It’s harvest time for deer hunters

As November arrives, deer hunters across the Carolinas are hammering the daylight trying to get as much time in the stand as possible to get a hit-list buck on the dirt. No doubt, this month is one of the best periods of the deer season to be in a stand for an encounter. And every hunter that wants a chance at a good deer should be in the woods as much as possible. But increased hunting pressure across the board can be detrimental to hunting efforts if concentrated in the same places.

Bucks are on the move trying to pass on their genetic packages to every available and willing mate left over in the herd. At the same time, Old Man Winter is creeping in and food resources are drying up everywhere.

Deer activity will definitely peak this month in the day and throughout the nighttime hours. Bucks will be wandering all over the place looking for the ladies and just about any stand on the farm can produce an opportunity and encounter with a buck. But anywhere the does will be congregating will generally produce the best opportunities to encounter their male counterparts.

Acorn-filled oak ridges and fields in the agriculture belt will have high concentrations of deer. And deer will be scavenging in relic corn fields, soybean fields and peanut fields. Also, the farmer’s newly planted fields of winter wheat, oats, and triticale will have full usage by the deer herd. And for the prepared hunter and land manager, the well-established food plots filled with wheat, oats, and clover are going to be tough to beat this time of year.

Food sources

Bottomline, food sources will be the prime places to hunt from now until the end of hunting season. And hunting food sources can be more than just hunting over a green food plot or relic soybean field. Trails leading to and from these plots that connect to major bedding zones can be excellent places to set up and wait on that dream buck.

While food sources are essentially the best places to spend the hunting hours for a good deer, these food sources can’t be pressured too much or the deer will shift to a nightly feeding schedule. And that is especially true for the mature bucks on the land. A smart buck will sniff out the pressure and learn to avoid these places during the daylight.

The best advice, for hunting active food plots, agriculture fields, and other highly used food sources, is to hunt these sources when conditions are favorable with respect to wind and weather conditions. Secondly, hunters should select a handful of good feeding routes and food sources to hunt during November and hunt these areas on rotation, without putting too much pressure on these feeding areas.

Boost your plots

Mature bucks don’t respond well to hunting pressure even if the groceries are good. Bucks that grow to 3- to 5-years-old don’t survive to the following year by placing themselves in a precarious position where death is possible. Bucks will not avoid these places completely. They will just go nocturnal. And that eliminates the possibility for a November or December encounter.

As a final note, any green food plot that is getting hammered by the deer may need some nutritional boosts in November to keep productivity high. Land managers can apply a shot of nitrogen in November to maintain re-growth of those tender sprouts.

Ammonium nitrate or Calcium nitrate are the best granular or solid forms of Nitrogen supplementation for top dressing wheat, rye, oats, or triticale for a late fall/early winter boost. And 75 to 100 pounds per acre can make a noticeable difference to the growth and productivity of these plots if applied now.


Hunters have more opportunities to tag bucks in November than any other month thanks to the rut. (Picture by Jeff Burleson)

November notes:

The peak of the rut takes place in November throughout most of the Carolinas, and the increased buck activity makes it a great time to get youth hunters more interested. Their chance of seeing a shooter is higher on average than it will be any other month of the hunting season.

About Jeff Burleson 1294 Articles
Jeff Burleson is a native of Lumberton, N.C., who lives in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He graduated from N.C. State University with a degree in fisheries and wildlife sciences and is a certified biologist and professional forester for Southern Palmetto Environmental Consulting.

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