Best Time Of Day To Hunt Deer

Last Updated on May 13, 2023 by Dwayne Easton

I started hunting at a young age. Like most people, I used to hunt the way I was taught and never questioned why. I would rise in the morning before sunrise to go hunt deer. Like most hunters, I could never tell the reason why these dark hours seemed to work. Until last year, I decided to understand the odds, which are most favourable for deer hunting.

best time of day to hunt deer

Last November, I was with my friend in Ohio to hunt deer in the first week of November. The early seasons are sometimes too hot, so I prefer the end of the season. A bow hunter like me would never take a week off to fail the hunt due to lack of perfect timing. Whether it is the time of the year or the day, I need to have a basic knowledge about the hunting time. The place that we chose had three major bedding areas. I prefer to observe deer activity in the morning and hunt them in the evening. In this way, I get an idea about their feed field. The landscape came to life in the daylight. We were following the moon theory, my friend explained to me, to spot a buck. The buck appeared from the southwest corner of the field. Having my crossbow focused on the buck, I shot my bolt. “That was a neat kill”- my friend said.

Deer hunting is a game of decisions. Knowing the deer’s internal clock is crucial for a successful hunt. The odds become more favourable for the deer hunters during certain conditions and times. The following information may not be the hard and fast rules, but they can provide a great guideline.

Life Of a Deer In a Day

Before diving into the real question, we must know the behaviour of a deer throughout the day. Deer is a highly studied mammal in the world with a wide range of species. The largest deer is 6.5 feet. Since deers are nocturnal animals, it is a standard belief that they mostly move at the beginning and end of the day. Deer do move at the other times of the day depending on many factors, but it is unpredictable. They do not have the best night vision are mostly active during the day in heavy rainfall. Starting their day in the twilight, deer become active in search of food. Around midnight, they might go back to their bedding spot for a few hours. Deer will begin their activity again after taking a rest. This activity continues until a few hours after the dawn. During the midday, deer might rise for a stroll and snack. It has been observed that the least active period is from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm when deer are often lethargic. This routine leads to the conclusion that both morning and evening are good times to hunt deer, but they have a midday activity too.

Best Time For Deer Hunting

The best time of the day to hunt deer depends on the weather and seasonal changes. On a clear sky and a bright moon day, pre-dawn is the great time to hunt. This is because deer are more lethargic in the morning. From the mid-fall to rut season, mid-morning can be the most productive time to find deer. A few people say that the late-morning can be a great time in coldest nights. This does not seem feasible in accordance with the active season of deer in a year. So, no matter what the conditions, early morning and late afternoon is the time when deer move the best.

Moon Overhead/Underfoot:

Moon overhead/underfoot means straight up/down. This term is different from the moon phase, which does not have any effect on the hunting of deer. Everyone knows that moon has the most gravitational pull to control the ocean tides. In the same way, it has a subtle effect on land animals. The moon theory explains the coincided time of the overhead and underfoot with the “busiest time” of the deer activity. The position of the moon overhead and underfoot causes them to get up and feed.

where to shoot a deer

Time Of The Year

The best time of the year for deer hunting is from early September to the Mid-November. In the early season (September 1 to October 20), deer will mostly feed throughout the night. In the mid-season (October 31 to November 5) deer activity as well as the breeding increases. Morning hunts are popular during this time of the season. From November 5 to November 15, the rutting season begins. During the rut, bucks are seen moving around everywhere, any time of the day. So, you can hunt in the morning, mid-day, afternoon or evening during this time period.

What Is The Best Time To Hunt Deer On a Full Moon?

There are many theories relating the moon to the deer hunting. One theory states that deer move more at night during the full moon. Some hunters oppose this theory while speaking from their personal experience. According to them, mature bucks rut in the daylight hours around the full moon. They also added that deer move less at night during the full moon and more in the daylight. There are no hard and fast scientific evidences that can explain the relation between moon phase and deer movement.

Why Are Deer More Active At Night?

Even though the day is generally warmer, deer are more active at night. Deer use darkness as protection against predators. They take advantage of the darkness with their irregular sleeping habits and conserve their energy. The nighttime and daytime beds are located in two very different places. Since deer are very cautious animals, they do not let their guard down for deep sleep.

Does Human Urine Attract Deer?

Healthy human urine does not have an unpleasant odour and contains 95% water. Deer can tell the difference between human and non-human urine. So, the smell of the urine might possibly attract the deer. But, it spokes them about the presence of a human in the area. The hunt using this technique is only successful if the timing is right.