One of my favorite things about bow hunting is that my deer season lasts longer. Our rifle season only lasts about 10 days here in Missouri, but bow season is from mid September to January. The deer activity and patterns change from early fall to late season and knowing what their main objectives are throughout the season is key to harvesting an animal.
During summer and early fall the bucks are in their bachelor groups and their main interest is food. Having food plots with clover, alfalfa, chicory, or wheat are all good choices for the deer from spring to late fall. We prefer wheat and clover in our plots for this time of year and have found they grow the best in our area. I use the ProVide Clover with Chicory from Evolved (http://www.evolved.com/products/provide-clover-2lbs.html). I set up trail cams in the summer so I can pattern the deer and see when and where they are coming into the plots.
Mid season usually means the rut, and we all know what’s on a deer’s brain at this time! The bucks are not on their normal patterns, as they are out searching for does. My plan during this time of year is to still hunt the food sources, where the does usually remain. If you can find the does, you will have a better chance at getting a buck as he’s out cruising!
During December to early January survival is a deer’s main objective. They seek food and cover. I read in Deer and Deer Hunting magazine that a whitetail needs about 7 pounds of food per day to survive the winter! Some great high-energy forages for winter are brassica, turnips, corn and grains. We always plant a winter plot using the ShotPlot Forage Rape andBrassica from Evolved and it was the hot spot on our hunting land this winter! The best way to increase your odds of shooting a deer in late season is to hunt these food sources and it paid off for me this year!
By being a bow hunter I have learned so much more about whitetail, their activity, and their nutritional needs as the seasons change. I am able to observe the deer and their patterns for months at a time, instead of just one week out of the year.