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Joined: 10/29/2007
Posts: 7
Best time in afternoon to whitetail hunt?

I am fairly new to hunting and am still trying to pattern the deer here in northern idaho. does anyone have any suggestions on the best time to hunt in the afternoon. i have been going a 1/2 hour before sunrise and an hour before sunset and still have not filled my tag. should i be heading out sooner in the afternoon? All advice greatly appreciated!!!

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Location: Summit, IL
Joined: 10/22/2006
Posts: 706
Best time in afternoon to whitetail hunt?

Ok... If what Im reading is right, you arent going OUT till half hour before sunset? If thats the case then yeah you are goofing up. Deer tend to "stage up" prior to coming out to feed. What this means is that they are hanging out just inside the treeline, somwhere between thier bedding area and food source. If you arent getting out till half hour before sunset, then you are walking them out. Spooking them. They are up and moving quite a bit before that. I personally hit the woods around 2pm maybe 3pm if im running a little late. Afternoons are prime time to hunt between food source and bedding areas for bow but you want to get out there early enough that they are still bedded down and you arent pushing them out. Most times though I dont leave my stand from dawn till dusk. Killed a lot of deer around 1 pm when its rut or its REALLY cold out. Deer have to get up and feed more when its cold as well as stay watered up. Hope this helps. And good luck. Dont get dejected, lots of hunters hunt for YEARS before filling thier first tag. The point isnt supposed to be the "kill" but being out in nature and enjoying all her glory!!!

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Joined: 10/29/2007
Posts: 7
Best time in afternoon to whitetail hunt?

thanks for the advice cam....i will give it a try and see what happens

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Location: Summit, IL
Joined: 10/22/2006
Posts: 706
Best time in afternoon to whitetail hunt?

sure thing. Thats what we are here for.

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Location: NE Kansas
Joined: 03/20/2006
Posts: 2603
Best time in afternoon to whitetail hunt?

I try to be in stand about 45 min. before first hint of light arrives in the morning and be in stand at least 3 hrs. before dark.

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Location: new brunswick
Joined: 07/28/2007
Posts: 298
Re: Best time in afternoon to whitetail hunt?
idahojosh wrote:
I am fairly new to hunting and am still trying to pattern the deer here in northern idaho. does anyone have any suggestions on the best time to hunt in the afternoon. i have been going a 1/2 hour before sunrise and an hour before sunset and still have not filled my tag. should i be heading out sooner in the afternoon? All advice greatly appreciated!!!

..you didn't say if you were baiting or not ?also are you hunting a stand or spot and stalk ?or maybe your sitting on a scrape ? myself i prefer a morning hunt , but thats just my personal prefrence .some hunters find it hard to sit quitely for a few hours at a time . especialy if it's cold ,about 3 hours of sitting is my limit so i judge myself acordingly, like cam says enjoying being out there ! maybe you can find a buddy with some experience to go out with a few times . best of luck to you

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Joined: 10/29/2007
Posts: 7
Best time in afternoon to whitetail hunt?

I actually bought a tree stand last weekend and am looking for a good place to put it up. One of the problems with north idaho is that it is so darn heavily wooded that when you do find a nice open field it is so heavily hunted already. Would you suggest setting up in a tree line on the edge of a field for the night hunts when they come out to feed in it?

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Location: Summit, IL
Joined: 10/22/2006
Posts: 706
Best time in afternoon to whitetail hunt?

I usually set mine up about 10 to 15 yards OFF of a heavily used trail they use to come out to feed. Usually a little back into the woods for Bow but on the field edge for rifle. They tend to be a little bit less nervous when still in the cover of the woodline. They hit they field edge and they are on instant alert because they are out of the cover.

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Location: new brunswick
Joined: 07/28/2007
Posts: 298
Best time in afternoon to whitetail hunt?

they like their cover ...big bucks don't get big by being stupid !

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Location: West Carleton, Ottawa, Canada
Joined: 12/23/2002
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Best time in afternoon to whitetail hunt?

Personally every deer I've shot has been between 0900-1100, but I hunt back in the bush away from the fields. I think that after their morning nap the deer get up and shift position.

Location: Butte, MT
Joined: 01/02/2006
Posts: 234
Best time in afternoon to whitetail hunt?

What sort of area are you hunting... forest, river bottom, tater field? Seems like in Montana I have far and away my best luck hiding on the edge of an alfalfa field in about the last hour of daylight. But I get set up early, like between 1:00 and 2:00pm. I always figure I make noise getting there and settling in so I want to give the spot plenty of time to calm down before the magic hour, as I call it. Yes, it can be boring to wait that long. Sometimes I actually bring a book. Deer will get active before that, though. They often stay bedded down most of the daylight hours and move minimally. Often I've seen that a couple of hours before dark, they start to get up, and browse toward the field (or main feeding area), but stay in the cover. Most of them won't step out into the open until the light is pretty dim.

I grew up in Texas in an area without much agriculture, though. Deer would tend to feed in the big oak thickets, mostly on acorns and young leaves, and bed down in more mesquite laden areas. The best I did there was to catch deer at very first light moving along trails from oaks to mesquites.

Once the rut starts to swing, though, things get a little more unpredictable. I've seen most bucks cruising for does in mid morning and again toward the end of the day.

Deer really don't behave the same everywhere. Lots of things influence their behavior, food and water availability, weather, and a big one this time of year: hunting pressure.

Good luck. Deer hunting has been my favorite past time for most of my life. It's basically fed my family for years too.

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