Just because it’s almost 2017 don’t give up on this hunting season just yet. While several seasons have closed there are many that are still open. Don’t just hibernate for the winter and wait for Spring turkey or bear season. Make the best of what you have now and keep that primal fire burning and fresh meat on the grill.
I know for a fact that here in Illinois with the recent bursts of cold weather the deer have herded up big time. If you know of a late season food plot or field that may have not been picked clean then you should get on it. Deer can be seen in abundant numbers in the afternoon/evenings so now might just be your chance. I have seen some of the biggest bucks of my life in late December/January while out hunting. I don’t know if its the cold weather causing them to move and feed more often or that all the gunshots have subsided and they feel it’s safe to show themselves again but I have seen some amazing deer this time of year. Don’t forget about some of the late antlerless seasons available either if you’re looking for a nice freezer filler.
Don’t write off The South either for some amazing hunting this time of year. The biggest buck I have ever killed came from Texas in February. Some of the other benefits of heading South are warmer temps and wild hogs. Sub-freezing or even sub-zero temps are not for the weak hearted but mild temps and abundant game are quite tempting. If you’ve never had wild hog you are missing out. It makes some of the greatest breakfast and Italian sausages I’ve ever had. The ribs, hams, and chops are pretty darn good too!
Something else I hadn’t considered was recently brought to my attention when inquiring to an individual whether he would be at the ATA show in January. He stated that he would not be in attendance because he would be hunting coues deer in Arizona. Apparently there are some great opportunities still to be had in The West this time of year.
Don’t write off small game either. I love hunting squirrels and now that there isn’t a leaf on the tree I might even be able to spot one. How about running some rabbits or coons with a good set of dogs? They love this type of weather and the important part is you’ll be outside getting some exercise and fresh air chasing them around. I actually have a pheasant hunt coming up in the next week or two that I received as an early Christmas present so there is an option too.
No need to lay around waiting for next year. Get out there and enjoy these wintertime opportunities that we have. If nothing else, you’ll be a better hunter next year for the additional practice you got in this year. Maybe you’ll even get something to throw into a nice stew on one of these cold winter days.