1. Put Your Best Foot Forward: In the Northeast, late-season deer hunting kicks into high gear once the snow flies, and you can count on that happening anytime after Thanksgiving. The very first flop of snow—6 inches or more—seems to make things happen.
2. Find Food: Foot-deep snowfalls will force deer into full survival mode. Now’s the time to get back to that nut-laden red-oak flat or fruit-filled abandoned apple orchard you tucked into the back of your mind during early season. And it’s critical to be there waiting the first late afternoon following a storm. Deer will be on the move early.
Does will likely be the first to arrive, so be patient and hold your shot until the waning hours of legal shooting light. If the does act nervous around the food source, bucks may be approaching.
3. Hunt the New Rut: Unbred does re-enter estrus approximately 28 days after the peak of the primary rut. If you’re expecting to see the frenetic chasing activity of a month ago, you’ll be disappointed.
However, when the second rut kicks in, do your utmost to find a hot doe and shadow her. How? You can identify a doe in heat by the red droplets of blood she leaves in the snow upon urination. Track her with an ever-vigilant eye out for bucks who might be trailing her.
4. Timberrrrrr: Ideally, you should hatch this killer late-season tactic in spring. If trees on your deer lease need thinning, cruise the property as the leaves pop in April and May. Mark the trees—poplar, ash, maple—with spray paint and leave them standing until late fall.
Once late deer season snow hits, wait until midday and knock down a couple of the marked trees. The tender treetops provide prime forage, and deer will flock to your homemade hot spot.
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