If you have an unfilled tag as the season winds down, you’re going to have to hunt harder and smarter to find a trophy buck. The food and doe concentrations of early autumn are gone; the rut is over; and the bucks are educated to the ways of men in orange. Where should you go and what should you do?
Think deeper and thicker.
The bucks will stick close to their core refuge areas as winter diminishes cover. Look for out-of-the-way nooks and crannies of heavy cover.
Also think about the late rut and how it might affect your deer. Some younger does come into estrus a month after the adult does. The action won’t be as fast and furious, but bucks will be on the lookout for these second-rut mating opportunities.
Also watch for developing winter food sources that could concentrate hungry deer. Winter cover crops are particularly good bets in northern states in the late season.