4 Tips For Late-Season Muzzleloader Hunting
Simply put, everyone wants to harvest a big buck. No matter what. Whether the rut has just began, or is completely over, we all want to harvest that big buck on our trail cam. However, hunting during the late-season is vastly different than both before and during the rut. Deer are very active during the rut, and many have not survived, making them much more cautious. Therefore, you must be even more strategic with your hunts.
As we have stated in previous articles, bucks lose about 20% of their body mass during the rut. With that said, they aren’t going to budge unless they absolutely have to travel because they are low on energy and very tense from all of the action. And that is why we have craft 4 Tips For Late-Season Muzzleloader Hunting in order to increase your odds of success.
Scouting Does Not End Even Though The Rut Is Over
Scouting during the late season is a strategy that is often overlooked, yet, still just as important. Many hunters consider the fact that they scouted all September, and do not feel the need to re-scout the land that they already know. Well, this can actually be very useful during muzzleloader season, especially but the rut is over. Therefore, before you decide to head out to your land for the weekend hunt, set aside some time to re-evaluate your land. Maybe there are areas that are vastly covered in snow, allowing for great coverage. There could be highly used travel lanes that are even more apparent this time or year, or maybe, there are even some new buck rubs in your area. Especially if you are hunting public land, you are going to want to take the time to scout and check up on your beloved bucks that made it through the rut.
As Always, Understand Your Scope
It may sound simple, but, it is always smart to verify and re-check your scope before enduring the late-season hunts. It is never safe to assume that your riflescope’s hashmarks are completely on. I mean afterall, many of us haven’t touched our muzzleloader's since the previous season. Therefore, re-evaluate, and practice before you head out for your muzzleloader hunt.
Make Sure Your Powder Stays Dry
Gunpowder can get wet a number of ways. Considering it is now the late season, most likely you could be enduring some type of harsh conditions, whether that be rain, snow, sleet, or hail. The possibilities are endless as to how it could get wet, so make sure, you pay attention to one underlying problem: condensation. Although it is not necessarily “unsafe” to have your charge in the barrel when you are not hunting, it is not ideal as you are “fogging” up the barrel. Either keep your muzzleloader in a spot that is the same temperature that you are going to hunt, or completely unload your rifle and start fresh the next morning.
Locate Your Food Sources And Sit All Day Long
We’ve said it before and we will say it again, locating food sources is one of the most crucial elements to locating the big boys. Therefore, it is very important that you hunt a high-energy food source, that is loaded with carbs such as corn, or soybeans. This can be very important to your late season success. However, as we stated in our Blizzard Bucks blog post, deer movement and activity is very minimal during these times. That is why you must force yourself to sit all day - I know that sounds crazy hard, right? But truly, to catch all of the action, try to sit from sun rise to day break if you have any ounce of buck fever.
All in all, it is important that you plan for your hunts. The more that you plan and evaluate your opportunities, the more success you are likely to have. Good luck out there hunters, and shoot straight!