As December turns to January, deer behavior becomes more predictable.  Cold, windy weather will force deer into pockets of cover where they may stick out a storm until they can return to feeding without expending large amounts of energy.  Maryland offered it’s January late rifle season this past weekend and three members of one family took five deer, four does and a trophy 6-point buck with a rack that measured 23 inches wide.  “The rack was so wide i could sit inside of it,” said happy hunter Greg Wilson.

Small Discrete Areas

Greg Wilson took this huge 6-point on a late season deer drive in Maryland.

Although Maryland has remote Western mountains, like many Eastern states, Greg and his family hunted in suburban Maryland on a small tract of land that is surrounded by housing developments.  A steep ravine provides greenbriers for food and protection from the wind.  Instead of sitting stands, they put on small drives during mid day and each driver saw about 50 deer.  “Seeing,” doesn’t mean shooting and does and bucks consistently tried to break back through the drive.

Late Breeding

Wherever you find healthy deer, you will find fawns that breed in their first year.  If a female gets enough nourishing food in its initial year, it begins the breeding cycle and left-over bucks are ready to let nature take its course.  Don’t be surprised if you find fresh rubs and scrapes in January as a result of this late estrous cycle.  This post from the Realtree website give you savvy suggestions for finding late-season bucks:

It’s the late season. It’s cold. Friggin’ cold. But you’ve still got a tag in your pocket. And I do, too.

I’ve had a pretty darn good season. I killed a very nice Kentucky droptine buck early on during archery season. Since then, I’ve been a part of some great hunts and watched several other people take deer, too. But I still have an Ohio buck tag in my pocket.

If you still have an un-punched tag as well, look for big deer in these five places.

1. Small, Unpressured Pockets of Security Cover