Deer Hunting: The 5 Worst Places to Hunt Late in Season

by Matthew Wilson

Another winter, another hunting season. Many hunters have bagged their kills, but some hunters are still on the prowl for deer and that trophy buck.

Hunting during the late season can be a bit of a mixed bag. The deer are on high alert, it’s cold, and time isn’t on your side. Maximize your chances by avoiding these hunting mistakes. These are the worst places to hunt during the late season.

5. Worst States For Deer Hunting

Not to call anyone out, but hunters in these states might have a more difficult hunt, especially in late winter. Based on hunting data, these states have been ranked as the worst for deer hunting: Michigan, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Maine, Vermont, New Jersey, and New York.

We’re not saying it’s impossible to get a buck in these states. But with hunting season soon drawing to a close, why not maximize your chances by hunting in Kentucky or Indiana, or Missouri?

4. Hunting in Areas That Lack Thermal and Solar Cover

It may go against a popular saying. But don’t hunt in the shadows. Like most warm-blooded mammals, deer like to keep warm especially in the winter. Since they can’t wear a winter coat and thermals, they look for warmth in the sunlight and brush. Late winter months especially have the animal searching out sources of heat.

If the area is lacking mature timber, hardwoods, or proper natural thermal cover, you might want to move along and find another area. Search out cedar trees and other coniferous plants. Because they hold heat longer, they make perfect places for deer to sleep during the day.

Likewise, find an area that offers plenty of sunlight like south-facing slopes and hillsides. Deer will often bed there to warm themselves during the day.

3. Areas that Lack Food Sources for Deer

While harvest may be plentiful in the spring, winter is a time for scarcity for animals. If the deer aren’t eating, then most likely you won’t be either. Hunting in an area that lacks food sources for the animal is a fool’s errand. Our suggestion to you is to find an area rich with late-season food sources.

What are late-season food sources to be on the lookout for? Deer prefer a variety of things such as soybeans, wheat, shelled corn, oats, turnips, beets, and nuts like acorns. With a bit of prior planning, hunters can sort out where these sources are plentiful.

2. Areas That Don’t Have Trail Camera Traffic

Like many things, technology has revolutionized the way hunters approach game. While some may view trail cameras as unfair, there’s no denying they are an effective tool in a hunter’s arsenal. Trail cameras can help a hunter figure out whether an area’s well populated or if the deer have moved on.

While nothing is foolproof, zero activity on trail cameras is a sign that perhaps you should move along as well. If you aren’t seeing deer and the camera’s not seeing deer, perhaps there just isn’t any deer in the area.

1. Areas That Have Been Over-Hunted

Sometimes a hunter’s worst enemy is their fellow hunter. Hunting on public land can be a bit of a mixed bag. This is especially true in late season. If possible, avoid areas that have received a lot of foot traffic previously. Hunters will either have already bagged their prey. Or the deer, increasingly gun-shy, will have fled their pursuers.

If possible, hunting on private land is the way to go. But that’s not a reality for a large number of hunters. Try to find a location that hasn’t seen a lot of hunting activity in recent days. If you follow these tips, you might be able to land yourself a buck before the season closes.