The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

January 26, 2014

Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: Wanted: Waterfowl hunters’ feedback

(Continued)

Final countdown

This is it, folks, the last hoorah. Only seven days left of the 2013-14 deer hunting season. But ya know what? Late-season hunting can provide some of the most productive time spent in the woods. I know you’ve only got a few days left but you may be able to enjoy some success by locating the remaining food sources and keeping a close tab on the weather.

Feeding patterns

By now, nearly all of the crops are out and the acorns have been devoured. The rut is over and right now a bucks main objective has moved from reproduction to bulking back.

He needs to regain the weight he’s lost from the rigors of the rut in preparation for the winter that’s gripping us now as well as what’s to come. Thus, they will begin to venture back to their predictable late summer feeding patterns.

Food sources

I know time is short, but by spending just a few evenings in the woods, you can quickly learn where the deer are spending the majority of their time, at food sources. The bucks have spent several weeks in November as well as December on their feet looking for hot does.

During this time, they lose a large percentage of their body weight. They need to put that weight back on in order to survive the harsh Ohio winter. When you locate these food sources, afternoon setups usually tend to be the best.

S/U on the edge

Often times, the deer will bed near the food source so setting up can be a challenge. You might want to find a tree on an edge that provides you with some cover (which is hard to find in the bare winter woods in the middle of winter) and allows you to shoot into the field.

If a tree with cover is hard to find, try setting your stand facing away from the field and utilize the tree for cover. It can be a pain having to constantly look behind you, but once it gets prime time, I like to stand and turn around anyway.

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