Best Time of Day to Hunt Deer [5 Timeline You Need To Know For Perfect Tracking]

Morning, afternoon or night? Which is the best time of day to hunt deer? Not only the day, we need to consider months too.

best time of day to hunt deer

As we all know, there are lots of different tactics and ways to hunt deer in the wild. Now, every hunter should know that there is a time when they can maximize their hunt abilities and perform better. Simply speaking, when it comes to deer hunting, there are different timelines within a day where a hunter will be the most successful.

Anyhow, most of the young hunters think that deer hunting is just a simple ‘’point and shoot’’ exercise without much effort. But, on the contrary, deer hunting requires lots of different skills and knowledge in order to hunt properly and correctly.

Therefore, finding a deer is essential and that is why there are some unique timelines where deer are more active. These timelines are actually the parts of the day when you can most likely find deer in their natural habitat.

Now, let’s get to the point. Let’s see everything important about the best time to hunt deer.

Hunting During the Day

Some of the most experienced deer hunters claim that deer hunting should be done in the broad daylight. There is really no arguing with that. If you think about it, hunting during the day will definitely provide you many benefits like:

[su_note note_color=”#edbf7a” text_color=”#081413″]a) Better vision b) Easier tracking c) Faster and easier setups of the traps d) More energy and strength[/su_note]

But, the real question here is can you find deer in the broad daylight? Well, most of the hunters have proved that deer are usually active during the day and less during the night. However, there are some occasions where you can find deer at night.

Anyhow, a broad daylight is possibly the best time for deer hunting, but, are there any differences or special timelines during the day? Of course, there is some timeline during the day where deer is more active, and that is because of their behavior and the temperature.

Now, let’s discuss the suitable hunt deer time of the day. We have divided the day to three most common time zones, early morning, afternoon, and evening. So, every time zone has its advantages and benefits, let’s see them.

Early Morning Deer Hunting

It is definitely the best time to hunt deer just before the sun rises. Most of the experienced hunters have a strong opinion that deer hunting is the most efficient at the dawn. So, we can conclude that deer hunting is best early in the morning, but why?

Well, scientists discovered that deer are light sleepers and that they don’t need much time to rest during the night. Therefore, they are most awake and they move from place to place. This leads us to the conclusion that deer actually are the most active at the dawn. This is because all predators actually hunt at night and when the sun rises, deer are actually free and able to move safely.

However, if you plan on going to hunt deer early in the morning, it is crucial to get on the spot at least 1 hour before the sun rises. This might not be that convenient for everybody, that is why hunting deer early in the morning requires a bit more effort and discipline.

On the other hand, if you want to maximize your chances, early morning deer hunting is the best. Also, the temperature at the dawn is pretty low, considering the day temperature, and that is why deer need to move so that they can warm up.

All in all, early morning deer hunting will maximize your chances of a successful hunt, but it requires you to get up really early and do a bit more. Also, early morning deer hunting is a bad time to set up traps or to track deer. Namely, it is not recommendable to track deer during nights or right before dawn, the results will not be that good, especially during the cold weather.

To summarize, early morning deer hunting is definitely the most successful time to hunt deer since it will leave you with the 90% chances to get your deer. On the other hand, there are some difficulties and complications if you want to track or set up traps early in the morning.


Now, the afternoon is definitely not the best time to hunt deer. This is because deer are a bit lazy when the clock hit 12 o’clock. Namely, afternoon time is a ‘’lazy time’’ for deer and they don’t move that much during the day at this time.

On the other hand, you can use this time for some other activities besides looking for deer. You can actually set up traps or track deer at the afternoon. Some of the most experienced hunters actually recommend that you either use afternoon time to take a break or to track deer so that you can catch it later.

Simply speaking, the afternoon is not the best time of day to hunt deer. And again, this is directly correlated to the deer behavior and their way of life. Deer usually don’t tend to move much in the afternoon and they simply are not that active at this part of the day.

If you happen to be a newbie at deer hunting, you will probably ask yourself what time of day are deer most active? Well, the answer surely isn’t the afternoon since, as we already explained, deer are not moving or traveling much at this period of the day. On the other hand, you should also consider the fact that deer are not predators and they don’t need to move much in order to feed.

In that light, when the afternoon starts, deer are usually staying at one spot or moving slowly and patiently towards a next hiding spot. Remember, deer are not in danger during the day, that is why they tend to use this time as much as possible, but not in the afternoon.

In conclusion, the afternoon is a great time to track deer and to set up a few traps or even take a break from hunting. The choice is yours. But, one thing is certain, it is less likely to find deer in the afternoon hours.

Evening time

When it comes to evening time, deer usually prepare to move towards some secure locations, usually deep in the woods. Possibly the best hours to hunt deer in the evening is one or two hours before the sunset. This is the time when deer realize that the day is almost over and they move and tend to be more active.

This will leave them exposed from time to time and you will have higher chances of catching one. Also, you should be prepared to act at this time since you had all the time in the world to set up your gear in the afternoon. Most of the experienced hunters know that hunting deer in the evening hours is profitable and leads to good results.

On the other hand, you should consider getting some extra equipment and gear if you plan on staying up to late hours to hunt deer. This way, if your hunt is extended to the deep dark hours, you will be properly prepared to act in the given situations.

However, some of the hunters think that evening hours are even better than early morning hunt hours since there is a lot more time to set up the terrain. Namely, when you hunt in the morning, you don’t actually have much time to track deer and to set up traps, but if you hunt in the evening, you will have the whole afternoon to track or to set up traps so that you ensure that the hunt is successful.

All in all, hunting in the evening hours is definitely good, but it requires a little bit more preparation and effort. First, you need to spend your afternoon tracking the deer and ensuring that you are on the right path. Second, you need to be prepared to stay up late if you don’t actually find any deer before the dark.

Therefore, evening hour hunting is great if you are a bit more experienced and more skilled hunter. Otherwise, we recommend starting in the morning hours to build up to this level.

Night Deer Hunting

Hunting deer in the night is definitely not an easy thing to do and it is mostly done by experienced hunters and good shooters. But, are there any active deer in the night? Well, of course, there are active deer in the dark hours, but, not as active as in the day hours. This means that deer usually move at night only to escape their predators and to find a nice and safe place to hide and rest. These places are possibly near a water supply area or somewhere deep in the woods.

Also, one of the most important things about night hunting is the moon phases. Some of the world’s top researchers from North Carolina States University claim that deer are more active at twilight. They stated that deer movements are more active in the early morning hours during the new moon. Also, deer movement at night is more active during the full moon.

Simply speaking, when the full moon sets up on the sky, it provides just enough amount of night light for deer to move with good orientation. Therefore, if you plan on going on a night deer hunting trip, make sure to check the moon phase and then decide if it’s still a good idea to go.

Deer Hunting Moon Phases

As we already said, there are lots of different moon phases and they all have a different influence on deer movement and activity. Every hunter can definitely get some valuable information on deer movement just by observing moon calendar. Namely, the time when the moon is at quarters, that time is not that suitable for deer hunting because they don’t tend to move that much.

On the other hand, when there is a full moon, deer tend to move more and more, especially during the twilight in the morning hours. This is also one of the behaviors when it comes to deer and how to move during the night.

So, if you plan on going to hunt deer during the night, it is definitely the best choice to check the moon calendar and decide then. Also, avoid going into the woods at midnight or two hours past the midnight, since that is the time when deer are hiding and resting.

In that light, it is definitely the best to start night deer hunting around 3 o’clock after midnight and continue until the morning hours when they have the most active movements. This way, you will have the best chances of hunting deer successfully.

Best Deer Hunting Season

Now, aside from the deer activity during the day, it is quite important to know at what months are deer most active as well. Basically, you can’t rely on information about day or night activity of the deer if the month of the year is not suitable for hunting.

So, there are months when the deer are active more and that is the time when you should go hunting. Let’s see.

1. Summertime

Most of the hunters know that summer months such as July, August, and September are the best time to hunt deer in the wild. Namely, this is also called a food season since deer are most likely to eat often and feed more during these few months.

So, it is quite important to set up your gear and hunting boots before the July starts and get ready to start deer hunting when the time comes. Also, knowing where the bedding areas of deer are is quite valuable since they will lie there for the whole afternoon after they are done the feeding.

In that light, preparing before summer is a crucial thing for deer hunting. That way, you will ensure that you have everything needed for deer hunting in the first place. Also, you will be ready to go at the best possible time and that is when deer are feeding, which makes them an easy target.

2. Late September

This is considered as the perfect time to track down deer and hunt it. It is all because of the acorns since that is the time when acorns hit the ground. And, as we all know, acorns are definitely the number one food for deer. So, all you need to do is to know the best time of the day to hunt deer in early season.

Namely, when the time comes, you will have to locate the oak trees and search for deer packs. This is definitely one of the most successful recopies for deer hunting. They simply can’t resist acorns and that is when you got them.

3. Winter months

When the winter sets in, deer usually have only one thing on their mind, and that is to find food sources. So, do deer come out during the day in winter? Well, they must! If they don’t find reliable food sources, the cold winter winds and low temperature will definitely harm them.

Actually, this time of the year is a bit harsh for hunters too, but keep in mind that deer need to eat. Therefore, if you find their food source, you will most likely find them and catch at least one easily.

Also, winter is a time when days are shorter and nights are longer, that is why deer are less active. But, you just need to adjust to the duration of the day and simply choose a time of the day that you find suitable for deer hunting. As we already said, morning hours are the best for deer hunting.

4. Off-season months

As we all know, there are seasons for deer hunting, and they were set for a reason. Simply speaking, at some time of the year deer are not active and it is quite hard to find them, especially after the winter when they go deep in the woods and barely make any movements.

So, if you plan on going offseason to hunt deer, keep in mind that every movement that we already said about deer is now much lower. They are basically very hard to find in some parts of the year.

Final Thought

In the light of everything we said above, it is quite normal to conclude that deer hunting really depends on so many things. If you want to have a successful deer hunt, you must put so many things in the equation. We said everything about deer movements and time when you are most likely to find deer to hunt.

Also, keep in mind that deer are not that hard to find if you have all the needed things with you. If you go out in the morning, your success will most likely be guaranteed, especially if you go when the deer hunt season starts.  All in all, the best time of day to hunt deer definitely depends on so many factors.