Whitetail Hunters: Is There an Offseason?

Just because whitetail season has come to close doesn’t mean you have to stop thinking about — and prepping for — this upcoming fall deer hunt.

Whitetail Hunters: Is There an Offseason?

Photo by The Hunting Public

If you’re anything like me, whitetail — or other game — hunting is always on your mind. It doesn’t matter if it’s the heart of the rut, dead of winter, green of spring or summer vacation, my gears are always turning, hunting mode engaged.

I understand most of you are likely outside of the hunting season at this time, but that doesn’t have to mean it’s the offseason. Regardless of where you call home, now is more than likely a great time to scout, either with a few mouse movements and keystrokes, or with boots on the ground. Don’t fret as we open a new calendar; there are plenty of hunting chores to do and spring hunting season is not that far off.   

Map App

There are several great mapping apps to take advantage of during these downtimes when you can’t be on stand. Soon, I will be logged on to onX Hunt, searching for that new killer spot to ambush my next buck. To do so, I prefer to use my desktop computer to do what I call e-scouting, simply because I can see more map and overlay data on my big monitor than on my phone. The onX Hunt phone app comes in handy later, however.

It doesn’t matter if you live in the West and hunt public land, reside in the Midwest and own property, or reside in the South and lease hunting ground, a mapping app opens the door to better understand the lay of the land you hunt prior to scouting firsthand. There is always a new location for a trail camera to be placed, a food plot to be planted, or a stand to hang in the perfect tree. Identify a few new spots and then make a plan to investigate the spots in person.

Take a Hike

In my mind, the best time to scout for Coues whitetail here in my home state of Arizona is February through April. There isn’t much hunting going on, the bucks are still carrying their antlers, and most are back on a “patternable” routine, making it the perfect time to sit back and monitor deer movement. There are other ways to scout, though. During this time, I will be investigating several waypoints to find ambush locations or to hang a few trail cameras to scout on my behalf for the remainder of the year.

If you need a little more motivation, late winter and early spring are a great time to search for shed antlers with the goal of finding a hit-list buck or a few on your hunting spread. Other than a personal observation, there isn’t a much better buck identifier than picking up a big buck’s cast antler.

Winter in Coues country probably looks a bit different than your whitetail woods. Whatever the case, now is the time to wear out some boot leather to learn more about your local deer herd.
Winter in Coues country probably looks a bit different than your whitetail woods. Whatever the case, now is the time to wear out some boot leather to learn more about your local deer herd.

To the Point

Back to my original point: Although the majority of us are not in the field in search of a monster buck right now or will be anytime in the near future, there are plenty of activities to take on to keep whitetail hunting at the forefront of your brain. Please don’t take that to mean I think you should overlook important elements of your life. Rather, just think of these next few months as a chance to make your 2020 whitetail season as successful as possible, instead of as the offseason.

Do you think there is or should be a true offseason? I would love to hear from you regarding your thoughts on how you keep whitetail hunting on the forefront of your mind, or how you choose to tune it out for a spell. Please drop me a note with your thoughts. If you have a story or photo to share, send that along as well.

As always, if there is a topic you would like to see highlighted or expanded upon in the pages of Whitetail Journal, please do not hesitate to send me an email with your thoughts (darren.choate@grandviewoutdoors.com). Best to you.

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