This might be the single most asked question on this website, and the honest answer is… it depends.
Hunting is something that is passed down from generation to generation, little tricks added in from time to time—but nobody knows everything. If someone does, drop us a line. We’d surely love to shake your hand.
Some of the many factors that affect deer activity are time of day, time of year, region, wind, rain, temperature… and probably most importantly, the rut.
Time of day is important for a few reasons, one being the fact that deer feel safer at night. No brainer. Just like the proverbial ostrich, if they can’t see you they most likely feel that you can’t see them either. Deer are eating machines and they have to venture out in the daylight. Peak feeding times coincide with lunar activity—moonrise, moonset, moon overhead, and moon underfoot.
Not everyone enjoys sitting just to sit. Though your blind or tree stand may be the most tranquil place on Earth, odds are you want to see deer activity. Many of us have full time jobs and can only get out to the woods a day, maybe two per week. That’s where deer charts come in. There are many out there and not all of them read the same, so take care when trusting your one and only off day to the first chart you come across. We may be a little biased, but we think you’d be better off using our tried and true Hunter Tracker app. All the calculations are done for you. Just fire up the app—which is available on both Android and iPhone—and tap the the deer activity button. You’ll be given a bar chart giving you the best time of day to go hunting for the next 5 days. Not to mention that you also get a five-day weather and lunar forecast!
So, the short answer is to hunt from a week before until a week after the rut for maximum activity. Those deer sure get ballsy during mating season and have even charged a few of us from time to time. Also hunt both major and minor feeding times, which coincide with the lunar activity listed above. Many deer have been known to bed down during heavy rain. Hunters disagree about the wind, but we’ve found that a slight wind is good. Too windy and they get skittish due to excess noise and scents swirling around, not giving them a clear direction.
The main thing is… get your butt out there and hunt! You’ll have a great time, you’ll help keep the deer population balanced, and you’ll get some great eating! The Hunter Tracker app is available on Amazon, the Apple Store, and Google Play.