Get Your Buck Thanksgiving Weekend

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In most regions right now, most of the adult does have been bred, and bucks are tired and run down from chasing, breeding and eluding hunters. But those survivors know the chance to breed a doe won’t come around for another year. They prowl for the last five percent or so of does that might still be receptive. They move heavily at night and in cover, but a good buck might slip up at dawn or dusk, so be out there.

The days of Thanksgiving weekend are some of the biggest hunting days of the year as family and friends get together and fan out across the woods. This is another reason to hunt. You never know where and when that pressure might drive a buck into your lap.

Best conditions: Hope for daytime highs in the 30s to low 50s, with lows in the 20s. I prefer clear high-pressure days, but a light snow would be great. One thing in your favor is the last-quarter moon this week. Researchers have found this moon phase to be best for extreme deer movement, especially the last hour of the day.

Top stand: You’ll likely have a chilly west or north wind, so set up on the east side of a hill or ridge where the wind is right, and where you can cover a wide swath of thick woods, marsh and/or a weed-choked field. Watch for a buck cutting from one thicket to the next, hoping to run across a last hot doe—or sneaking from pressure. Remember the last hour of the day is likely to be best.

Good luck.