The following was written by Brandon Adams. He works full-time for BuckVentures as a cameraman and is the show’s Editor/Producer.
From Dec. 10 – Jan. 15 is probably one of my favorite times of the year, next to early season. Why not the rut, you may ask? This is a time of the year that the only thing on a mature buck’s mind is food. Sure, you can catch a buck checking does coming in during their second cycle, but generally speaking they are “Bed to Feed, Feed to Bed” during late season.
Bucks are recuperating from the rut and the toll it has taken on their bodies. This is where food is a must for them to regain enough fat and energy to make it through the coming winter months. Bucks are more apt to be patterned just like early season, allowing you to observe and do your homework before moving in to make the kill. Yet there are many things that can make this time of year go bad in a hurry.
Weather is the most critical piece of the puzzle because you want brutally cold temps. If you’re unfortunate enough to be in the middle of a heat wave in December you may be banging your head against a wall as the mature bucks are on food sources after and before shooting hours. If you find cold temperatures make sure to dress in layers that allow you to draw your bow and shoot without getting in the way. Also, there are products such as the Heater Body Suit that allow you to dress lighter and come out of one thick layer only when you need to.
Hunting pressure is a big part of how good late season will be for you. How hard (how aggressively) you hunted during the first couple months plays a key role in how productive the farm might be. If you pressured the place to much and do not have adequate cover and food sources to hold numerous deer, you may not see to many 5.5 year olds during daylight hours. If you’re fortunate enough to have crop fields or other means of food for recovering deer then that is where you need to be when the temperatures drop. This time of year also means that the deer will already be skittish before entering a food source so be careful to pick a tree with good cover and move only when you must. It’s a good idea to keep as many does and young bucks in front of you as you can to make sure the older bucks feel more comfortable entering a food source.
Although there are many things that go into taking big mature bucks during this time of year, it is even more rewarding to know that you stuck it out and take a big buck while most others have already hung up their bows and guns for the year. These are a few of my thoughts on hunting post rut bucks and you can bet your bottom dollar I’m itching at the bit to get to Iowa (Land of the GIANTS), with Aaron Volkmar and Tyler Till at Tails of the Hunt Outfitters, to fill my late muzzleloader tag after Christmas!
Written by Brandon Adams