A New Hampshire hunter can go crazy trying to understand the patterns of whitetail deer in the fall. To one hunter, deer seem to become almost completely nocturnal during the gun deer season, while another hunter may shoot the buck of a lifetime at noon. Nonetheless, here are some patterns I think will make your hunt more successful.
Deer Movement Times:
- Deer typically bed down a half hour after sunrise and remain in the area until a half hour before sunset.
- Deer will usually move around for a little bit in the late morning. Deer generally travel only a short distance to browse, urinate, or change beds. Hunting all day long can pay off.
- During the night in fall, deer are often feeding in fields. Hunters should try not to spoke the deer in these areas on the way to the hunting spot in the morning.
- Deer move when the temperatures are cool. They are putting on fat for the winter and warmer temperatures will keep them bedded down.
- High winds limit the deer’s best defense, its sense of smell, and is generally a slower time for deer movement. Little to no wind allows them to smell and hear threats from all directions.
- Storms usually force deer into thick cover, but before and after storms or weather fronts deer try to make up for the time spent in hiding. A changing barometric pressure usually leads to more deer movement.
Deer Travel Routes:
- Deer often travel along the (Edges) borders of forests, fields, or marshes.
- Natural funnels of vegetation or topography force the deer to travel through a small area and are an excellent location for hunting.
- Deer will switch between fields and forests to feed when acorns or other fruit are present.
- Large and old deer scrapes will be revisited and are a prime spot to hunt.
- In hilly country, elevation and slope can play a major influence on travel routes. Deer will travel at the same elevation along ridges and find the most gentle slope up a hill or ridge.