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Phunnyfarm

Late-Season Muzzle-Load deer...any pointers?

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Phunnyfarm

Hi guys,

I am going muzzle-loader hunting with my father-in-law this weekend in the Brainerd Lakes area, and I have never been out this late before.

It was 50 degrees and sunny on rifle-opener weekend one month ago today, so obviously the conditions will be considerably different. Does anyone have any tips/tricks on what to expect this weekend regarding deer behavior? I have an all-season license, so the sex of the deer is not important. I would like to get some meat for the freezer to get me through the winter! Any information you guys have on deer hunting this time of year would be great.

Thanks guys!

Phunnyfarm

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Jameson

Quote:

...I would like to get some meat for the freezer to get me through the winter!...


Not a longtime-pro Muzzleloader here, but I'll offer up some advice. The deer, just like you, want to thicken up for winter, heck just to get through the day. The deer will be eating as much as they can, whenever they can. Find yourself a foodsource, and sit on it, or on the trails leading to it.

I admit my only ML success finally came this year. I had no clue what I was doing my first season MLing. Second season I figured out what the deer were feeding on in my area at this time of the year. This year I was able to set up on a travel lane between bedding area and the food source, and tagged a buck on opening day of ML.

Good Luck!

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sticknstring

Your best tool for this weekend is laid 10" thick right now. The deer will hopefully have all week to move undisturbed and establish feeding patterns leaving all the evidence behind for you to find. If your goal is to fill the freezer, I'd look for the heaviest sign (mostly does & fawns) but alot of those fawns will be coming into heat this weekend bringing in bucks as well. Dress light... put on some gaitors and take a straight line walk through the downwind side of the woods looking for the heavier used trails. In big woods - freshly-downed firs are preferred food sources. Find a food source and you'll find the deer. Pay attention to the wind and position yourself to cover a few of the heaviest trails and you should have some luck!

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BKB

Find the food and you will find the deer, we have about 10 inches of snow on the ground now with 2 to 4 more coming tomorrow. Pretty easy to see where they are, good time for a slow walk to get on them. Did I mention find the food!!

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Phunnyfarm

So you're saying to find the food?! Definitely noted. Thanks guys!

How about in terms of using the rattle bag, True Talker, or doe scents? Are any of those still in play this time of year?

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realtower

Well the snow up here is a great way to start finding the main trails. I spent most of the weekend stalking through the snow and today my legs feel like there are going to fall off. Long walks in a foot of snow is not fun. Good luck and enjoy the woods with few hunters.

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Heartman

Realtower, coming through loud and clear. I still-hunted for about three hours SUnday, in knee-deep snow up here on the north shore of Lake Superior. Our storm was over about 2am Sun morning, and although there were a few tracks around, no definite trails have been revealed yet. Intend to continue this weekend, but won't have time to scout until I get back there on Sat morning.

Really nice and quiet, but man oh man are my calves hurting as well!! I think that's why they call it hunting, not shooting...that was supposed to be funny by the way.

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vister

I spent all weekend in the woods with the smoker. came across many tracks and beds, however super stealth may be needed to find them buggers. with deer hunting almost into its 3rd month, deer have adapted to the constent pressure, becoming more nocturnal. the instant they feel pressured, they're gone. and with that being said, stand hunting may not work. with the heavy snow on the ground in the area, they'll eat at night and probably spend the daylight in beds.

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Phunnyfarm

This is great...thanks guys!

If it's cloudy at night, will that lead to the deer feeding more in the day?

And when talking about food sources this time of year, what kinds of food are they focused on? Is it still worth hunting on the food plots if there are still turnips/rape seed/clovers in there?

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Kyle

I dont muzzleload, but I bow hunt and I have been out the last couple days. I have seen a ton of tracks, but the deer are definately nocturnal where I'm hunting. I havent seen one yet, and there hasnt been much shooting going on around me.

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bigbucks

I think as long as it's sticking out of the snow. If there's corn close by too I'd bet on the corn though.

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crappace

I hunted just northwest of Mille Lacs on Friday afternoon of last weekend. There were lots of tracks in my woods plus one bed. With about a half hour left, three came by me and they were eating the entire time. The big doe looked pregnant she was so fat in the middle. Couldnt bring myself to split them up. It might be a different story this weekend!

Stay quiet and still. These deer never busted me and were no more than 15 yards away for a long time.

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Phunnyfarm

What were they eating when they went by you?

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crappace

Its a hard woods that was selective cut a few years back with smaller swamps mixed in. I would say acorns and young aspen??? I know both of those trees are there but cant be sure thats what they are eating. They were not always eating right on the ground so it must not have all been acorns.

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Phunnyfarm

How's the weather affect them then later this week when there's snow on Thursday, bitter cold on Friday/Friday night, and then more snow on Saturday? Are they EVER going to move?!

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Heartman

No kidding, Phunnyfarm. And we have a foot and a half of snow up here on the north shore on top of the cold temps. The muzzleloading window is closing a bit more each day, and I don't like it!!

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realtower

WOW! I just got in from a 8 mile hike in the 17inches of snow. I feel like I might die!! I feel real sorry for those deer that have to walk arround in that stuff all day. By the way the few tracks I did cut were in the thickest junk arround. Good luck to all this weekend I think my legs may fall off by then.

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Heartman

Amen to that, brother. Gotta believe a food source will pull them in...time to start looking for the browse - dogwood and such - that's easily accessible, I guess.

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KOTTKE

Finally connected on a 130 lbs doe last night, been a tough year as this is my 1st mn deer this year. The deer were realy moving early, shot this doe at 3:55 pm and saw 2 more at 4:45. If your still after the deer get there early, with this cold snap if should get them moving even more.

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Phunnyfarm

I kicked 2 deer up bedded in the yard out at the farm where I hunted last weekend before first light. Then as I approached the field I was going to hunt, I spotted 3 deer feeding. I was going to slowly make my way through the woods closer to them to get a shot, but a grouse flew up 5 feet from me. That spooked the deer, and needless to say spooked the heck out of me too!

The deer were moving EARLY and often though, and I wish I could have gotten out there a bit earlier to give myself some more cover in the darkness. Oh well...that's why they call it "hunting" and not "killing", eh?!

Thanks for all your help last week guys.

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