The Best Conditions for Deer Hunting

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Deer hunting is a game of chess. You make a move. The deer makes a move. And back and forth we go. That said, we’re sometimes better off to not make a move. Or, at least, waiting until the right time to make it. Here are some of the conditions you need to watch for when looking at the perfect day of deer hunting. Any one of these will make for better deer hunting. Have several (or all) of them hit at the same time and you’re likely set for the hunt of a lifetime.

Do you wait until the conditions are in your favor to hunt your best stands? (Bill Konway photo)

1. The First and Last Hour of Daylight: If you look at the research, it shows that mature bucks move most at dawn and dusk. There’s no changing that. The data suggests that’ll always be true regardless of outside factors. That includes the time of year, hunting pressure, etc. As commonly noted, midday hunts can be very effective, but your best odds of killing a deer are still in that first and last hour of light.

2. When Temperatures Are Below Historical Averages: Big temperature drops are key. But what’s a significant temperature change? In my opinion, it’s any temperature swing (up or down) of 15 to 20 degrees (or more) within a 24-hour period. Make sure you have your heavy-duty King’s Camo hunting clothing on when you experience those really cold spells.

3. When Weather Fronts Move In: Weather fronts seem to really get deer up and moving. They sense the oncoming weather and tend to feed heavily just prior to its arrival, and if it lingers, just after its departure, too. As previously mentioned, big temperature drops typically accompany fronts.

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4. Weather Events: Precipitation. Anything weather-related. They don’t have to be large fronts. Smaller ones encourage deer to move, too — especially if they occur during the first and last few hours of the day.

5. When the Wind Is in Their Favor: Mature bucks almost always use the wind to their advantage. That includes when they bed, feed and go to water. That’s why they’re more likely to move in a given location during daylight if the wind is in their favor while doing so. That’s where just-off winds come into play. Hunt those times when deer think the wind is in their favor, but it’s just good enough that you’re able to get a shot off without the deer smelling you.

6. When the Barometric Pressure Is Around 30: Some people don’t think barometric pressure affects deer movement. Others think it does. I’ve seen evidence that supports both sides. Make your own conclusions.

7. Moon Position: Don’t confuse this with moon phase. There’s no research that suggests deer move more or less on a full moon, or any phase for that matter. However, there is plenty of research that supports the theory that deer get up and feed more when the moon is directly overhead and underfoot. I’ve seen it happen with my own eyes since I began following this theory.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>