Learning how to hunt in fresh snow takes some extra tactics, but will pay off in the long run.
A half-foot of fresh powder can be enough to shut down schools and bring your town grinding to a standstill, but one thing that it absolutely should not stop or delay is your hunting.
In fact, a fresh blanket of snow – as long as it isn’t an absolute blizzard and as long as the wind patterns aren’t too strong – can be one of the most generous gifts that Mother Nature can give to you as a deer hunter.
So if you wake up one late fall or early winter morning to find that the night has brought a hefty blanket of new snow, get your gear on, bundle up, and get out there.
It’s going to be a cold hunt, but the snow may just give you the leg up you need to land one last major kill for the season. Fresh snow is good for your deer hunting chances for a number of reasons.
First of all, fresh powder and cold weather – again, unless it’s windy – will get the whitetails on your property moving in a way they haven’t since the rut.
Once the rut ends, most deer behaviors shift. Not only are the bucks not moving as much, they are also coming out earlier in the morning to feed.
In turn, this means that the deer you are after are making it back to their bedding areas earlier than they were in previous parts of the season, rendering morning hunts less effective.
However, colder weather and fresh snow can inspire whitetails to get moving, group up, and feed for hours at a time. These long feeding periods can leave deer out in the open later into the morning, which you as the hunter can then parlay into a killing shot if you play the scene correctly.
Another more obvious benefit of hunting in fresh snow is that in makes deer incredibly easy to track. Deer trails in the snow tell the full story of how the animals are behaving, where they are going, and where you might find them next.
Even if you know next to nothing about tracking an animal, you can find deer tracks and follow them to locate feeding spots, judge traffic pathways, and assess how long ago the deer might have been moving.
Of course, not all tracks are created equal. You are going to need to be able to judge the tracks by how fresh they look, or else you could end up chasing down a deer trail that was made five or six hours ago.
In other words, deer trails in the snow can be a godsend, but they can also be a house of mirrors. Be able to tell the difference.
If you do manage to score a hit on a deer, however, the blood trail in the snow won’t lie to you. Blood trails are as plain as day in the snow, and can help you track down your prey and finish the job before another animal beats you to it.
The quiet of a snowy morning, the cold air wake up call, and the fact that you have distinct advantages might be enough to convince you that snowy hunts are the way to go.