When are most big bucks killed?

What time of day have you killed most of your biggest bucks?


  • Total voters
    128

Founder

Founder Since 1999
That first 30 minutes of daylight is the most valuable time. A hunter needs to be where they need to be before daylight.
 

Cheater

Active Member
I always have more anticipation for early morning hunting, but my best success on big bucks has actually been the last 30 minutes of daylight.
 

hhunter23

Active Member
most of the bucks ive shot have been late morning. right around that 10:00 hour. it seems everyone gives up for the day by then and thats when i start seeing bucks move from their morning bed to another bed. my favorite time.
 

nripepi

Very Active Member
I have pulled the trigger on 8 different bucks and 7 were in the first 2 hours of light. Maybe I don't hunt in the afternoons or during the day though :)
 
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Muley

Active Member
I hunt from daylight to about 1pm. I want to give myself enough time to get the meat out in daylight. Too old to haul it out in the dark.
I've gotten nice bucks all during my hunting hours. I'm a still hunter and sneaking into them works all day.
 

yoteduster

Active Member
I hunt general season rifle and our general season units out here are very high pressured so most of the big mature bucks usually go completely nocturnal after they rub their velvet off so the ones that survive the early archery hunters can be really difficult to hunt so when and if I find a good mature buck it's best to find his bedding area and hunt him at sun up coming in or at sundown going out that is if your in to hunting big bucks
 

MuleyHNTR

Member
I’ve always had better luck at last light in the areas I hunt. Which makes for a crappy cleaning and pack out!
 

DeerHunter53

Very Active Member
I think it has a lot to do with the moon phase as when it is full they are only out a little while in the morning and come out early in the afternoon. But for sure I think the morning is better overall
 

Muley

Active Member
I think this really depends on the time of year that you’re hunting.
That's true. I hunt the muzzleloader season which is mid Sept. The only pressure the deer have had are from bow hunters. They're quiet and sneaky and don't pressure the deer too much. By the time rifle seasons start the bucks are spooked.
 
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mmwb

Very Active Member
When people are hunting them. My four biggest were at 8 am, 10:30 am, 12:30 pm, and right at last shooting light in the evening (don't remember the time).
 
For me personally, I have taken most of my deer midday. Still hunting them in bedding areas away from roads.

For my daughter, who has 2 of the 3 biggest deer killed in my family (including the biggest), hers have been within the first 2 hours. But we have passed, or missed opportunities, from legal light to legal light. I hate packing out in the dark, but it seems to happen often enough.
 

SureShot

Active Member
My 4 biggest bucks were killed:
- about an hour after daylight
- about an hour before dark
- mid-morning
- about an hour before dark
 

lif

Member
My better bucks are all between 8-10am or last hour of light. I feel like last hour of daylight they are the most vulnerable because they are coming out of hiding rather than heading to hiding like they are at first light. I am only speaking from a rifle hunter in October point of view. But this all can change with snow or hunting early bow or late rut.
 

BLooDTRaCKeR

Very Active Member
Not sure on deer.

Most of mine were spotted morning, put to bed and stalked/killed afternoon.

For elk....killed almost all my elk right at dark!

Dang nocturnal creatures!

Turned me into a nocturnal meat packer!
 
Of my 6 biggest deer, I killed 2 at first light, 2 between 10am and noon, and 2 just before dark. Probably not enough data here to mean anything. Guess I'd better kill some more big bucks to increase my sample size. I've got two tags with "big" potential this year.

As far as small bucks, I've killed the vast majority at first light.-----SS
 

Chesterwyo

Active Member
I was watching the clock on my phone for it to be officially legal shooting light on the best buck I ever killed. He was dead about ten seconds after being legal. I don’t typically hunt evenings.
 

HuckleberryHound

Active Member
I think it has a lot to do with the moon phase as when it is full they are only out a little while in the morning and come out early in the afternoon. But for sure I think the morning is better overall
There have been numerous studies on deer movements utilizing tracking collar data and they all show that moon phase is irrelevant.
 
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JakeH

Very Active Member
My 4 biggest bucks 3 of which are 190 class bucks all died about an hour into the morning. Plus was with a cousin that killed another 190 class buck about an hour into the morning.

All died the last week of october.
 

Cowkiller

Member
That’s an incredible buck. Nice shot too.
Thanks Chester. That may be my favorite buck hunt ever. Got him above 11,000' on the next to last day of the season, during the very last minutes of light several miles from the road. Very satisfying to have it all pay off like that. Here's another pic of the same buck. 218 and change gross.

I've always felt that practically everybody tries to hunt first light but almost nobody is still out there hunting hard late in the evening when you can only see a short distance and you need binos even to do that. The bucks know this and act accordingly. I shot that buck at close range while sneaking along the edge of the timber.

2001 Buck.jpg
 

nebo

Active Member
I bow hunt only and in my success through the years there really isn't one part of the day that has been better then the other. I have arrowed them mid morning, mid afternoon and evenings.
 

BrianID

Very Active Member
I think this is really two separate questions. The best time to see a big buck is without a doubt the first 30 minutes of light and the last 30 minutes of light. However, for me the most likely time to kill a big buck has been mid day.

My 4 biggest were killed between noon and 2 pm. My 5th biggest was killed around 10am. My 6th biggest was killed around noon. I've killed several other bucks in the middle of the day. I've also killed bucks right at first light, late morning and the last few minutes of legal shooting light. To increase my odds, I'll hunt from sunup to sun down every day I can. Sometimes I'll take and afternoon off if the weather isn't favorable or if I really need a rest but you will never kill a big buck if you aren't out hunting.
 

DoubleDropMuley

Active Member
Yup I don’t think one time is any better than another, kill’m when ya find them. My biggest bucks have been between 8am and 1 pm. I think morning and evening seems better cause that’s when people are out the most. I know as a kid we always came in for lunch then back out towards evening but these days I’m glassing in the heat of the day even if I’m back at camp for lunch, found bucks from a chair with some food and soda going down but then it’s halted and stock begins!!
 

HalfAce

Very Active Member
Killed 1 big one in that first hour of light timeframe. Killed 2 big ones in that 1-2pm period, missed the largest one I’ve ever seen in this timeframe. Killed 2 big ones in the last hour of the light, missed one big one in this time frame as well.

All bucks were killed in somewhat different styles though. With the middle part of the day requiring the most work.

Morning buck was spot and stalk. Middle day bucks, one was ambush, the other was killed on a still hunt, the one I missed was just pushing brush pockets on the hike back to the truck. End of day one was ambush after spotting him earlier in the day, the other was taken on a hurried spot and stalk/ambush at last light. Missed one on spot and stalk.
 

ICMDEER

Very Active Member
We always hunt all day. I agree with most answers here. We often spot big bucks right at daylight, but it takes time to get to them. For archery, I always bed the buck, wait till he's settled - and that often means him moving to another bed. then mid to late morning, after the wind picks up and becomes steady, we have the best success.

For rifle, it is more fun in the middle of the day. Spotting a big buck - or part of a big buck in a bed, then slipping in and shooting him in his bed is really cool. I'd guess about 75-80% of the bucks I've been in on have been killed from daylight till 10:30 or so. Then another 10% right around noon when they get up to pee and look for better shade. Then the last 10% right before dark. Afternoons are slow, but you won't get one if you are not out hunting.
 

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