The next time that you’ve decided to hunt all day and you’re starting to get antsy setting in your stand, look at your watch. Whatever time it is, let’s say 12 noon, don’t say to yourself ‘I’ve got to set here 5 more hours before I can go home.’ Don’t do that. Here’s what you want to tell yourself, ‘I’ve only got 5 more hours to hunt today.’ That will help make that set go by better.
Let’s face it. Setting all day is not an easy task. Especially when deer movement is slow. And at some point in time in most instances deer movement will slow down and stop. When you’re seeing deer long sets are a piece of cake. Right? When you’re not seeing deer, that 3rd or 4th hour with nothing out there makes for a long day.
However, you should probably do it, especially when the rut is on. You just should. In a nutshell, rutting whitetails are just plain crazy. At times there is no real rime or reason for their behavior. There is no set time either. There are no limits as well. Bucks will travel farther, be more active during daylight hours, do the most ridiculous things. In short, they are just nuts and you’re best bet to get a good one on the ground is during the rut. Be in the woods and on alert at all times.
If you’re tree stand hunting. If I were you, I would be in that stand from daylight to dark. If you’re hunting from a ground blind. If I were you, I would be in that ground blind from daylight to dark. If you’re still hunting. If I were you, I would be slipping around in the timber from daylight to dark.
Anymore setting all day is much easier because most everyone is carrying a cell phone and that thing is a computer. You can check your mail, play games, text friends. You can do lots of things to make the time pass just with your phone. Take a book with you. Catch up on some reading. If you can’t stay awake. Take a nap. Set the alarm on your phone and get you a little 15-20 minute cat nap. Put the phone on vibrate and stick it down your pants if nothing else.
I always read an article or two every year where someone writes that they kill most of their mature bucks mid-day. I don’t. I still shoot most of my mature bucks earlier in the morning or right at dusk. I just do. But I have occasionally shot a big one mid-day. On that occasion I was in the woods.
I was in Alberta 20 years ago and it was the first week of the rifle season. The rut really hadn’t kicked in full force just yet. There was a fellow there from New Jersey hunting in our camp. His guide told him they were going to set all day over a scrape he had found. Now that can be a long day for sure. I’ve done it many times! You can set and stare at a scrape and it literally can drive you up a wall. It can be pretty productive as well.
That next day the New Jersey guy was a happy camper. At 1 p.m. a stud buck walked into that scrape and he shot him at 50 yards. I scored the deer for him and the buck fell just short - just short of the Boone & Crockett record book. The buck has 22 points and as a non-typical grossed 212 inches. He netted 194. He was 1 inch short of the all time record book but that fellow didn’t care and I wouldn’t have either. He was a giant buck.
I’ve also read that deer decide to move at mid-day because they know that’s when other hunters are having their lunch. Give me a break. Did they teach whitetails that when they went to college.
Occasionally someone might bump a deer or push them your way as they leave the timber to head back to the truck at 10:30 or so. You know that happens from time to time. But whitetails don’t move mid-day because there are usually less people in the woods. I just don’t believe that. Sorry.
Other than the rut there are two main reasons why deer will move during the middle of the day. Here they are: (1) Deer just like to stretch a bit from time to time. Don’t you? For those of you who have a desk job or are stuck at a computer for hours on end for whatever reason, after a few hours of setting there in that chair boy is sure feels good to stand up and stretch doesn’t it? It does for deer too. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. Deer aren’t robots they are an animal. They like to eat, sleep, mate and occasionally get up and stretch a bit. They may move 100 yards. They may move only 5 yards. They may not move, just get up, stretch and lay back down. But they will doit. Everyday. Yep. . .
(2) Deer like to water during daylight hours. They just do. Will they water at night? Oh of course they will. But for some reason they prefer to water during the day. They will go to water at mid-day as well. They just will.
I was struggling to get my buck one year while bow hunting during the end of October. In fact I stayed over into November trying to stick a good one. It was pretty warm that year and deer movement was slow and I really wasn’t seeing the deer I was used to seeing. The sign was there. There deer weren’t, at least during daylight hours. Having tried about everything I finally decided to set up right next to the only pond on the property during the mid-day. I was running out of time to hunt and I was pulling out all stops. T
That afternoon about 2 p.m. here he came. It was a shooter to boot. A real shooter. I just about panicked. I was just setting on the ground and not really in the best place to get off a shot. But when the buck headed in he came on a string and I had no choice but to wait it out. That silly buck walked right by me at 15 yards. I had a camera man stuck on the ground behind me in some brush. As I drew my bow and released the arrow, in the frame of the picture you can see the water to the pond behind the buck. There was no doubt where I was when I took that deer. I hit him perfect and he ran about 60 yards and piled up. That good old Muzzy did the trick one more time.
He was a slammer buck. He grossed in the 150’s and had 13 points. He came for water at 2 in the afternoon, the 3rd day of November. He was by himself. He wasn’t chasing a doe. He wasn’t going to a field to eat. He was going to that pond to get himself a mid-day drink.
One August I had driven down to southern Oklahoma to be a part of a night time deer count on a large piece of property. It was all official with a state game warden present the entire time. Even though the deer count wasn’t going to take place until that night, I arrived at the ranch just after lunch. I wanted to look the property over during daylight hours just to get a feel for the lay of the land. The temperatures that day exceeded 100 degrees. It was a hot, hot day in Oklahoma. At exactly 1:05 that afternoon with the sun beaming down at its brightest, standing out in the wide open at a small pond was a giant whitetail buck. He was a monster. I actually pulled my truck over to the side of the road and watched him get a drink, taking his own sweet time. He was not in a hurry. He drank, looked around and very slowly walked across that open field several hundred yards to the nearest timber and disappeared out of sight. I was shocked at what I had seen.
Now I’m not telling you to hunt all day in the early season when it’s 100 degrees outside. But I am telling you that whitetail bucks will get up and many times during the middle of the day go get themselves a drink of water and then return to their beds until about dark. They just will.
Don’t make yourself miserable. Don’t do this if you’re going to work yourself into a frenzy. Don’t hunt all day if it’s just absolutely not your thing. Just don’t do it. However bucks will move during the middle of the day for several various reasons and especially during the rut. It’s your call.
Good deer hunting to you my friend!
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