Understanding Animal Behavior: A Guide to Finding the Best Time for Hunting

Some hunters prefer to take their stand and wait from sunup to sundown. But is that the right approach to hunting? Not necessarily. Waiting throughout the day and hunting a couple of bucks and coming at an appropriate time and hunting the same number of bucks means the latter is a better hunter. If you are not willing to wait for hours in a stand, then you should start figuring out animal behavior. Fortunately for you, this guide talks about that in a nutshell.

Buck movement

Considering that you will hunt for deer, let’s get an idea of their movement throughout the day so that you can find the perfect window for hunting them down. As opposed to what many think, deers don’t fear the dark. Instead, they prefer darkness. This is because mature bucks can figure out how hunters think. They are aware that someone, somewhere is aiming a gun at them when there is light. Therefore, they prefer to move undetected at night. It gives them the ideal time to feed under the stars peacefully.

Does that mean you will go hunting at night or in the evening? No. It depends on the type of deer you want to hunt. Mature bucks prefer eating at night. The others don’t. Others prefer finding a thick cover of woods to become harder for hunters to aim at them. Some mature bucks even wait until early morning to eat their share of food. If you can access their trails or funnels leading to some of these hidden spots, you can hit the jackpot. Instead of you going close to the deer, let the deer come and feed in your territory. There is a theory that the lunar phase influences deer movement. While the extent of this influence is still not known, experts think that the light from the full moon makes it easier for deer to see and eat after dark. The point here is finding a sweet spot and planning your hunt accordingly. It’s not ideal to hunt at night. But since deer eat until late at night, you can take your hunting stance early morning. This will give you enough to shoot at as the herd of deer goes back to their home du ing the wee hours of the morning. One of the reasons why it is wise to hunt early in the morning is it minimizes the chances of spooking your targets. If you already know your setup, take the trouble of waking up early and use the time-window to your advantage.

Making the most of evening stands

Didn’t you just read that evening and night are not suitable for hunting? Then what makes evening stands beneficial for hunters? Here this out first. Hank Tassitano, one of the most experienced hunters, says that evening stands work in the early season. You may find many targets feeding in fields before dawn, but that’s not the ideal time. Most hunters end up disturbing the herd, thus reducing their chances to hunt their targets. Hank also goes on to say that deer herds vacate fields by midmorning. This gives you a window during the late afternoon to take stands when the same herds come back to eat again. But you must wait patiently. It is challenging to exit the stands once the light becomes dim. The trick here is to identify the type of deer that interests you the most. A good strategy that you can work on is placing your stand at the edge of a food plot. This will not only give you time to aim at a deer that enters the food plot but also climb down the stand undetected after dark.

Mastering morning stands

Many hunters have a typical habit of sleeping until late and climbing to their stand at 3 in the afternoon. They expect to find a buck after waiting for a couple of hours, and that’s it. That’s their trophy. While it may suffice their desires, that ain’t what you call hunting. Sure, going hunting at 3 is comfortable. But if you are an avid hunter and want to up your game, you need to come out of your comfort zone. And that means waking up early and catching the worm, or in this case, shooting your target. Deer movement is undoubtedly heavy in the morning for the most part of the year. Mature
bucks don’t always go to bed after feeding throughout the night. They will stroll around for a while, and that’s when you should set them up as your primary targets. It’s easy to hunt small deer whenever you want but finding mature bucks involves strategy. You ask any experienced hunter when they usually target mature bucks, and they will say morning is the best time to get them. Take stands near creeks in oak forests or oak funnels that you can access before dawn. Remember a trick here: always tiptoe to your stand. Don’t step on dried leaves as if you are the Hulk. Even the slightest of sounds may scare your targets away. Try not to use a flashlight. Experienced hunters usually setup their morning stands months in advance. This helps to familiarize themselves with the route instead of clanking through the woods like a drunkard.

Do exceptions work?

Of course, they do. These are rules that increase your chances of hunting the big fish. But you may often come across bucks that wander around near your stand just like that. Exceptions work if you are lucky. If you consider the behavior of animals, it is unlikely that you will come across a buck at an odd time. But then you never know when a mature buck decides to take a stroll in the afternoon, long after it finished eating. These tips can make you a better hunter than you are now. Hunting requires skill, and one of the skills is to figure out animal behavior. Unless you get into their minds, you can’t hunt them down. And unless you understand animal behavior, it’s not right to call yourself a professional