By Alex Comstock
Across much of the country, deer season will be coming to close within the next few days to few weeks. All of the states I hunt will be closing after the first week of January other than my metro sub unit in Wisconsin (Jan. 31). As we come down to crunch time, you can still fill a tag, but will more than likely have to give it your all. Here are three last minute tactics you can try to fill your buzzer beater tag.
1. Get on The Ground with White
This is a tactic that I normally reserve for this time of year and for a couple reasons. Still hunting isn’t the easiest for me, as I simply need more practice doing it, but it can be very effective, especially if you have snow on the ground and have white camo (heck or even a white sheet). Don’t be afraid to infiltrate a bedding area by moving ever so slowly through it, pick up on a fresh pair of tracks and go after one or attempt to move in closer to where you’ve been seeing deer from your blind or stand.
A great example of this would be the end of my 2014 deer season. I had been hunting on the edge of some really thick timber, and every time I sat my stand the last couple weeks of season, I would either hear or catch glimpses of movement in the thick timber. I should have made my move earlier, but eventually I wised up and on the last day of season (Dec. 31), I decided to throw on the white and slowly make my way through the thick timber where I had been seeing deer until I spotted something and go from there. After still hunting for less than an hour that evening, I caught movement. I threw up my binos and noticed there was a solid eight pointer making his way towards me. I noticed a deadfall pile to my right, and setup next to that. The buck eventually made his way to twenty yards and I was able to get a shot at last light, but I hit a small branch and the arrow sailed high. Though I didn’t connect, it opened my eyes to another way of hunting, and it’s a tactic that I know I should use more often.
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2. Deer Drive
Now, when I say a deer drive, I’m not talking about the classic deer drives you may be thinking about, most often done during rifle season with large groups of people. In this particular situation, I’m talking about having one or two of your buddies or family members bump small pockets where you think deer could be bedded. You don’t want the deer to be bolting when they come by you, especially if you’re bowhunting.
This tactic was put on display perfectly last week in Nebraska, as my cousin and uncle were able to pull this off almost flawlessly. My uncle Rick bumped a small piece of timber, and my cousin Kaleb had a number of deer come by him, including a 150” 10 pointer that he was able to arrow. When executed correctly, this is one of my favorite tactics to put to use at the end of the season.
3. Ask Around for Permission
Does it seem like deer vanish from your hunting property or wherever you can hunt during the late season? If that’s the case, they most likely have sought out a better food source somewhere. Something that can work well this time of year is to drive around or ask around to see if anyone has been seeing a bunch of deer somewhere. This might be in a field that was never harvested or something along those lines. Don’t be afraid to try and get permission where the deer are. This is what I’d consider a true last ditch effort, but there are a lot of people that are done hunting by now that wouldn’t mind you hunting for the last few days or weeks of season. If you’re hunting property has become a ghost town, don’t be afraid to give this a shot.
There’s nothing like shooting a last minute buck. Three of my bow bucks have come in the month of December, with two of those being the last week of season. It only takes one precious moment for your season to change and make a year’s worth of work all pay off. Get out there, give these a try, and you just never know what could happen.