Late-Season Hunting Tips: How to Successfully Strategize More Hunting This Winter

by Will Shepard

As hunting season is still in high gear, hunters are still searching to put meat on their table. There are a lot of options to successfully this winter.

In fact, hunting for White-Tail and Mule Deer, Pheasants, Mallards, Deer, and Coyotes during the late-season are all viable options. So, all over the country, people can escape the confines of their lockdowns to hunt these awesome animals. Most of all though, make sure you are well acquainted with all state regulations before heading out for a hunt.

White-tail and Mule deer are common all over the U.S., so, let’s focus on how to successfully hunt these animals.

Hunting This Winter For White-Tail and Mule Deer

Winter hunting for big bucks and does are some of the hardest and most rewarding hunting there is. Successfully harvesting late-season White-tail and Mule deer is a feat that some people never accomplish.

Deer and most ungulates seem to know the exact dates of when hunting season starts and ends. This means the animals seem to simply disappear during the season. However, that isn’t necessarily true, so the keys to hunting this winter are paramount to success.

Hunting during the winter can often result in trophy bucks. These deer have evaded hunters for the majority of the season, so they are big, strong, and exceedingly smart. This also makes the hunts all that much more rewarding.

There are some keys to hunting successfully strategizing how to hunt these animals in the winter.

More Keys to Hunting Deer

The first key to understanding where these deer spend their time. Most importantly, all animals are motivated by food, and deer are no exception. Kevin Small, of Midwest Outfitting Company, says that there is one particular sweet spot to find deer. A large majority of deer can be found bedded down late in the season in good cover with food nearby.

“The absolute perfect place is dense cover on a south-facing slope close to good food.”

As winter is taking over the U.S., the deer’s rutting period is mostly over. But, there is actually a time frame for a second rut. It usually occurs about 28 days after the primary rut, according to Small.

Hunting this winter for deer, again, is food-centric, but the best place to find deer is near grain sources. Deer are suckers for grain, so a great place to find them is near cornfields, bean fields, or any naturally occurring winter greenery.

Additionally, hunting in the morning and towards duck are still great options, don’t limit yourself to one or the other. The days are getting longer again, so explore both options thoroughly.

Finding Pheasants and Mallards

Public lands are the best places to find pheasants and mallards. Mallards, sometimes referred to as green heads, are one of the most common birds in the world. Pheasants, on the other hand, are not nearly as common but are perhaps more fun to hunt.

First, late-season hunting this winter for mallards is something that can happen almost anywhere in America. Last season alone, got nearly half a million green heads.

Mallards exist everywhere there is water. And just like deer, they are motivated primarily by food. Additionally, Mallards’ migration periods are mostly complete, so once you find a flock, you will likely be able to keep an eye on them anywhere.

Public lands, where hunting is legal, is certainly a good place to find mallards. Hunting in the winter in colder places, where ponds ice up, Mallards don’t typically leave too often. They need to keep water open to access their food. So, this means that you can continue to hunt for mallards in ponds or lakes in the cold months.

Mallards, like deer, enjoy grain, so searching for them around fields is a good strategy as well. Often, public lands have lots of grain fields near them. This means that finding a grain field with open water near it makes it easier to hunt them.

Late-Season Pheasant Hunting

Pheasants, on the other hand, are mostly out in the western part of America. However, pheasants also need food to survive. Just like mallards, pheasants need water. But, they are harder to find than mallards. The fowl mostly stick to good cover where they can hide easily from threats.

Moreover, hunting in the morning and the evening is the best time to find pheasants. In the cold mornings and evenings of winter, the birds are warming their bodies back up. So, finding them while they are most dormant, will be the easiest way to find them.

Additionally, along with knowing where to find them, having a good bird dog to flush them up into the air is a great option.

Successfully Strategizing a Hunt for Coyotes

Winter hunting for coyotes is hard but well worth the effort. Public lands are the best place to find these singing dogs. Additionally, there is no bag limit in some states for coyotes.

Wildlife Management Areas are excellent places to hunt coyotes. But grasslands are the optimal places to spend your days hunting in the winter. Coyotes love roaming hills, thickets, creeks, and most of all grasslands hunting for their prey.

Additionally, the more acreage with less human presence means better hunting this winter. Coyotes are some of the most intelligent animals and know exactly how to stay away from people. They have great eyesight and better senses of smell, which makes hunting them difficult.

A successful tactic is to perfect a distressed rabbit call. In the winter, coyotes rely heavily on rabbits. But, when tracking the animals, keep an eye on their scat. There is a lot of information you can learn from food remnants. Deer and turkeys can also provide great insight into where coyotes are.

Also, don’t be afraid of how like you are one of the animals. Their breeding season begins in January and so finding them during the winter months gets a little easier. Just like fowl hunting, dawn and dusk are the best times to find the animals. They are usually just concluding or starting their hunts, so they are the least active during this time.

Most of all, while hunting in the winter, don’t forget to have fun and be patient. Not all hunts will be successful, but following these tips is a great start.

[H/T Field and Stream]