after deer season

6 Things to Do After the Deer Season is Over

Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of what not to do once deer season is over: getting complacent, forgetting what got us here, and getting too high or too low. As exciting as the start of deer hunting season is, the end of the hunting season is equally a downer, but having a few things in mind to do once the season is through might not be great to look forward to, but it will keep your mind on hunting for at least a little while longer. As it's easy to get lazy once the season ends, there are important things that you can still do during the rest of the winter months that will go a long way towards making the following season much more successful and stress free. Taking the time for these procedures after the season has ended is the best way of ensuring that our hearts and minds stay focused, because the deer never take a day off.

Take care to not bump the deer around, but be prepared to see a lot of tails going in the opposite direction. Most likely they'll be back in due time, which is exactly why you hunt that area to begin with. And address the tasks that'll set up the next season's success. It's never a bad time to fine tune a few things.

Get On Top of Next Year's Season Dates

aging deer

There's no time like the present to find out when the next deer season opens. Don't stop by taking it all into to memory, but write it on your calendar, put it into your phone, and bookmark your state's wildlife agency webpage. Getting on top of these dates, and looking ahead to plan scouting and other pre-season work, ensures that you won't be heading out into the woods too soon or too late and get you a head start on the rest of the crowd. Another good reason to do this is that planning ahead helps to boost your level of productivity and the outcome of results.

Move Your Trail Cameras

A trail camera hangs on a tree in the woods


You're never going to know what is moving in the other areas of your hunting property until you begin to scout them, and your trail cam is the first line of defense. Sure, you put them where they are for a reason and got the results, but the time to try something new is now. Place them in areas where you might not even hunt to see what is moving through the area and when. Thickets that are too dense to set up in still have plenty of activity, and you may find deer that you didn't even know were there.

Build a Permanent Stand

how to find hunting land

This is something that I remember from my early days as a hunter, and it still has a place in my heart and mind. One great thing to do if you're not quite ready for this step is to begin to collect the parts that will make up the whole: scrap lumber (or better yet composite decking), nuts and bolts, exterior deck screws, joist hangers, and rafter ties all can be used to put a fine permanent stand together.

Talk to the Neighbors

hunting without camo

You may do some texting during the season or just share a few pictures, but take the time to have a sit down with the folks that are hunting right next door to you. If you're like me, you are surrounded on more than one side with some great folks that care about deer hunting as much as we do. We share the trail camera pictures and video along with recent sightings from our respective treestands, but we always take the time to crack a cold one and chew the fat about the woods we share once the season is over. Because of this there is never any issues with my neighbors, and it's a great way to keep the relationship positive.

Shed Hunt

A shed antler laying in the woods.

Travis Smola

This certainly goes without saying, since shed season is one our favorite times of the year. This is a great opportunity to share the fun with a kid, your family dog, or any of your friends that haven't tried it. The best part is that you can do it over and over again, not have any luck, and all without a care in the world. Shed hunting is a great way to discover your deer hunting area all over again, but it is also good practice for continuing the stealthy and quiet woods walking methods we all desire.

Look for Deals On New Gear

If there's anything we like as much as deer hunting, it's looking for new deer hunting gear. While there is always that new item that shows itself just before the new season begins, restocking on scent removal products, feed, and treestand accessories just touches the tip iceberg and whets our appetite for more.

If there is one thing that we can all agree on, it's that when the deer season is over, the countdown to the next one begins.

Please check out my book "The Hunter's Way" from HarperCollins. Be sure to follow my webpage, or on Facebook and YouTube.