At the end of the season, you might stow your bow and/or gun, but you should get ready for the most productive and important scouting of the year. Winter and early spring offer incredible insight into deer, particularly into buck habitat and behavior that will help you next season.
Go to your hunting area immediately after the season and locate the deer. This is the late-season place and pattern you were trying to puzzle out when the buzzer went off this past season. Now you’ll know what to do next year.
Thin winter cover also gives you the best view of the general deer habitat. Trails, rubs and old scrapes are easily found and noted. Even if a particular buck met a bullet, a good area won’t be vacant come next year. The real payoff in winter/early spring scouting comes when you find big shed antlers. That’s a buck that made it through the hunting season, and now you know where he goes when the pressure is on.