Iowa's muzzleloader season closes this week, and I'm deep in corn country trying to put one more TV episode together before having to wait until of the fall of 2012 to pursue whitetails again. The weather forecast has not been good, unless you enjoy snowless winters. Warm temperatures tend to put mature whitetails into a nocturnal mode, because they don't need to feed during the day to survive subzero temperatures. Faced with balmy conditions and post-rut bucks, I'll need a miracle to get a buck down, but I'll also have the help of Tails of the Hunt Outfitters' staff to put me in the right location.
Here are three super-late-season whitetail hunting strategies I use to help fill my tags:
1. Observe from a distance. If I find a buck that shows himself in daylight, I intend to watch it for a day or more before moving in and setting up an ambush. I may only get once chance, so everything has to be perfect.
2. Scout for high-energy foods. Corn is everywhere in Iowa, but not all cornfields are created equal. Farming practices and shoddy machinery often leave more corn spilt in a field, and those are the fields whitetails head to for a meal.
3. Be flexible. If a stand isn't working or a buck appears elsewhere, I'm ready to move at a moment's notice. If it takes jumping from a stand to intercept a buck moving wide, I'm game.
Late-season bucks—especially mature ones—are as savvy as any seasoned enemy, and moving under the radar to avoid detection. Time, patience and flexibility are my only hope. I'm hoping for the best.