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How To/Pro-Tips

Common Sense Bait

Use common sense on the water when picking baits. If fish are whacking mayflies on the surface, stay away from the nymph. The closer you match their feed, the more you'll increase your catch.

Late Season Groceries

Food is the greatest single factor in late season deer hunting success. With winter coming on everywhere frigid weather already settled in to the northern states, deer are trying to "fuel up" for a long winter. The farther north you go and the colder it gets, the more pronounced is this last minute feeding frenzy. Agricultural crops, particularly corn, are great favorites as deer food. These fertilized grains are loaded with nutrients and carbohydrates that help deer build up the fat reserves they need for winter survival. Winter greens, both wild and agricultural, are also a draw. Even while concentrating on nutrient-rich grains, deer like greens for variety and vitamins. Winter oats, rye, clover and alfalfa are well utilized by late-season deer. If, in the earlier parts of the season, you were frustrated by a heavy acorn crop, go back now. If it was really heavy there are bound to be some nuts left. Deer love this carbohydrate and fat-rich natural food.

Small Cover, Big Bucks

Anytime after the hunting pressure starts and particularly during the late season, it pays to check small pockets of cover. All deer instinctively try to avoid human contact; mature trophy bucks practice this with a honed skill. They quickly learn where hunters don't go. Most everybody heads for the big woods and true enough, some big bucks tough it out there, hidden deep in the toughest cover. Other bucks vacate the hard-hunted woods for isolated chunks of cover where no one disturbs them. Many a big buck has lived to get bigger by spending the daylight hours of hunting season in a sumac-choked gully on the edge of field or in a cattail swale beside a marsh. They have even been known to lie low in the high weeds of a fallow field. It would be impossible to categorize all the nooks and crannies a wily whitetail might choose for his hidey-hole. Use your imagination; go places other hunters don't go. You may be surprised. -- Brenda Valentine

The Bigger the Better

The bigger the better doesn't always work with decoy spreads, especially late in the season. Scout remote sloughs and backwaters ducks are using and then work them with small spreads of a dozen or less decoys.

Bundle Up

Late-season waterfowlers need to remember to bring plenty of variable (warmth, thickness, weather resistance) layers of clothing. An old duck hunter once said: "It's easy to take off an extra layer, but you can't put it on if you ain't got it along."

Camo Pattern by Realtree
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