late season deer tactic
Frosted Glass: Montana's Josh Coder watches a likely feeding field.. Dusan Smetana

Normally, Keith Chaffin watches just one feeding area during an afternoon hunt. But when the season is winding down, the Texas A&M professor and whitetail fanatic often checks several in a matter of hours. This aggressive approach has produced some big bucks for Chaffin, including a 228-inch nontypical giant.

“The key is to have two or three choice evening feed sites located fairly close together,” he says. Comparatively unpressured fields of wheat, oat, or rye, recently harvested cornfields, and food plots are your best bets. And don’t forget oak flats, areas with late-bearing fruit trees, and recently logged sites where treetops provide browse, provided they are open enough to glass from a distance.

Look, too, for adjoining ditches, hedgerows, or brushy fencelines that allow you to sneak toward one feeding area unseen, slip away, and ease up to the next. Approach from downwind or with a crosswind, staying low and moving just close enough to glass the whole area thoroughly. “If all you see are does, move to the next spot. If there’s a decent buck or two, however, stay longer to see if a bigger one will come out.” Once you spot a shooter, glass the topography to find the best stalking route, using gullies, streams, hills, and brush to hide your approach.

Chaffin has checked up to half a dozen sites in a single afternoon. After a long season of sitting in one spot, he says, it’s a great way to have a more active hunt and up your odds of getting within range of a late-season bruiser.