Hunting Deer in Snow

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In light of Georgia's snow storm this week, this is a great opportunity to highlight the advantages and disadvantages of hunting in the snow. We don't get much snow down here, and the snow and ice has since melted, but it certainly won't be the last snow storm in Georgia, and hunting in frigid conditions offers benefits and challenges that will test your skills as a hunter. Some will not bother hunting in snow, but others may see it as an interesting and fun challenge.

Snow Trails

Let's say we're talking about hunting deer. One of the advantages you have are the direct tracks that animals leave in the snow. If you notice fresh tracks, you can embark on a wide, circular path to cut the deer off. Regardless of the snow, deer will be on the move looking for bedding and food sources. And, like any other animal, deer have that natural instant to detect bad weather, and will head to lower elevation to escape the storm. In Georgia, we don't get blizzard-like conditions down here, but you could still have a better chance of spotting a deer downhill, since the snow has changed their daily habits.

Deer are especially on the move during the daylight hours, and extra active during snowy weather. They are also more likely to hunker down in slopes facing south, where there is more sunlight, and you're more likely to see them in groups.

Winter Diet

Deer are more restricted in what they eat, since the snow has covered most of their food sources, so lay some soybean and corn as well. Deer will be on the lookout for extra sources of energy, and the oils in soybeans are high in energy for them. And certain soybeans pods will hold steady well into the late winter. If you plant soybean crops during winter, they will make a great food source for deer, since they love the pods during the winter. However, even if it does not snow in Georgia during winter, the pods will still make an excellent bait source.

Sight and Distance

When it comes to sights, the whiteness contrasting with the backdrop of the forest will make deer much easier to spot from a distance. Deer are very well camouflaged in the forest; I once walked my dog through a forest trail and a deer scurried by, and it was gone in a flicker. The snow will make it much easier for you to catch alert deer more quickly.

Disadvantages

Snow can also prove to be a disadvantage for your weapon, especially bows, but since Georgians usually don't see snow during the bow season, this won't be much of an issue. When it comes to firearms, make sure you have a quality scope that shields well against the elements, and a rifle that will safeguard the internal mechanics.

But, the number one disadvantage when it comes to hunting in snow is the danger. Always be careful of ice, and be sure to dress in as many layers as needed. When it comes to your body, you'll have to keep your trigger finger from going numb, and keeping your body from shivering, which could have an impact on your shot. Frostbite is not much a problem down here in Georgia, but keep yourself warm to avoid catching a cold.

Also, protect your dog as well if hunting other animals. You may have trained your hunting dog to withstand cold temperatures, but frigid weather can impact the hunting prowess of your pet, and frequent exposure to cold temperatures can lead to joint and arthritic problems later in life. If taking your dog with you in the snow, protect them with doggie hunting jackets. Also, the snow can also slow down your animal companion when chasing for smaller animals, for instance.

And be especially mindful of your tracks. The sound of the crunching snow can travel longer long distances, and give away your position. The deer can also spot your tracks and will avoid you.

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Amid the snowy setting, you'll also stand out, so you may also want to camouflage your
rifle and gear in white to give you the advantage of remaining hidden.

We may not see snow during the early hunting season in Georgia, but we may see some snow fall during the late season, which could provide a perfect opportunity. Hunting in the snow depends on the hunter's preference, but it can be challenging, and you'll definitely get some bragging rights if you happen to snag a well-concealed albino deer in a stark, white forest.

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