Late Season in Hill Country - How to...

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johndeere506
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Late Season in Hill Country - How to...

Unread postby johndeere506 » Wed Aug 05, 2015 6:55 am

Ive been doing lots of out of state scouting and most places are hill country. I always hear people suggesting hill country for rut time frame, but never during late season. Do the bucks leave the hills during late season or are the hills just too difficult to hunt late in the year? Should I keep looking for tips and learning how to hunt rough country for late season, or give it up and go find some farm areas and brushy swamplands? Any suggestions? Im mostly looking in Ohio, about Dec 20th and later for the most part.


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Re: Late Season in Hill Country - How to...

Unread postby Bucky » Wed Aug 05, 2015 7:13 am

johndeere506 wrote:Ive been doing lots of out of state scouting and most places are hill country. I always hear people suggesting hill country for rut time frame, but never during late season. Do the bucks leave the hills during late season or are the hills just too difficult to hunt late in the year? Should I keep looking for tips and learning how to hunt rough country for late season, or give it up and go find some farm areas and brushy swamplands? Any suggestions? Im mostly looking in Ohio, about Dec 20th and later for the most part.


Gotta have food sources... in WI the deer tend to get blown off the hills with the intense rifle season pressure

The later it gets the better the South facing slopes get... in fact, once the brutal cold hits, that seems like the only area I have ever run into late season action
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Re: Late Season in Hill Country - How to...

Unread postby JoeRE » Wed Aug 05, 2015 8:27 am

It sounds like you are hunting hills without ag fields. My suggestion besides the obvious of find the late season food sources is get ready to cover a lot of ground looking for those isolated areas big bucks have retreated to after months of hunting pressure. In cold weather bucks will seek out the best combination of security cover and thermal exposure - and relatively close to food but in pressured areas that might be half a mile away. The balance for that is different in every situation. Do a ton of scouting, in snow sign is easy to see but when there is no snow late season that makes for a lot harder hunting with deer more dispersed. The colder and nastier the weather the better the late season hunting particularly in hills because it concentrates deer in protected areas. I put in a ton of miles late season hunting. I would estimate I walk 5 miles for every area I find fresh big buck sign here in Iowa hunting public and pressured private....and in other parts of the country a guy probably has to cover more than that, I know I have it pretty good. When you find a big buck then its just a bed to feed setup.

The deer don't disappear, they are out there, but you have to put in the miles to find them. It gets a lot harder when you have guys putting up late season food plots on exclusive access properties in the greater area you are hunting, then they might have the deer and you don't. On the other hand I have a couple perennial late season hot spots where bucks bed on land I can hunt and feed in food plots where I can't...advantage me.

Or you can just plant a few acres of turnips or beans on some exclusive access property and whack one out of your heated enclosed blind but where's the fun in that. :lol:
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Re: Late Season in Hill Country - How to...

Unread postby Bucky » Wed Aug 05, 2015 9:11 am

JoeRE wrote:Or you can just plant a few acres of turnips or beans on some exclusive access property and whack one out of your heated enclosed blind but where's the fun in that. :lol:



This may work in Iowa where you can gun hunt them in Jan with inline muzzleloaders that are accurate to 200 yards. IMO that is the easiet way to kill a mature buck... late, cold, snow, and with a long range weapon in Jan

But in WI, the muzzleloader season falls right after our 10 day full out 600K orange army invasion in early Dec. Shooting a monster off food in WI can happen on BIG, low pressure properties but definetly is not the norm like it can be in Iowa :lol:
"When a hunter is in a tree stand with high moral values, with the proper hunting ethics and richer for the experience, that hunter is 20 feet closer to God." Fred Bear
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Re: Late Season in Hill Country - How to...

Unread postby JoeRE » Wed Aug 05, 2015 11:54 pm

Bucky wrote:
JoeRE wrote:Or you can just plant a few acres of turnips or beans on some exclusive access property and whack one out of your heated enclosed blind but where's the fun in that. :lol:



This may work in Iowa where you can gun hunt them in Jan with inline muzzleloaders that are accurate to 200 yards. IMO that is the easiet way to kill a mature buck... late, cold, snow, and with a long range weapon in Jan

But in WI, the muzzleloader season falls right after our 10 day full out 600K orange army invasion in early Dec. Shooting a monster off food in WI can happen on BIG, low pressure properties but definetly is not the norm like it can be in Iowa :lol:



Yea even in Iowa my favorite part of the late season is the very end, Jan 1-10. I see more daytime activity, no matter what the weather, than in December. I have shot probably 3/4 of my late season bucks in January. The only problem is bucks are sometimes dropping antlers by then.
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Re: Late Season in Hill Country - How to...

Unread postby johndeere506 » Thu Aug 06, 2015 1:01 am

Thanks for the info guys. I love the cold fronts here in December, or even November like last year. Lots of bucks here dropping antlers by January too. If you had your pick late season, where would you go (public land)? Ill be surprised if anyone picks rugged hill country, but that was my plan unless to much snow. I may be better off in an area with a more concentrated food source, and leave the hills for November. I think Im just excited to hunt the hills, but all that work at the wrong time would not be very rewarding.
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Re: Late Season in Hill Country - How to...

Unread postby JoeRE » Thu Aug 06, 2015 3:00 am

johndeere506 wrote:Thanks for the info guys. I love the cold fronts here in December, or even November like last year. Lots of bucks here dropping antlers by January too. If you had your pick late season, where would you go (public land)? Ill be surprised if anyone picks rugged hill country, but that was my plan unless to much snow. I may be better off in an area with a more concentrated food source, and leave the hills for November. I think Im just excited to hunt the hills, but all that work at the wrong time would not be very rewarding.


I just like hills, its easier to figure out how deer move across them than many other terrains. Being in Iowa I can't get more than half a mile from a crop field if I wanted to, same goes for a lot of the midwest, but even in late season I am often pretty deep in the timber. Big bucks won't show themselves out in the open unless you have a big chunk of exclusive access land to keep the pressure off. Come to think of it I have not shot one single buck out in a crop field late season, other than the one I shot last year with my muzzle loader in a CRP field which is a little different. I would give it a try if I were you, never hurts to try something new it will make you a better hunter. Late season hunting is tough all over I don't think its tougher in the hills than anywhere else, probably easier in the way the deer move and ease of access using the terrain for your advantage.

I haven't done it yet, but I intend to start hunting northern WI late season sometime in the next few years. That's big woods not hills and I think has the potential for some great hunting after the orange army leaves. I am getting tired of going up there for the regular gun season.


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