Winter Deer Hunting Tips

Looking for a Few Winter Deer Hunting Tips? Here You Go!

I think it’s safe to say that deer hunting late winter is a different animal than hunting in early archery. Not only are the bucks’ behavior different this time of year but us hunters also behave slightly different as well. I’ll give you a few winter deer hunting tips that I use while hitting that late season hunt.


10 Quick Tips

  1. Find the food. In some states baiting is legal while in most it is not. If the latter of the two, post up on that natural food source. Once the snow hits deer will be reverting back to those acorn bunks or hemlocks that they may have left earlier in the year. Take note of these spots early in the year so you can return in winter if need be.Winter Deer Hunting Tips
  2. Bundle up. But do so with clothing that is breathable or can easily be unzipped (my next tip will explain why). The longer you can stay warm the further you increase your exposure to being in the woods and possibly seeing that nice buck.
    • Now there are two versions of this tip and it varies depending on if you plan to sit in the stand or still hunt. It’s important to determine what type of hunting you plan on doing before entering the woods so you can dress accordingly.
      • If sitting in a stand here’s the winter pants, jacket, and footwear setup I used the past two years. Worked great over my HECS.
      • If I am planning to walk I use a lighter mid-weight jacket so I don’t overheat.
  3. Don’t sweat! I’m sure you are already covered in warm gear to retain your body heat throughout the sit but this gear can also work against you while on the move if you don’t pace yourself. Wear something that can easily be unzipped or has airflow pockets. Sweat, once turned cold, acts the same as if you were to dump a bottle of cold water on you. Not good.
  4. Hunt the snow storms. If you’re tracking a buck or know where a common bedding ground is use the heavy snow fall to sneak up on them. It’ll mask your motion, scent, and sound. Most deer will hunker down during the storm so use it to your advantage to get in close.
  5. Move slow, stop, and scan often. It is extremely important that you do not rush through the woods even if you’re trying to get to that food bunk you flagged. You’ll not only overheat but you’ll more than likely jump the deer bedding down to stay warm.
  6. Rest up next to a tree. If you’re still hunting make sure when you stop to scan your surroundings your are next to a tree or brush. The white snow causes your outline to stick out more so try to mesh against something already in the woods to be more concealed.
  7. Watch your step. Once the leaves have fallen off the trees the rustling sound they made prior to falling won’t be there to cover your noise. Snapping a branch under your foot is a lot more noticeable in the winter than in the fall due to the cold causing the snap to be more violent. If you happen to step on a branch that lets out a pop hold tight for a minute or two to let whatever was alerted think it was a natural sound in the woods.Deer Game Trail
  8. Look for two-way game trails. Meaning as you see tracks in the snow you want to keep an eye out for trails with tracks heading in both directions. This means that most likely if you missed them one way they’ll be coming back the same way later in the day so sit on it. Don’t get side tracked with following one-off single track trails as you don’t know how long they could go and if they may even lead back up with a major game trail.
  9. Hydrate and fuel up with food. Don’t rely on eating snow to hydrate since this can actually bring down your core body temperature and you exert energy to melt the snow. You burn more calories moving through thick snow than you do on bare ground so pack a lunch to stay energized.
  10. Take note of where the sun falls on the terrain. In the winter deer will prefer to sit on a ridgeline where there is heavy sunshine to stay warm. If you know where a good sun exposed place is, it may be good to check it out for activity.

As I said, deer hunting in the snow can be a whole different experience than in the fall so change your tactics accordingly and you’ll increase your chances of scoring a trophy. I hope these winter deer hunting tips help!


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