Deer Movement Studies

  • BigWerm
    SW Metro
    Posts: 9517

    Came across these two articles that are somewhat contrary to what I’ve experienced and always been told. Personally I always look at sunrise and sunset as the prime times (these articles don’t technically counter that), and during a full moon expect more midday movement. My biggest bucks have almost all come around sunrise, with one outlier travelling a rub line mid-afternoon. Thought it was interesting on the MSU article how far bucks travel and use different bedding locations. And in the Realtree article the 2 hours after sunrise movement has not been my experience, but the Lancaster article is paywalled so can’t dig in too deep.



    Isle, MN
    Posts: 21605

    I seen my first buck 10 minutes into opening morning this year, a small 6 that was tending his scrape/rub line. I passed on it, the next guy over did not. In fact, that’s the only deer I seen while afield this season. doah

    North branch, mn
    Posts: 16896

    I have shot more bucks in the midday and last few minutes of the evening over morning hunts. Not sure if it’s a placement thing or not. I have seen many small bucks early morning but not many big shooters. I’m going to read these articles tonight.

    cold spring mn
    Posts: 9710

    not sure why but i dont see many deer prior to sunset. most my deer i see are in the mornings after 8 till about 9;30. my best times i’ve shot bucks are from 11 to 1 pm.

    Posts: 1960

    I don’t bow hunt so can only speak for first week in NOV – But I align completely with the 2hrs after dawn study. I see plenty of deer at dawn but as far as cruising bucks go, they seem to wander about that time.

    Jimmy Jones
    Posts: 1699

    I’ve shot a lot of bucks right at legal shooting. I’ve also taken several in the 10-2 bracket. My two largest bucks both came with only minutes of legal shooting time left in the evening.

    Anoka County
    Posts: 2189

    Early season all of my big buck encounters are that last 20mins of legal. Maybe 30mins. I could see midday early season maybe being productive if you slip into bedding super early. Rut that first few hours are nuts. But that 10am-2pm can be killer. Especially on pressured ground ive seen. Late season its always evening. But its normally way easier to be on productive spots with trails being pounded and used consistently if theres deep snow on top of cold.

    Upper Midwest
    Posts: 6710

    The largest bucks I’ve harvested with a rifle in November were both between about 8 and 9am. I’ve always attributed it to other people shooting or moving in the woods and things throwing off their typical pattern.

    The largest bucks I’ve seen and shot early in the season with a bow have been either immediately after light or the last hour before dark.

    Michael Best
    Posts: 770

    During the rut my best hunting has been 9 to noon and the last hour in the evening.

    Every year the exodus podcast has Dr Strickland on from MSU. He is very knowledgeable when it comes to deer movement.
    Interestingly he has found no ties to deer movement in relation to moon phase.

    Delta, WI
    Posts: 370

    9:30 am seems to be consistent for deer sightings….Bucks and Does for me

    Posts: 2559

    My favorite spot which unfortunately I cant hunt anymore I couldnt say 9AM cause sunrise changes but it was always about 3 hours after sunrise when most movement was. Until gun season and they were chased around then it was right away.

    Plymouth, MN
    Posts: 13857

    I haven’t seen enough trophy caliber bucks in my lifetime of hunting to develop a pattern of when the most likely time period of movement is. My three biggest bucks have all been taken early in the morning. All my deer hunting is during the 9 day gun season too.

    I hunt almost every day, all day, weather permitting. I generally see more deer in the first hour or the last hour of the day, especially if its a little warmer out, which seems to be more common now during the gun season. If its colder out, then there seems to be more spread out daytime movement of deer.

    Posts: 3790

    Remember they are talking about Bucks in Mississippi not Minnesota. Doubt they get snow down there, other factors also make the study different from what we experience here in MN.

    SW Metro
    Posts: 9517

    Remember they are talking about Bucks in Mississippi not Minnesota. Doubt they get snow down there, other factors also make the study different from what we experience here in MN.

    Correct for the MSU one, The Realtree one was from Pennsylvania.

    Alex Fox
    Posts: 316

    My friend has a property that is a doe magnet with nice bucks on occasion. Every single buck shot out of there was in the morning as far back as I can remember. This year, of course, the first buck was shot in the evening, about 2 hours before closing light, the next, 4 minutes before closing light, and the last was at almost 11 AM. Never saw a doe this year. Just when you think you have a pattern down, it changes dramatically.

    Posts: 782

    We hunt 20 miles from the Canadian border back in the woods, and well over 90% of the deer we shoot are in the morning. Typically from 7:00 to 10:00 am. We rarely even hear shots afternoon. Not that we don’t see deer in the afternoon but when we do it seems like it’s only does.

    Posts: 79

    In my opinion weather plays a role in when deer move, but I’m not sure what conditions influence the deer and how. I’ve shot them at any time of the day, bucks and does. Biggest was 150 incher shot at about 9am during a good blizzard. Next biggest was taken at about an hour before sunset on a very warm for November day. The majority were taken with in 2 hours of daylight, primarily because thats when I hunt!

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