Once you’ve identified food sources, it’s time to turn your attention to bedding and cover. If you’re hunting an area you’ve never put boots on the ground in before, seeking out aerial images will help you get an idea of where to start. Hunters will want to concentrate on low pressure areas. Coming off of the rut and months of hunting pressure, deer will be seeking areas that have limited pressure where they feel more secure. These areas are often thick and nasty. That kind of cover provides excellent thermal bedding where deer can soak up the sun on cold days, and often those honey holes will hold decent numbers of deer. Southern facing slopes are also a solid place to glass on cold days where you’ll often find deer tucked into the grass or cover, taking advantage of the sun. Finding bedding and cover that is close to food sources is important. The ability to identify these areas, and the trails they take between, will allow hunters to create an ambush point. Thinking outside the box can pay off in a big way. Old run down homesteads, abandoned vehicles and equipment, treerows and fencerows, brush piles and more can all be perfect hideouts for late season whitetails. These areas with little human activity and plenty of cover provide a lot of protection. Scout, hang cameras and hunt these areas carefully.
Finally, the weather is always a factor this time of year - it’s winter. Weather systems that bring swift and significant drops in the temperature provide an ideal opportunity for hunters. When temperatures experience a drop of 10 degrees or more for 24-hours, expect deer to be up and moving. Watching the barometric pressure can also help you key in on the most advantageous moments to secure a late season whitetail. Deer like a pressure above 30.00 with the sweet spot being a barometric pressure between 30.00 – 30.40.
To all of you lucky hunters who still have a season and a tag open, good luck!