Ditto about the cold; it was cold as hell in mid-late November while I was there. Also, you'll be out there with the x-bow shooters this year; legal to use in bow season after both of the gun seasons are over.
I'll be back in Illinois on the 27th and will be there probably until Monday afternoon. I hunt there in mid November and during the late season when I can and based on my experience it can be equally as good. Frankly, I see more deer in the late season than I do during the rut, especially if I find the right food source.
As far as tips, food source is the key. If you find a hot one you'll see a lot of deer. Then it's all about waiting for a mature buck to hit it while there is still shooting light. Don't be afraid to be creative. My stands were too far away from where the deer were last winter so I made a ground blind. I passed on a 135" buck one evening that had no idea I was there. Saw several others. I would also focus mostly on evenings. While I saw a few deer in the mornings, they weren't nearly as productive. If it's bitter cold out I wouldn't worry about climbing down mid-morning, but I'd try to stick it out for the last three hours of the evening for sure.
My tip is to find another state to hunt next time. EHD, outfitters and over harvest of does has decimated what was once one of the best states to hunt. If you don't believe me just go to www.heartlandoutdoors.com and read some of the comments. I live in Fulton county and have personally found 20 dead deer (EHD) while harvesting crops. I used to be able to drive around in the evenings and see 40+ deer every night. Now you are lucky to see 10 and that is with cold weather herding them up. Sorry to rant, but this state just plain sucks anymore.
wish I knew what to tell you but still looking for my first deer harvest this year. I can tell you the deer I have seen when its cold (the last few weeks) have been early afternoon, mornings are poor haven't seen one in 8 morning sits. if you got any food source concentrate there like what others have said.
food...Ummm oh yeah food and then yes that is it food. hope for snow and cold when conditions are right it can be as good or better than the rut for killing mature bucks but the deer are on high alert and the cold makes every noise sound like the world is coming to an end. I do not hunt mornings much for bucks but if you can hunt a pinch between food and bed(south slopes) get there waaaay early!
First locate one of the ten deer left in the state and go after it hard.:wink: Looks like it will be pretty cold so food sources in the last hour every evening will be the best. Really hard to get close to the deer in the am. I would spend a couple days watching food sources and try to locate a deer to hunt and then make a move. Also don't be afraid to hunt late mornings when it is this cold. 4 degrees this morning here in central Illinois.
What part of the state? Public or private ground? Parts of the state got a bunch of rain last week, there is going to be a fair amount of flooding in some areas. High ground is going to be your friend.
Haven't hunted many mornings the last couple of weeks. Deer seem to be moving most from 2-4 in the afternoon.
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