So, you think your season is over? For the seriously addicted now is the start of the next season. While I love pre-season scouting and glassing fields to see deer in velvet the information gathered has limited value after the first few weeks of the season. This is the time of year I find most valuable. It is when you can really collect a lot of valuable information that you just can’t get during the course of the pre-season. Primarily because deer sign and trails that were used during the rut and later parts of the season are still fresh. Also, the deer are a little more forgiving of the intrusion into their core areas. I mean they have already been shot at and harassed for the last three months; a few more weeks won’t hurt the cause too much. Caution is still required of course as you don’t want to go blazing a trail and push deer out of the woods. Winter is also a time to locate new hunting land; I’ll get into that in a bit.
As I mentioned earlier, now is the time to try to find the next hotspot. Glassing from the road is much easier because of no leaves and snow and it is also the only time of year besides the late summer when you can regularly see large groups of deer out in the fields. Once an area is located I feel it is also the best time to approach farmers and land owners. I never liked bothering farmers during the summer months. It is their busy season and for a lot of them deer hunting is the last thing on their mind. During the winter, time to chat is in abundance. A good way to get a foot in the door is inquire about coyote hunting. Most times it is much easier to gain access and it is a good way to show the owner what kind of person and hunter you are. Plus, you’re having fun and doing them a favor by getting rid of some pests.
At the end of the day all of this is just one more excuse to get in the woods one more time. The more information you can gather throughout the course of the year can only help you get on bigger bucks. Don’t wait until a few weeks until the season starts to begin your search for your next trophy. Get out there and put the work in, I promise it will pay off!