Outdoors column: Late season bow hunting – the change

Now that the firearms season is well under way here in central Minnesota, we bow hunters are now facing the biggest change during the entire bow season…..the gun season. This radical change in the environment of the whitetail deer forces them to change their everyday lifestyle, adapt to different travel areas and re-arrange their feeding schedules.

All this change in the deer world severely affects the bow hunter as we also need to make the changes necessary. Here are some thoughts on the changes needed to continue to be successful through the remainder of the 2013 bow season.

Keep on the lookout for late season whitetail sign such as scrapes and rubs.
Keep on the lookout for late season whitetail sign such as scrapes and rubs.Submitted photo

Change stand locations

Yes, I know…changing stands in November is really a pain but very necessary if you want to continue your quest.

I spend a ton of time moving stands to new areas and making the change because number one the leaf situation has changed making your old stand areas void of cover plus deer have totally changed their routines so hanging stands in new areas always increases your odds.

Now with the bare trees and lack of foliage cover, you need to use some imagination in the hanging of your new November stands.

Ground blinds naluable

November is when the ground blind becomes a valuable ally in the bow hunts of both November and December. Nobody likes to climb into a high level tree stand on a cold morning but rather climbing into a ground level blind is much more inviting. I place a number of grounds blinds in my favorite areas and find the ease of entrance and the comfort allow me to stay in the field longer even on those single digit days. Make sure you put those ground blinds out as early as possible in November to get those deer used to seeing those in the field. It is very hard to just throw up a ground blind and expect to kill a deer the same day.

Evenings best versus mornings

Now that the deer have experienced the gun season they begin to make adjustments which most noticeably is becoming very nocturnal. The bulk of their time feeding now is between midnight and early morning. During November and December I stop early morning hunts and stick to evenings only.

At this time of the season, I end up busting out feeding deer in the dark, early morning hours and blow my whole game plan. Disturbing them during the pre-dawn hours isn’t a good move and they are already affected by the gun season making them totally on edge.

It’s better to leave them undisturbed in the mornings and try and get an advantage in the evening hours.

Deer sign

Keep on the lookout for whitetail sign such as scrapes and rubs. There is always a late season push during the rut and post rut  periods where good deer sign is still easily distinguishable. If you can, hunt near the sign no matter what the time of the year.

Steve Carney is a contributing writer to the Outdoors page.