The smoke hasn’t quite cleared on the heels of the West Virginia Buck season, and it was by all accounts a good one. Following several banner years of good mast crops, healthy deer herds, an opening day blessed with seasonable and clear conditions, all came together to help get more hunters in the woods and more bucks on the ground.
Buck season, for many, is the main event when it comes to deer hunting. It doesn’t have to be the only event however, there is still some good hunting left to be had.
With the buck firearm season that finished up on December 5 it generally starts the gradual winding down of the deer season. There are a few more weeks of archery season left, a week of muzzleloader season and a couple of three day antlerless seasons left to go.
These late seasons may be just the ticket to get that last crack at a trophy buck, to finish off the filling of the freezer, or better yet to introduce a friend or family member to deer hunting. So don’t throw in the towel just yet.
Once the masses of hunters that flooded the woods on the first day of buck season have left and the woods are quiet again, deer quickly slip back into their usual routine and often go right back to the familiar travel and feeding patterns they used back before things got crazy. This can be a huge advantage to the hunter who is willing to stick it out and brave the late season weather in order to fill that deer tag.
The latter part of the season is also a lot more laid back than the buck firearm season. The buck season is the big show. Everyone is in a hurry to get “their buck” and they willing to put in long hours and long hikes to do it.
As the season winds down, there isn’t nearly as much hunting pressure and there isn’t nearly as much pressure to make sure you get that deer. Late season hunts are a lot easier to get out and enjoy the beauty of the hunt.
Now just because it is mid to late December, and the hunting isn’t as pressure packed, it doesn’t mean it can’t be just as successful as that much anticipated November hunt. You may have to deal with a little more in the way of weather, but the elements can often be your best friend when hunting if the hunter is prepared.
As the winter looms nearer, deer generally start to feed heavy in the anticipation of the coming bad weather. This fact alone can be a secret weapon when hunting the late seasons. It boils down to find the food source, find the deer.
This need to feed is a big help when trying to figure out where to hunt. It also makes the late season a prime time to introduce a new hunter to deer hunting. A well placed ground blind near a food plot or other prime feeding location can provide hours of deer activity and possibly some fresh venison.
A ground blind is a great place to set up with young hunters who don’t like to sit still or tend to be a bit fidgety. They also offer a little more protection from the elements to help make the hunt more comfortable for a new hunter.
So in the upcoming holiday season with many of us having days off from school and work, get out and do a little late season hunting. Find a food source, grab a ground blind and grab a new hunter and head out in the field for some quality time and what may well be some of the best hunting of the year.