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How Can I Create the Perfect Late-Season Deer Stand?

Carolyn Lynch
How Can I Create the Perfect Late-Season Deer Stand?

The best late-season deer stands are usually planned and prepared many months in advance. Besides, it’s not too soon to start thinking about next winter, and the winter after. A late-season deer stand that has these six key ingredients would look something like the illustration above.

Ingredient #1: The Best Late-Season Food Source Around

After the rut and cold weather kick in, it's all about food, and if your neighbor's ground is better than yours, then his wall will have better late-season bucks.

Deer can easily access grains and greens even if there is snow, so these are the best winter food sources. Some prime examples include standing beans, standing corn, brassicas, and recently seeded alfalfa. Start with any of these.

You can also speed scout for deer after a snowfall for concentrated feeding activity. In the meantime, start planning your ideal winter food plot for next year by watching for deer eating the last fruits in a grove of apple trees or picking green leaves from honeysuckle thickets. 

Ingredient #2: Menu Options in Your Food Plot

If you're looking for the best late-season food plot, it is best if it offers variety. Winter deer seem to prefer grains during the cold months and greens during the warm months. It's a great idea to have a plot that attracts bucks regardless of the temperature: standing corn or beans surrounded by tall brassicas.

Ingredient #3: A Sunny Bedroom

A winter deer will walk quite some distance to get to the best late-season food plot if they must. However, they don't like it. The closer a deer beds to its main food source, the more likely it is for them to reach it while it is still daylight. Consider the food source closest to prime late-season bedding cover on your ground, such as a wooded slope on the south side of thick cover that gets some sunlight during the day if you plan a late-season plot next year.

Ingredient #4: The Perfect Wind

A fickle wind makes deer ultra-wary currently. A steady wind that blows in a direction where deer are unlikely to approach is important to be able to come back repeatedly. In addition, you do not want the wind blowing into the feeding area, where deer will get you. The breeze should be perpendicular to the deer's path of travel. Ideally, the slope behind you should also be downhill, so that your scent passes harmlessly over any deer that get downwind. If the wind is wrong, don't hunt there at all.

Ingredient #5: A Good Hiding Place

If you hang a stand, it's best to have some type of conifer or oak (possibly a beech) that's still holding leaves. If you don't want a nanny doe picking you out of your tree, stomping and head-bobbing all night, your other deer will get mad. If you're hunting in an area where it gets cold, a ground blind may be your best option. It helps contain your scent, hides any fidgeting, and allows you to run a small heater if necessary.

In recent years, hardcore hunters have been using elevated platforms with hub-style blinds or box blinds on top of them for late-season deer hunting. As you're above the deer's line of sight, you're less likely to spot any movement. If you need to save it for the late-season plot, you're planning for next year, do so well in advance.

Ingredient #6: An Escape Plan

It's so important: If you don't see the buck or don't get a shot at it, there is a good chance you'll have deer in a field or plot when it's time to leave. You may be tempted to simply have someone pick you up in a truck. However, that won't stop them from coming back. In some cases, that's not possible. Better to arrange the stand or blinds so that it's easy to get out. Choose a tree that's slightly off the edge of the woods, so that you can shoot into the plot, but also have cover when you get down.

If you’re looking for more hunting tips or looking for hunting land for sale in Mississippi, check out Mississippi Landsource today!

Carolyn Lynch
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