Do deer really go nocturnal?

Discussion in 'Whitetail Deer Management' started by srconnell22, Oct 6, 2009.

  1. Or do they continue the same pattern, but daylight ends sooner?

    For Example: If a buck is coming to a certain field at 8:30pm every day...and he continues to do so throughout the deer season, he has never changed his pattern, but has moved from being "visible in daylight, to nocturnal."

    Same can be said for typical movement as the season progresses and daylight gets shorter.


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  2. I say yea they really change to being nocturnal, they can't tell time, their whole world revolves around the sun coming up and going down. When they feel pressure they know not to move during daylight hours or at least move very little and in a very small area. If this was the case that they just moved on time of day, you wouldn't see them come the end of October, but because they testosterone levels are going up they simply can't just let on their bellies, they feel the need to get up and check for does and other bucks in the area. There are times in the summer when u can see them coming out a 7:00, it is still plenty light at that time now, but the mature ones still aren't going to even move then because it is way before dark when they feel secure when the pressure hits.

  3. I think they become nocturnal with respect to certain areas. I see radical changes between November 14th and 16th. Movements of doe groups change by as much as two hours. Bucks go from regularly being seen in daylight to rarely being seen. They simply don't want to go out into open areas until it is nearly dark. That is not a gradual change it is a two day change!

    I currently see does feeding in my food plots at all hours of the day. That will not usually be the case after gun season starts.

    Are the deer themselves totally nocturnal? I doubt it. They surely still get up and move in the day time but they are not seen as readily because they stay under cover, closer to home. They don't traipse out into open fields in daylight (except for the button bucks).
  4. I tend to see them moving around the farms more when the moon is over head or under foot. So the times are changing daily. They seem to react to pressure and stay hidden longer the more pressure in the neighboring property. If its wet out I never see them around the water holes. If its been dry I hunt near the water. They change what they are eating by whats the highest nutritional value at that time. So through the fall and late summer it is changing. Later in the year its easy to know what and where they will be trying to eat. I think the bigger bucks know where the hunters stands are and stay away from them. If someone smokes in a stand of mine, I dont see a big buck there anymore.

    Just things I notice after all these years of being on the same farms daily. :D
  5. There are three nice bucks (over 2.5yrs) split up on 6 differant properties my wife and I hunt. Ive got several pics of each of them during daylight hours until EAS.

    Now Im still getting pics of all three bucks. But now not until two hours after dark.

    I dont expect to see or have any pics of any of these bucks during daylight again until after Oct 30th ish... Its the same way every year...

    I believe Big bucks (3.5 and older) go nocturnal as soon as hunters enter the woods.

    If hunting trophy deer in Michigan my rule is. Hunt the first 3-5 days of season then stay out of a big deers home range until the rut starts.
  6. Biologically speaking, deer are crepuscular; feeding mainly from before dawn until several hours after, and again from late afternoon until dusk.;)
  7. you are so right.
  8. bucksnbows

    bucksnbows Banned

    Yes I believe this is right on the money in most Michigan properties.
    I saw one shooter buck so far this year and he passed by my stand at 7:10 a.m. on Oct. 1. I am quite certain that he probably bedded down withing 50 yards of my stand too.
    With all the hunting pressure Michigan's deer receive those bucks that have one hunting season behind them have learned real quick that human intrusion means stay hidden until dark.
  9. this happens in my area with the early season and the youth hunt now,, trail camera shows the changes,,
  10. On my property in Newaygo county we see more bucks during daylight hours this time of year than prior to Oct. 1st. This time of year we always have several new bucks show up.

    *As a side note we do hunt during the EAS and youth hunt.
    #10 Gwiki, Oct 15, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 30, 2015
  11. Nope the deer on't go completly nocturnal, They just wise up and learn that hunters are very perdictable. Mid Day in large is the best time to take a deer and a trophy buck. But many of hunters have went in for a bite to eat and warm up.
    going threw my records my best time for hunting is from 9am to noon and the next big peak is from 2pm till 4pm. If these hours ring a bell with you I must give you my thanks.
    Love gun season for mid day action is great.
  12. When the EAS and Youth Hunts started since then my hunting has changed a lot we would see many deer throughout the year including Bow and Firearms but seems now that they are shot at earlier they now quickly change to being nocturnal. When I bought my property we would scout starting Labor Day and see Bucks, Mature Does and Fawns, but the last 10 years, maybe longer it has all changed. About mid September is when it changes, I have trail cameras out and have many pictures during the day and a few at night but once mid Sept gets here that changes as others have commented on. It goes from 80% day 20% night to about 30% day 70% night and as hunting goes on and more get shot at or hit but not mortally they become more night time travelers.

    But if you ask the DNR these days they will tell you deer have always been nocturnal. You can not convince them to have the EAS or Youth Hunt till mid Oct and yet they think that it has no effect on bow season.

    When I got my property back in 1991 we would see many deer during daylight hours / hunting Oct on but that has changed seems that with EAS & Youth Hunt has affected this. We have fewer hunters hunting the area they seem to have moved because of the lack of deer being seen. The roads would have more vehicles along them especially the Federal Forest but as of late you only see a few and the camps as just about non existent like they were. Seems over time many have find another places to hunt if they do it all. Some have other priorities kids events that take up their time but it is close to half what there was.

    Hunting pressure really does not start again once EAS / Youth Hunt is over till Rifle but it is tough to know what other things are affecting their travel patterns. Maybe once the crops are down that might change it a little but again hard to put your finger on it. Some places have more and others have less affects but it seems to happen for some of us. And when you notice it it seems to make you wonder why...

    I am still waiting for what the DNR told me 12 years ago... I would be seeing more bucks and they would be bigger antlers on the ones I would be seeing but just the opposite has happened. Over the last 5 years I have only seen 1 Buck while out hunting and no mature does, just fawns and few and far between when they travel by. The buck was the last deer I have taken, the last of 7 years I have taken a deer, even though I got an Antlerlss Permit I have opted not to use it on fawns not worth it for me, even button bucks included psssed...

    So I would say that they go nocturnal early on these days another change we just have to deal with while hunting.

  13. I think they have miles and miles of sub-terrain tunnels. Yep they go underground!! Its that or PETA's been making contacts that you cant see deer with. That's been my observation over the last 25yrs or so.
  14. deer always move more at night, we all know this, its nothing new. if the activity slows in your area, try hunting during the day, between 10 and 3. deer dont sleep all day...they will bed for awhile, then move a short distance , then bed again....but they will move.
  15. This buck was shot during the Youth Hunt last year:


    And this one was shot during gun season by the same girl (in daylight) on the same property:


    Notice how much smaller the second one was? I think the "big" ones must have been driven nocturnal by all her hunting activity in the youth seasons:lol:.

    Oh, and her Mom shot one about the same size as the second one, on the same property, in gun season. And her Dad passed on the one the Mom later shot, as well as several others of this caliber.

    Oh, and between the three of them, they shot over 20 does on the same property.

    On second thought, maybe you should revise your theory. You may actually be hunting in an area that doesn't have many deer...or..perhaps there are other factors:confused:?

    I wonder if that QDM stuff really works:lol::lol::lol:?

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