Michigan-Sportsman.com banner

1 - 20 of 32 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,170 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've been logging my deer sightings for four seasons now and recently took a closer look to see if I could glean anything from my data. This chart is actual stand sightings of 2+ year old bucks only. I calculated frequency as number of bucks/number of hunts (AM and PM hunts on same day equal two "hunts"). My analysis focuses on early archery season only. I realize the credibility of my data is questionable due to low numbers, but I also looked at all my trail cam photos of daylight bucks and it tells the same story...50% of all daylight buck pics occurred from November 1-7.

I'd be curious to hear your comments:

upload_2021-1-15_13-10-4.png
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,328 Posts
Sounds about right to me on sightings overall, though AM vs PM numbers will also depend on just where you’re set up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,622 Posts
I could probably come up with a similar graph Osceola (if I were as proficient as you in developing graphs :)). I have never really tracked morning vs afternoon sightings but we do record the time of day for the deer we tag so I would be able to track that. It seems like I took a look at that a while back for one of these threads and I think it came out to about 45% morning, 10% mid-day, and 45% afternoon.

I recently started a photo album entitled "Daytime Bucks" in order to have a file for the bucks which are actually killable vs all of the bucks we see at night. I made the same observation as you regarding daytime sightings in Oct and Nov. One thing that surprises me in your graph is the apparent lower number of sightings during the last week of October. I will have to take a look at my Daytime Bucks file to see if our sightings are similar, but I am not sure that they will be.

One thing there isn't any question about - you definitely want to be in the woods every morning during the first week of November.

Great graph - nice job!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,170 Posts
Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
I could probably come up with a similar graph Osceola (if I were as proficient as you in developing graphs :)). I have never really tracked morning vs afternoon sightings but we do record the time of day for the deer we tag so I would be able to track that. It seems like I took a look at that a while back for one of these threads and I think it came out to about 45% morning, 10% mid-day, and 45% afternoon.

I recently started a photo album entitled "Daytime Bucks" in order to have a file for the bucks which are actually killable vs all of the bucks we see at night. I made the same observation as you regarding daytime sightings in Oct and Nov. One thing that surprises me in your graph is the apparent lower number of sightings during the last week of October. I will have to take a look at my Daytime Bucks file to see if our sightings are similar, but I am not sure that they will be.

One thing there isn't any question about - you definitely want to be in the woods every morning during the first week of November.

Great graph - nice job!
There were four things that surprised me:
1. The low frequency in late October like you mentioned, Wild Thing. I can only think of a couple explanations for this; I have a neighbor who takes the third week in October off of work each year and hunts the whole week. Could his hunting pressure be affecting my property negatively? The other possibility is a change in food source on surrounding properties that I'm not aware of.
2. The high AM frequency Nov 1-7 compared to the other periods. For some reason, I have always thought the second week in November was better than the first week, but that hasn't been the case for me. I will be taking a week of PTO the first week of November for the rest of my working life. :)
3. The low PM frequency Nov 1-7. This may just be statistical noise, or like Stubee mentioned, have something to do with stand selection.
4. Nov 8-14 wasn't any better than the first three weeks in October. I never would have guessed that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,622 Posts
This year probably wasn't the best year to look at as it was the year of the fewest deer sightings we have ever had here in 26 years. Nonetheless, I took a look at the numbers of trail cam photos of 2 1/2+ bucks. Not sure if I got all of them or not but I am sure this was most of them.

The best period of course was the month of September when we had 39 daytime buck sightings. Many of these, of course, had 2 or more bucks in them because they were still in bachelor groups but I only counted those photos as one buck sighting.

October

1st Week - 7
2nd Week - 5
3rd Week - 12
4th Week - 8

November

1st Week - Only 2?
2nd Week - 9

These numbers - particularly the last week in October and the first week in November surprise me as generally these are very good weeks of hunting. Like I said though - this year was just a bad year in terms of deer numbers for us.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,687 Posts
Here is the combination of what I saw and what the trail cams recorded. There were also a few other adult bucks that were on camera just minutes after legal hours ended -- I didn't count them. The raw counts are misleading because certainly there are some individuals that I saw and were on camera (maybe even over multiple days, leading to multiple counts of the same deer). I don't record the presumed ages of bucks I see, so that is a limitation. Plus, this year the antler growth seemed really poor, so it's possible that there were some 2YOs that I considered "little bucks" just because they weren't all that impressive.

upload_2021-1-15_20-8-1.png


Interesting results that differ quite a bit from the others shared previously. The 2020 season started out with phenomenal movement, for whatever reason -- lack of pressure, weather, moon, crop rotation, coincidence -- I don't know, there were just lots of deer, young and old, moving around. It's pretty common for us to see deer all summer on camera and then have them disappear in October, only to return during the rut. So I counted it a victory that we saw so many adult bucks on-property during the first few hunts of the season. Would like to tie it to some of the habitat work we've done, but that might just be wishful thinking.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,170 Posts
Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Nice work, Lab. Because you used total counts instead of percentages, your Oct 1-24 is a bit misleading because it covers a much longer time period...over three times longer than the other periods. If you corrected for that, it might show any single week in October having less buck activity than either week in November.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,687 Posts
Nice work, Lab. Because you used total counts instead of percentages, your Oct 1-24 is a bit misleading because it covers a much longer time period...over three times longer than the other periods. If you corrected for that, it might show any single week in October having less buck activity than either week in November.
Good point. This spreads it out a bit more. Like stickman said, lots of variables. For instance, during one weekend within the "Oct 17-24" window, I hunted state land not the Three Echo farm.

upload_2021-1-16_7-9-44.png
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,170 Posts
Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Lots of variables. One comment on stand selection. Hunted my 40 one night. Hunting partner saw 30 deer I saw zero. Hunting a little over 100 yards apart.
For whatever it's worth, my data is over four seasons with multiple winds, multiple stands, weather conditions, etc. Not saying it's statistically fully credible, but it's more than just random stand selection chance. Also, my trail cams are a second independent source in different locations than my stands and confirm the same results as my stand sightings.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,170 Posts
Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
For example, I have 30 daylight trail cam picks of 2+ year old bucks. 7 in October and 23 in November. Of the 23 in November, 16 occurred between November 1-7. This lines up amazingly well with my stand observations. I'm completely convinced that the first week in November is THE week to be in the stand, at least on my property. Doesn't mean I'm going to stop hunting the other periods, of course.

Prior to collecting and looking at this data, I would have guessed that November 8-14 was the better buck hunting period.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,218 Posts
For example, I have 30 daylight trail cam picks of 2+ year old bucks. 7 in October and 23 in November. Of the 23 in November, 16 occurred between November 1-7. This lines up amazingly well with my stand observations. I'm completely convinced that the first week in November is THE week to be in the stand, at least on my property. Doesn't mean I'm going to stop hunting the other periods, of course.

Prior to collecting and looking at this data, I would have guessed that November 8-14 was the better buck hunting period.
Going back and just from memory. Last week of Oct and first week of Nov have been the time I have gotten my bucks last 10 years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26,512 Posts
Going back and just from memory. Last week of Oct and first week of Nov have been the time I have gotten my bucks last 10 years.
30 years ago I started taking the last week of October and the first week of November off for hunting. Trail cams and observation have just reinforced that is the time I should be on stand.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,170 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
30 years ago I started taking the last week of October and the first week of November off for hunting. Trail cams and observation have just reinforced that is the time I should be on stand.
I kind of feel like an idiot. It took me about 40 years of hunting to figure this out, lol. I've always hunted hardest the week leading up to the firearms opener.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,622 Posts
30 years ago I started taking the last week of October and the first week of November off for hunting. Trail cams and observation have just reinforced that is the time I should be on stand.
We used to always plan our archery hunting vacation between Nov 3 - Nov 14 and always seemed to do well. Just never tried to break it down by week.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Osceola

·
Registered
Joined
·
26,512 Posts
I kind of feel like an idiot. It took me about 40 years of hunting to figure this out, lol. I've always hunted hardest the week leading up to the firearms opener.
My dad and I targeted those dates based on our observations. He lived in mid eastern New York and we wanted the best odds dates.
There are spots that can be productive then but I've never seemed to hunt them and there have been years of one good buck the week before gun but those are definitely exceptions.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Osceola

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,367 Posts
I kind of feel like an idiot. It took me about 40 years of hunting to figure this out, lol. I've always hunted hardest the week leading up to the firearms opener.
The week leading to up to firearms has been my absolute best for seeing the big fellas in daylight.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
830 Posts
First week of November has been my go to week for about 15 years now. In the second week I usually start to see less cruising and some lock down on the properties that I hunt. I also see more older bucks in the morning to mid day on those properties. We've killed a lot of bucks November 3,4,and 5. I don't have any charts or graphs though. I do have old journals to go back to. That is also the week that we usually plan out of state trips when we go.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,170 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Coincidentally, I was listening to a podcast with Don Higgins recently and he said he loves early November, but doesn't like mid-November. His explanation; the bucks start locking down with does and aren't as hunt-able until about Thanksgiving when they go out searching for hot does again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,367 Posts
Coincidentally, I was listening to a podcast with Don Higgins recently and he said he loves early November, but doesn't like mid-November. His explanation; the bucks start locking down with does and aren't as hunt-able until about Thanksgiving when they go out searching for hot does again.
I'm not a fan of mid November in MI either. Maybe it's lock down, but I always figured it's gun pressure. Sure seems like a switch is flipped by the 16th or so. Could be some of both. My property seems to be good during lock down.
I've also heard Higgins say that his hunting changed greatly for the better when he quit hunting mornings in October. Something that I whole heartedly agree with though I know many do not. A lot of these factors can be very property specific IMO.
 
1 - 20 of 32 Posts
Top