Some hunters spend the majority of their time hunting in the evenings, for others their time is spent hunting during the morning hours. If you’re like me, it’s a combination of both. Oddly enough, if you check out national big game records, you will see that roughly 30 percent of the registered bucks were harvested between 10 am and 2 pm. Hunting during the middle of the day is a great way to harvest deer, especially during the rut. Here are a few tips to help you tag a midday mammoth.
A whitetail buck, especially if mature, is better at patterning you than you are at patterning him. For this reason I take a serious approach to midday hunting and have reaped the rewards of hunting through noon. It doesn’t take a buck very long to grasp the concept of a hunter’s morning and evening hunting routine. The reason most hunters doubt the effectiveness of a midday hunt is because they approach a midday stand site in a similar fashion as they would morning and evening stands. Simply setting up over a picked corn or a soybean field isn’t going to cut it. Deer will use ridges, funnels and pinch points as a means of travel. Therefore scouting your property is a great way to locate a midday stand. I prefer to use a satellite map or a topographical map via smart phone or computer to first pinpoint an area, then inspect it by walking it. This limits the amount of human pressure exerted on the property.
One of my best midday stands is overlooking a small creek that runs through my hunting property. How many times have you walked alongside a creek and seen ample deer sign such as scrapes and saplings obliterated by antlers? That’s exactly why my stand is there. Factor in a few daylight trail camera photos of bucks using the area, and I’m content with spending a few hours in the vicinity. I also have a couple of stands overlooking CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) fields and an abandoned fallow field. Many deer choose to bed down in these weed-infested habitats during the day. There are a few reasons for this. First of all, they provide an ample amount of dense cover, but also allow sunlight to penetrate, providing warmth. Secondly, bucks use these areas to corral does into just before she is ready to breed. Once inside the cover, they will usually bed close together and the waiting game begins. When hunting areas such as these, keep an eye out for the flick of a tail or the twitch of an ear. The tall cover conceals deer very well so any movement may give away their location. During the pre-rut when the bucks are following the does, you will usually spot the does first. It seems they are uneasy with being constantly harassed and their movement will give away their presence much quicker than a weary buck will. I also have a stand that overlooks a beaver dam. This furbearer’s obstruction has been around for only a couple of years but the deer have learned they can cross the dam and get to point A to point B much quicker than walking through the swamp. This is my most effective midday stand site and I usually see more activity crossing the dam than any other midday setup.
During the next couple of weeks, bucks are moving more during the middle of the day than any other time during the year. By finding unpressured areas you can set yourself up for success when a buck comes strolling by. If your schedule doesn’t allow you to hunt as much as you’d like, or you want to mix things up, try hunting sometime during the later morning into the early afternoon. Just remember to stay focused. He won’t be there long when he shows up, he has other things on his agenda. Good luck!