While most hunters who chase whitetail learn new things and make a few mistakes along the way, one important lesson is usually to keep hunting deer during the middle of the day. Most hunters are out of bed well before the sun is up, sitting and waiting in their stand for shooting light to finally arrive. Many times, this will result in seeing plenty of little bucks chasing does until mid-morning, and once the activity has died down, they will head for the truck.
After already being in the stand for 4 or 5 hours already and it starting to quiet down, this would seem like a logical thing to do. Little do they know, the midday hours are some of the best hours to kill a big buck as they are out cruising. While there will always be mature bucks killed at first and last light.
Here are a few reasons you may want to consider sitting in your stand for a little longer.
- Mature bucks are much smarter than the young ones, and typically don’t run around like crazy early in the morning or late in the afternoon. One reason this maybe is that with the young bucks chasing around the does, it makes them much harder to locate.
The smarter, mature bucks will wait for the does to bed down, and then emerge from their hiding places to search for them. They will circle downwind of bedding areas to scent check and search for hot does, after most of the other deer have bedded down for the day.
- Stand placement is key in any hunting situation but try setting up stands in funnels that connect doe bedding areas. I would recommend never entering or hunting these areas or stands until the peak of the rut, as to keep from educating the bucks.
As always, never hunt a stand where the wind is not in your favor either. Mature bucks live by their sense of smell this time of year, and constantly smelling for does and can easily pick you up too.
- Like with most things, timing is everything. In most places and locations, the peak of the rut is the best time of year to find and kill a mature whitetail buck. In many places, this timeframe is in November and lasts for about a week or sometimes two.
If you are not fortunate enough to kill a buck during this timeframe, hang tight and be patient. You never know when a buck will still be cruising around searching for another hot doe.
The best hunting time
I truly believe some of the best hunting is to be had from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm on any given day, but especially during the rut. While I would never suggest sleeping in and only hunt these hours, I would think about maybe packing a lunch and try staying out all day and try it out. You never know, you may just finally get that opportunity at a buck of a lifetime!