Are you still looking to fill your tag for this year? Don’t count out the late archery season, as it continues to offer the opportunity to fulfill your harvest goals, especially if you are crossbow hunting. Bucks and does are now more concerned with finding food sources and surviving the winter than with breeding. The weather and amount of cover in the woods has changed substantially since the beginning of the season. Taking these changes into consideration will help you formulate an effective strategy for crossbow hunting success during the last days of the season.
By late archery season, rut has ended in most locations and bucks are exhausted from chasing does and breeding. Does are exhausted from being chased. Locating food sources now becomes the central priority for bucks; they must find reliable sources to regain the weight lost during the rut and prepare for the long winter ahead. Many plentiful food sources that existed prior to the onset of cold temperatures are no longer available. If it is legal for you to hunt over bait in your state, this is the time to have plenty of fresh food at your feeder spots. If you planted late-season food plots, you should focus on these areas for feeding activity, especially in the early morning and late evening. Thankfully, bucks now return to a regular movement and feeding schedule like the daytime patterns they exhibited during the first few weeks of the season.
The onset of colder temperatures and loss of cover are significant factors when considering how to hunt this time of year. It is extremely important to dress in layers, and make certain that you wear clothes that allow for unhindered movement of your body and hands. A crossbow is the perfect archery equipment when hunting in these conditions, because it can be difficult to shoot a recurve or compound bow while wearing heavy gloves and layers of clothing.
If you are hunting from a treestand, you may want to change the camouflage pattern that you wear to more effectively blend in to the landscape, now that the foliage that was present earlier in the season is gone. If you hunt in a place where there is likely to be snow this time of year, switch to a winter camo pattern. If you are hunting from the ground, consider using a blind, since it can provide protection from the cold, wind, and precipitation, and provides a greater amount of camouflage. Last, but not least, be sure to follow your crossbow manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations to make sure that your hunting crossbow is in top shape and will perform well in the extreme temperatures.
Hunting the late archery season with your crossbow can yield big results if you are willing to brave the elements. Good luck to all of those still left in the hunt! Shoot straight and be safe!