Deer can be found in nearly every state. However, these creatures are sneaky enough to avoid hunters time and time again. And, let’s face it, we all have things to do. Today we’re going to talk about the best deer hunting times.
Best Deer Hunting Times: What Are They?
There aren’t enough hours to track deer, so you need to know the best deer hunting times. There isn’t an exact science or scale used to determine these times.
However, understanding the factors, conditions, and situations when deer are most likely to be active and/or vulnerable, can increase your chances of taking home a buck.
We’ve compiled 12 of the best conditions and times when you’re most likely to bag yourself a buck.
At Dusk and Dawn
Most deer hunters already know that deer are more easily seen in the early mornings and late afternoons. This is because deer are crepuscular; they’re more active at dawn and twilight. You’re more likely to see them roaming and feeding around those hours. This will allow you to take one down when they’re not paying attention. However, their eyesight is best during these periods, so you’ll have to be extra careful.
Just Before a Front
Animals seem to sense weather changes way before they’re visible. Deer are no exception. They’re pretty sensitive to fronts in particular. Once they feel one coming, they usually get up and moving, which is excellent news for you. This way, you have a chance to get them in your sights more easily. You can choose to plan your hunt around an incoming front. By doing this, you may be able to catch a deer moving outside of the regular periods.
Other Weather Events
As we said above, animals are more sensitive to weather changes. While this extends to fronts, it also applies to simple weather like rain or snow. Sudden weather changes can disrupt deer routines and make them stay awake and active for longer than usual. If these events happen during dawn or dusk, it may have a more significant effect on whitetails. So watch the weather report for any changes like a sudden summer shower. It may help you on your hunt and in choosing the best deer hunting times.
Big Temperature Swings
Sudden and extreme temperature swings may be enough to get deer moving off schedule. When such weather rents occur, deer usually don’t bed easily and feed for longer. However, this is more likely to happen when the weather event brings colder temperatures. Hotter weather may not yield the same effect. Either way, checking the forecast before heading to the treestand can help you fill up those deer tags. However, you shouldn’t overlook an increase in mercury either; it also has an effect.
When the Barometer Is At 30
There are a lot of conflicting theories and research about the relationship between barometric measurements and deer movement. However, it is a commonly accepted idea that when the Barometer hits 30, deer are more likely to feed and stay up longer at dawn and dusk. While this may not be true in all climates, most research points out that deer do respond to this factor.
The rut is the period just before the breeding season. It usually starts a week or ten days before the peak breeding period. During the rut, bucks are more likely to be active and roaming. Though some states have different breeding periods, they’re usually the same year-round. If you’re not sure of the exact dates, you can ask your local Wildlife Commission. This is one of the best deer hunting times if you’re aiming for big bucks.
Dawn and dusk are the most active times for deer, but these periods can be tweaked a little by the moon’s position. There have been a few studies researching this phenomenon. Generally, when the moon is directly overhead or underfoot, it might cause them to get up earlier and feed more heavily than usual. When the moon’s overhead or underfoot position coincides with early morning or twilight, you can have a significant increase in deer activity.
When There Are Fewer People
As a hunter, you probably understand that one of the most crucial deer hunting factors is stealth. However, that might be impossible to obtain with many people around. There’s less chance of accidentally scaring off the deer with fewer people, and it’s much easier to move around. Plus, fewer chances of two groups hunting the same prey.
When It’s Opening Day
Opening day is great for one reason: more deer. The first day of hunting season means that there is still an abundance of deer and the animals aren’t feeling pressured yet. This is a great chance to fill up your deer tags and start the season off the right way. You might already be going because of the anticipation and tradition. But don’t forget that opening days are one of the best deer hunting times as well.
When The Wind Favors Them
Deer, especially bucks, are more active when the wind moves in a way that’s advantageous for them. The advantage can be anything, for example, making it easier to detect predators. However, this can make them let down their guards a little. You will have to be more aware to stay out of the deer’s scent come and avoid detection.
Whenever You Want
Hunting is a fun recreational hobby for some people, and if it’s that way for you, then you should go with it. If the deer hunting season is open and you love to hunt, there’s no need to worry about biology and other factors. Just have fun.
When You Can
Like it or not, we all have jobs and responsibilities. These activities can take up most of our time, leaving precious periods for hunting. There’s no need to worry about the environment or other people at these times. The most important thing is that you go when you can.
So, those are twelve factors and periods that can create some of the best deer hunting times you’ve ever experienced. Use this guide whenever you and your friends are planning a hunt and check out how many deer tags you rack up.
- PennState, College of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecosystem Science and Management.
- S. Fish and Wildlife Services.
- Hindawi, International Journal of Ecology.