Late-season deer hunting isn’t easy anywhere, no matter where it’s done or how good the hunting property is, says Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland, a member of the widely-viewed Mossy Oak “Hunting The Country” television show team.
“Bucks and mature does that have been hunted through gun season are plenty smart,” contends Strickland, who has vast experience chasing whitetails nationwide. “They’re survivors, deer that have lived through a holy hunting war, and we’re usually trying to take them long after the rutting urge has passed. The slightest hunting mistake in late season and you’re history, particularly for older bucks that know the ways of hunters.”
There’s no question that odds for post-rut deer hunting success are reduced late in the year, says Strickland. So hunters have got to climb extra high in tree stands. They’ve got to be extra careful about moving around on stand, because there isn’t much ground cover or leaves for camouflage. Being quiet afield is essential. And you better not let deer smell you.
Strickland says total camouflage is the best friend of a late-season deer hunter. Leafy green camo that may look great in an October bow-season stand, is as out of place in winter woods as a polar bear in a coal bin.
Strickland uses Mossy Oak’s new “Break-Up” camo because it’s designed for use in areas with little or no background cover, like treetops without leaves in December and January. With the intelligent quotient of late season whitetails high, it’s no time for hunters to be lazy about complete camo.
Strickland is an advocate of “higher-than-high” tree stands, too. He hunts many hardwoods areas with open under-story, places where a sharp-eyed, hunter-wise whitetail can “pick off” a tree stand hunter at heights that may dupe less smart animals in thicker under-story terrain. For this reason, most late-season stands for Strickland are set in trees 25 to 30 feet off the ground, sometimes higher, depending on terrain and IQ of area bucks.