Mornings, afternoons or evenings?

slonstdy

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Oct 10, 2018
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For many years I swore the best time to be out in the woods with the greatest odds of shooting a buck was those few hours that make up first light thru sunrise. The problem I feel with hunting at that time is I've bumped many deer while I walked in the darkness to the tree. I've changed my thinking the last few seasons and have been putting more time in afternoon and evening hunts.
I hunt mostly wooded areas with low lying marsh/swamps mixed in. There aren't any farms or ag fields so the deer are feeding in the mast trees which are everywhere so I setup on trails from bedding areas usually. I know if you find the does you find the bucks and I've had success at all times but I'd like to hear what you guys think as far as your thought process for why you prefer a certain time of the day. Get there early and catch them going to bed or get there later and catch them leaving to feed?
 

DaWiz9578

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Jan 12, 2019
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SE Michigan
Typically I would pick my preset for the wind and sit there all day :confused2:. Now with the saddle (first year) my approach is going to be get in close to bedding early (and I mean early), sit until early to mid morning, back out like a ninja, get on the front side of the bedding, scout, try to find first food, scrape, etc from bedding and sit on it in the evening. If not completely bail and scout for step #1 in another area, still hunting if possible.
 

Gator

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May 20, 2019
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Virginia
Early season I like afternoons much better. With that said, I climbed up opening day about 45 mins after first light and shot a doe 1 1/2 hours later, she was the 8th one to go by. Once we get closer to the end of Oct, I like mornings much better. I think with the weather we've had the last few years, the cooler morning have more activity then the usually much warmer afternoons.
 

fbwguy

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Cato Arkansas
90% of my harvests have been morning. That saying I've seen just as many evening deer, but I seem to pull the trigger early AM
 

swimmer

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Aug 12, 2019
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Early season afternoon. End of October till end of November I like both equally. Late season back to afternoons only.
 

Kowi Anukasha

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Sep 26, 2019
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Indian Territory
I will hunt whenever I am blessed with the chance. But to the OP situation I'd agree that evenings would up your chances of getting in undetected for now. Come the rut get in early and stay all day is my chosen method. That is when life and conditions permit. I've killed mature bucks early, late and mid day but never killed one anytime i was layed up on the couch.
 

OspreyZB

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Feb 11, 2019
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Every truly mature buck I've ever seen during hunting season has been in the last 2 hours of daylight, with most of those sightings being in the last half hour. Early in the season (the first week or so) I've noticed mature deer making it farther away from bedding areas during daylight. Once the pressure is on and the mature deer realize they are being hunted they don't leave those secure areas during daylight. I think they still usually "get up" an hour or 2 before dark, but they just meander around and browse very close to there beds until it gets dark. I've seen them spend close to an hour in a 20x20 yard area. Even during the rut I've never seen a mature buck running around chasing or seeking does during daylight. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, cause I know a lot of guys kill some giants mid-day during the rut, I've just never seen it personally. I would rather hunt the last 2 hours of daylight than the first 10.
 

OspreyZB

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Feb 11, 2019
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Every truly mature buck I've ever seen during hunting season has been in the last 2 hours of daylight, with most of those sightings being in the last half hour. Early in the season (the first week or so) I've noticed mature deer making it farther away from bedding areas during daylight. Once the pressure is on and the mature deer realize they are being hunted they don't leave those secure areas during daylight. I think they still usually "get up" an hour or 2 before dark, but they just meander around and browse very close to there beds until it gets dark. I've seen them spend close to an hour in a 20x20 yard area. Even during the rut I've never seen a mature buck running around chasing or seeking does during daylight. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, cause I know a lot of guys kill some giants mid-day during the rut, I've just never seen it personally. I would rather hunt the last 2 hours of daylight than the first 10.
I feel that I should add that I'm hunting in an area with high hunting pressure and high to very high deer densities. These 2 factors play a huge role in how much/ how far deer will move during daylight
 

mtsrunner

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Sep 10, 2019
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98
I think I’ve killed about the same number and quality equally between morning and evening. It seems like a bunch of them are around 10:30 am, though.
My preference is BY FAR early morning hunts. I love hearing and feeling the woods come alive.
And I much prefer field dressing during the day and not after dark.


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shwacker

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Dec 10, 2018
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509
Mornings, I feel like the deer movement lasts over a longer period usually, up through midday. Sometimes you get the early evening movement but often it’s getting toward last light making more difficult shots and night tracking.

But as you said, bed to food or food to bed, depending on the area you’re hunting one may be more optimal for you than the other.

I


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Kurt

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Nov 1, 2018
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Massachusetts
I do love being in the woods early morning to watch things wake up, and have a hot cup of coffee while sitting in a tree, and I've killed some deer that way and I've seen some nice bucks. I've definitely killed my biggest deer, and the most deer on the evening hunts. I get my most dark to dark sits during the rut for sure.
 

EricS

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Dec 14, 2016
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Georgia
I much prefer killing them in the morning just for easier tracking/extraction and cleaning but see more in the evening. I also spook less going in on evening hunts. I hunt when I can.
 

Mr Price

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Dec 12, 2018
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I killed most of my bucks on over looked public lands. Usually anywhere from 10am-2pm. The mature bucks know when the hunters move and outsmart them. I slip in usually around 7am and hunt all day if possible. Im being honest
 
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Red Beard

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Mar 3, 2019
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In my skin
+1 for loving to watch the woods wake up. Think that's when I'm most grateful to be out there. Such a cool moment when the lights just turn on.

Feels like I get desperate on evening hunts when the lights starts to fade. I begin bargaining with God in that it doesn't have to be a "big boy" that walks by... I'll take just about anything. :)

As far as odds of skewering a buck goes, the only big one I've ever taken was... go figure... 12 minutes before last shooting light.
 
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