Here are some winter whitetail deer hunting tactics that hunters can use to be more successful when the cold weather arrives. While hunting in cold weather on snow covered ground can be a lot of fun the hunting tactics need to change as the deer will move and react differently in the cold weather. Here are some of the things that hunters should key on when hunting whitetail deer in winter.
Follow the Sun
When the weather is cold, hunters should look for deer to be located on hillsides and other locations that are receiving direct sunlight. The sun provides needed warmth and the deer will likely spend their day trying to catch as much sun as possible. Look for open areas such as right of ways, well sites, and other areas where the sunlight is not blocked from getting to the ground.
Look For Wind Breaks
While deer are looking for sun, they are also likely to stay out of the wind. If a hunter can find an area that both blocks the wind and is receiving sunlight, they most likely have located a productive area for hunting. A topographical map can help hunters to locate these areas.
Deer are likely to bed at night in areas with thick cover that can provide protection from the elements. Likely areas include stands of pines with low hanging limbs, areas with thick ground vegetation, creek beds and other areas with steep banks that block the wind. Hunters should set up on these areas at first light and evening to ambush deer coming or going from these bedding areas.
When snow is on the ground finding deer will have trouble finding food to eat. Available food sources will vary depending on region, but hunters can observe deer and tracks to identify what deer are feeding on in their hunting area.
Take Advantage of Warm Weather
When the cold weather breaks, deer are likely to become more active and return to more normal patterns. Hunters should be in the woods on winter days that are warmer than normal.
Hunting in cold weather will often mean stalking deer that are bedded or browsing in cover. Hunters will need to be dressed comfortably enough to allow them to stalk hunt the deer but warmly enough to keep from shivering when observing deer waiting for a buck or for a shot to present itself.