By this time in the deer season, many of us need a fresh outlook and a boost in confidence. So it’s a happy coincidence that the first snows often fall in November. A little snow can make a beaten hunter feel brand new. Here are five reasons why hunters should welcome the white stuff:
1. Sick of sitting in that stand? Fresh snow brings a perfect opportunity to get out of the tree and track a buck. A light blanket of snow (less than 6 inches) reveals one of the most reliable indications of a buck track: drag marks. Find big tracks with drag marks between them, then find out what’s on the far end of them.
2. Fresh snow usually brings excellent still-hunting conditions. After a light snow, still-hunt your usual hotspots. During or just after a heavier snow-especially if there’s a cold wind-concentrate on sheltered areas: gullies, hollows, protected hillsides, conifer stands, and thick cover.
3. Fresh snow brings a clean slate. If you have any doubts about the current patterns of the deer you’re hunting, now’s the time to get some hard information. Here, a light snow is ideal because it’s less apt to disrupt deer patterns (the way a heavy snowstorm typically does). Combine a still-hunt with some in-season scouting, and let fresh tracks tell you exactly what the deer are up to. If you’re careful, you can even confirm precise bedding areas without spooking deer.
**4. Heavy snowstorms mean heavy feeding. **Deer know when a storm is coming, and they feed heavily before it hits. Keep track of the weather, get out ahead of the storm, and hunt a prime feeding area. Once nasty weather comes, deer may hole up for a day or more, and in the meantime, they get hungry. So head back to the feeding area after the storm-but not until after both the snow and the wind stop.
5. A cold front that brings a thin blanket of snow and breaks up a stretch of unseasonably warm weather can trigger a flurry of daylight buck activity-especially during the rut. This is one of the best times to be in the woods. Deer that were once sulking during the day are now on the move, and hunting conditions are good for stand hunting, still-hunting, and tracking.