How to Find and Tag Late Season Bucks

by Marty Prokop

It is late season, and all you are seeing are does.

Though a doe for the freezer would be nice, you are looking to tag a big buck.

What to do When You Aren’t Seeing Bucks

Take a look at where you are hunting. What is the terrain like? Are you hunting in semi-open woods? Is your stand currently set up in gentle terrain with rolling hills?

Semi-open woodlots and a gentle terrain are doe magnets. During the rut you would probably find bucks in these same areas. With the main rut over and the majority of the does bred, big bucks are tired and need to rest. They will seek out thick, dense cover.

It may be time to move your deer hunting location.

Where to Find Big Bucks

Look for big buck hideouts in remote, hard-to-get-into areas -- such as swamps with dry, high spots; brushy hollows overgrown with berry bushes or grapevines; large areas of blown down timber -- all make great places for tired bucks to crawl into and rest after the breeding season.

Thick tag alder swamps and clear cut areas filled with small tress and underbrush are also big buck hideouts.

A great way to find big bucks in these areas is to still hunt. Take a few steps at a time. Move slowly and quietly.

After each series of steps, stop and look in all directions. Scan the forest floor for large, gray masses resembling a deer’s body or the glint of an antler. Listen for the tell tale sound of a deer cracking a twig as it walks.

Wait five to ten minutes before moving ahead.

Secondary Rut

If your deer hunting area hosts an active secondary rut, you may want to stay in the area holding large numbers of does. Younger yearling does and, in some cases, doe fawns may go into estrous 28 to 30 days after the main rut activity ends. Typically, this takes place in mid-December in the North to January in the South.

Watch younger does and their behaviors. If they walk with their tails slightly crooked to one side or look uneasy and are glancing over their shoulders, they could be coming into cycle.

Big bucks will be in nearby thickets and heavy cover. Keep and eye on the does’ behavior, but pay close attention to the thick cover behind them. If does go into late season estrous, the big bucks will come out of hiding to breed.

Fill Your Buck Tag

Late season hunting can produce some real monster bucks. If you are seeing only does and want to put a buck on the wall, look at the area you are hunting. If the terrain is flat and gentle, start hunting the thickets and swamps where the big bucks go to hide.

Good Luck and Great Hunting.

Marty Prokop

About Marty Prokop

Deer hunting expert Marty Prokop reveals closely guarded deer hunting secrets on how to get deer every time. Get his Free Deer Hunting Tips Newsletter, free deer videos and free online deer hunting game at Free Deer Hunting

Marty Prokop has 24-years experience deer hunting, processing deer for deer hunters and venison sausage making .  Marty Prokop teaches deer hunting, hunter safety, deer processing and deer sausage making classes. Marty Prokop has processed 7,805 deer, field dressed 422 deer and made over 991,990 pounds of sausage, smoked meats and jerky. Marty Prokop worked with Minnesota DNR programs. His deer hunting videos are used in statewide advanced hunter education classes. Marty Prokop is a successful speaker, outdoor writer and published author.

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