Some deer hunters sit in a stand from sunup to sundown. Yet most hunting plans revolve around spending a few hours in the morning before taking a break to eat and rest, then hunting again in late afternoon and siting until sunset.
Both early morning and late evening seem to be prime time for deer hunting, but which is best?
Jeremy Brown, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s assistant deer program coordinator, said most hunters tend to say they have more success during their afternoon hunts than morning hunts, but that may be a result of hunter preference.
“Most hunters tend to go more often in the afternoons than in the morning,” Brown said. “It’s just more comfortable. It’s going to be during the warmer part of the day. You don’t have to wake up extra early and try to find your stand in the dark. Because more hunting time is put in during the afternoon, more deer are seen then.”
Deer, by nature, tend to be more active during dusk and dawn, Brown said.
“During the early season and late season, when deer movements are based on feeding areas, both bucks and does are going to get up, eat and drink every four to six hours, regardless of the time of day,” Brown said. “They definitely move more during the morning and evening, but there’s always a chance to catch a deer milling about, especially near thick areas where they have more cover.”
Around the second week of November, deer movement increases dramatically, thanks to the white-tailed deer’s breeding season. Bucks that normally would stick to a morning and evening routine lose their sense of time and spend their days searching out receptive does.
“Any given doe is only going to be in estrus for about 24 to 48 hours, so bucks are constantly moving to find them,” Brown said. “If a doe isn’t bred during that one- to two-day window, it will be another 28 days or so before she comes back into estrus. Having balanced sex ratios in the area you hunt will help increase rutting activity and provide more opportunities to catch a buck roaming during daylight hours.”