When Do They Move?

That’s what we always want to know? When are they going to be moving so I can be in the woods, or should I sit it out to watch the Alabama – Auburn football Game? Everyone has their observations and what we think the best times are for seeing deer on the move. So let’s take a look at how my, or your observations match up with the reality of how they move  pertaining to this article “Ten Myths about White Tail Deer Movement”

The Weather Conditions

Barometric pressure: I have seen statistical data referenced articles that suggest more movement at a high barometric pressure reading but who really knows. I used to think it was a rising air pressure – a crisp clear day was the best – until on one cloudy muggy October day I saw them moving/feeding all day. Even at 1:00 that day when they aren’t supposed to be out. Then at 4:00 pm an hour before dark was the one I missed stepped out of the woods.

Some GPS collared deer studies have that weather factors have minimal correlation with deer movement. On the other side of the coin, you can look at some data that suggest that Trophy bucks move at a time of moderate temp, moderate wind and high pressure. 


Another theme I have heard is they don’t move in the midday heat or when it’s raining. But I have seen them move when there not supposed to be moving, like at 11:00 on a 90-degree day, or in the pouring down rain. 

Wind – I have always believed that they don’t move in above-average wind speed. One of my good friends shot a nice buck on the edge of a cornfield when the wind was blowing his ground blind away. The wind was over 17 miles an hour which is considerably higher than normal in my area of the woods. 

Moon phase. I think this one is B.S. It is good for someone selling their moon phase table product. I have checked a lot of sources and I don’t see anything that convinces me that a “hunters moon” has any impact on the patterns of deer movement. 

Time of day – There are some general patterns to note here. My observations and probably yours if you have been hunting a few years- other dawn and dusk are they seem to travel to feeding areas around 8:30 – 9:00 and then to the feeding area again around 4 to 4:30. After being in the stand for 3 hours, I’m always tempted to get out because of other commitments I have, but I know to sit tight if I can till at least 9:00 For the mature bucks (if that is what your after), first daylight and right at the very last shooting light is the optimal time . 

Generally referred to as pre rut, Seeking, chasing, tending, – which is the best phase? If I could choose I would rather go in before the chasing time. It’s hard to shoot with the bow when I can’t get him to stop running. Based you the area you live in, the calendar is a pretty accurate predictor. I have also noticed that it even goes by the age of the buck. There is some overlap but

Phases of the Rut

In my area, Nov 1st to the 7th or 8th seems to be the time when the younger bucks are seeking/chasing and 9th to the 19th are when the larger more mature bucks are out on the hunt for the does. 

My final thoughts – I do think there is some sort of reason that they all move at the same time. If I am in one area of the county I can text one of my hunting friends in the woods and they seem to see them at the same time. Its almost as if some sort of memo is sent out to move at that time.

The bottom line is – If you’re after the trophy wall mount and there is only one time you can go, it would be first light or dusk in the month of October or  November. If you’re like me and you’re not in the financial position where you can hunt all the time or hunt for a living, the best time to hunt is when you can. Or maybe when the weather is the best and you enjoy it the most. In the long run, That’s what it’s all about. The Time in the woods when nature comes alive. Bagging a deer is just icing on the cake. Although it does help justify all the money I spend.

Here is a 11/14/19  update. – I have always heard that whenever a cold front moves through  the next morning  after the front moves through with a drastic drop in temperature  is when the  deer are up and moving. On Thursday the Nov. 7th in the morning it was 55 degrees and raining. By the next morning it was 20 degrees and clear.  I set up at a spot where they are always moving from a bedding area with good wind direction.   And what did I see? Nothing at all.  I guess that’s why they call it hunting.

Rick Smith

Rick Smith

As young as I can remember I loved being in the outdoors. My dad would take me for walks in the woods and fishing at my grand-dads pond in L.A. (Lower Alabama). I grew up in Birmingham Al. in a place where the woods weren't far from my house. It is my hope that I could make a living doing what I love. -- Being in the outdoors.

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