It’s no secret that food sources can be hotspots right after a snowstorm. But dealing with the varied weather extremes Mother Nature can dish out during the tag end of the season can be a lot more complicated.
If you’ve booked time off or only have weekends free, you can’t wait for perfect weather. You need to adapt both where you hunt and your strategy to whitetails’ weather-influenced movement patterns. Here’s a guide to hunting tactics for eight extreme late-season weather conditions.
1. Heavy Snowfall/Blizzard
You have three options here:
• Hunt before it hits. Deer know when storms are coming, and they feed heavily six to 18 hours before heavy snows set in. Leave work early, take a day off, call in sick—do whatever it takes to be on a current food source before the storm hits. Orchards, food plots, oak flats that still have acorns, and fields of soybean, wheat, and radish can all be productive pre-storm stakeouts. In high-pressure areas, check out secondary foods like raspberry, honeysuckle, greenbrier, and plum thickets.
• Hunt mid-storm. Put on tall boots or gaiters, wool, and waterproof outer clothing. Look for bucks hunkered down in sheltered areas, such as conifer thickets, brush, and blowdowns. Pinpoint this cover on the lee side of mountains and hills, on benches, or even in valleys where deer can find some escape from the worst of the storm. Still-hunt carefully along the edges.
• Hunt post-storm. Find the best remaining food sources and take a stand downwind. Deer will be moving. They have to be—survival demands they get food after being holed up, sometimes for days.