlier. Typically, the best time to kill a deer that has experienced at least a little human pressure is minutes before dark. Otherwise, much of the herd has become nocturnal. There are different cases, situations and circumstances in each hunting condition, but I’m speaking generally.
Many people have the best luck hunting their food plot during this period of season more than ever. Much of the agriculture fields have been stripped-bare or tilled, which sends the herd to the nearest food source. I implement the Fall/Winter/Spring Food Plot Blend made by Antler King within my woods. It has proven to not only hold deer in the area, but also supplement vital nutrition to keep the herd health stable. Truly, a whitetail haven is comprised of a habitat that has cover for bedding, experiences low hunting pressure throughout the season and, most importantly, has food availability on a year-round basis.
I will be making an attempt to hunt at least a few days during December and January. When you can fill your whitetail tag during the late season, you’ve accomplished two great things. First-off, you’ve proved that you aren’t afraid to bundle up and face the elements when everyone else stays indoors. Secondly, you’ve outsmarted an already well-educated animal. It is definitely a combination of pride, heart and wisdom of the woods.