I suggest later. Should be not as dry, leaves off trees, maybe snow, fewer hunters, deer maybe starting to move around a bit. There are deer essentially everywhere - but the bucks are ellusive. People have the best success during the rut (later November). I'm relatively new at hunting these critters (WT). There is both public and private land. Landowners are either agreeable or intolerable to hunters, depending on the landowners. Gotta ask. But lots of public timbered lands also. The hunts are generally either sex.
There was a big WT die-off in 2003 in that area. You might contact the regional IFG office - though my guess is that the deer are well on their way to recovery there. Orofino area is beautiful - in some places very steep. Can be dark and thick. Good GPS country.
It was dusk. I was sneaking up on a small herd of deer. It was working out pretty well. I was in full camo with camo paint on face and hands. Then, one deer made me out. Hmmmm. She looked straight at me - and then skipped off. But she had done so apart from the others - so I was still good. Then another doe, about 60 yards out, `made' me. What the ...
But she couldn't tell what I was. She snorted. She came my way, stomping and snorting. Then she would walk up the hill, and look back, to see if I would bust, so she could figure me out. She came back. I had her in an opening through the trees at about 50 yards, sky-lined. If she looped into 40, and off the skyline, I would take the shot. Dave was directly behind her, though quite some distance, supposedly filming, but I didn't want to send a 3-bladed broadhead his way - not something you do to a friend. She just wouldn't come in. Up the hill she'd go, then back down, stomping and snorting. At one point she even jumped up and down and pranced, apparently going nuts in frustration with what she was trying to think of me.
She never did come in closer. The small herd eventually left east, one or two going within bow range by Dave, armed with camera only.
I told him of my frustration of how they were `making' me in the woods - thinking I must have had the slightly wrong color of camo or something. "No," he said, "It's not the camo - it's the blinking red light."
I had left my FRS radio at home - and so at the last minute had borrowed one of his. We had used the radios to comm to get in on the deer, but on the final approach I had turned the volume way down and stuck it in a front pocket, though with the top visible over the top of the pocket. Unlike my radio, his has a blinking red light. ,)
Winter is tough on whitetails, that is an accepted fact.
You can help the quality of your herd by providing winter plots - that are not necessarily designed as kill plots.
Having what I call green plots - that the deer can browse in when most of the other food is gone, can greatly benefit the deer herd when they need it most.
Come December - at least in our area of the south - most of the mast is gone, all of the crops were long harvested and this green browse can really make the difference for...