Get yours before it’s too late.
Do you ever get that feeling that you are running out of time, or already have? Come November, that feeling really begins to set in with me. Hunting seasons have hit the halfway point or beyond, and I find myself making numerous trips to my freezers to see how the season’s inventory is stacking up. This year, I am admittedly running behind schedule and need to step up my game.
5 Tips for Filling Your Freezer:
1. Make the most of your time in the field.
If you only have a few days left to hunt, try to scout beforehand or gain as much information you can. Talk with other hunters, biologists and folks that have hunted the same area. If you go to the field prepared with options and backup plans, you will find more success. Don’t cut yourself short; spend every hour in the field you possibly can. This might mean packing a lunch, setting up a spike camp, or hiking a few extra miles in the dark.
2. It’s okay to lower your standards.
So, you told yourself that you wanted a mature buck or bull this year. Now’s the time to decide what’s more important: the antlers or the meat. I like to harvest mature animals. But to tell you the truth, about 60% of the time I end up bagging something younger. The meat is good, and that is my reason for hunting in the first place. So, there is absolutely no shame in filling your freezer with a 2- or 3-year-old animal.
3. Change it up.
Often, we ourselves get stuck in a major rut. But we need to learn to try different things, especially late in the game. If you like to hunt a specific location and usually find yourself hunting it the same way great. I’m sure you have had success doing so otherwise you wouldn’t still be coming back for more. However, remembering to try something new, using a new approach or moving just a mile or two over the next ridge could be the game changer. Keeping an open mind will lead to more late season success.
4. Know the animals.
Every year is different. The weather patterns change, along with the lunar cycles. These dramatically affect animals especially during the rut/post rut. Hormones in the animals change significantly between early November through December. This, of course, greatly affects their movements. Scouting and spending time in the field can tell hunters where and when their quarry is most likely to be moving. Routes between feeding and bedding locations are critical during this time of year. Don’t expect to come to an area and find success where you have before. Things chang; make sure to stay up on the changes.
5. Don’t panic.
Yes, unfortunately, nature’s grocery store is only open for a limited amount of time. This, however, doesn’t mean we have to be hasty when hunting. Patience is still a key ingredient to being a successful late season hunter. Animals will be on the move and this plays well into our hands. Still hunting is very productive from either a tree stand or ground blind. Make sure to have plenty of scent wafting through the air when still hunting. Sometimes, focusing on a place with high traffic and waiting is much more productive than hiking miles. No matter what, just make sure to enjoy your time and stay calm. I can almost guarantee you will find yourself harvesting more late-season venison.