Unfortunately, sometimes it is better to be lucky than good.
So, it's getting late in the season and you are looking at recipes for tag soup. Well, when I find myself in a bind like this, I try to panic and just hunt harder. Some of you will not agree with this tactic... so, a little evidence that it works:
That's my ugly mug with that deer. I was fortunate to take him after only catching a few trail camera photos of him. I didn't catch sight of him or much of any deer this bow season for that matter but I wasn't worried. If you are experiencing a similar problem this year hopefully you can use these ideas to help you.
Hunt all day, every day
Or at least as much as you can. It's make or break time. If you have sign around your tree stand but just have capitalized on it yet. Sit all day. Dress warm and get some complex carbs in your system to keep you in the woods all day. The weather this year seems to have pushed rut activity back (at least in my area of Michigan). That means there is a second rut coming and deer will be on their feet all day. You just have to be there and ready when one happens to trot in close to your stand.
Go for broke
So, you don't have sign by you. There are two ways to work this.
The first is the easiest: get down and put boots on the ground. Either look for a new spot or try to kick a deer from it's bed. Look for sign, track a buck and hope you get a shot or find where the deer are traveling. Then, see my first note. If you kick a deer and it is safe to do so, run forty yards downwind. I mean it. RUN (safely) and repeat until you get a shot.
The second is to make sign. What's the worst that's going to happen? Not seeing anything? Make a mock scrap 30 yards away. Then, to cap it off, throw some estrus into the mix. If you have the time, use a scent dripper to condition the deer to check it during shooting hours. This works if you have done your scouting homework and know deer are in the area you just haven't gotten a shot.