It was a familiar rock sat on, I had been here before. I know the farm like the back of my hand. The spot is near a travel corridor through one corner of the property and several deer have fallen to both bow and gun through the years. So, what’s so special about this hunt you ask? On this day, my 2013 mature Tennessee 9 point fell on November 30th at 1:30 pm.
It’s what I like to call “Mid-Day Magic.” I have no idea how many hours I have spent in the deer stand throughout my lifetime of chasing whitetail deer. But, what I can tell you is this time comes daily and if you’re a serious trophy whitetail hunter, you need to be there. It’s that magical time between 10 am and 2 pm. It’s a fact friends!
After many years of shooting any deer I just wanted to take home regardless of sex or size, in 2004 I made the decision to only harvest mature bucks. It happened one year during our annual Tennessee Muzzeloader hunt. At the time, we were only allowed to harvest one buck during the early November hunt, and I had connected and filled my tag a few days earlier with a small seven point buck. I was back in the stand in search of a fat doe for the freezer. I hadn’t seen a deer today, but I knew this spot was always productive so I sat beyond the norm. It was around 11:15 am when suddenly a doe came charging up the trail towards me, stopped and looked back. My heart began to pound as experience had taught me, something was following her. It was then he appeared. A wide, chocolate racked 10 pointer came trotting up behind the doe. My heart sank as I watched him follow her out of sight. That small 7 point had cost me the big one, and I was dejected.
I have always sat the stand later than most hunters which is typically around 9 or 10 am. Many hunters leave their stands for a meal and many times a nap during the mid-day but if I’m comfortable, I will often sit much later or even all day. Over the years I have seen many deer move during the mid-day. After watching the big 10 walk away that day I knew I had to change my hunting style. I had to learn to sit longer and wait.
Several years have passed and things are different now. I pack a lunch and carry my restroom with me to the tree. Since 2004 several mature bucks have fallen since I made the decision to wait for the big ones. I’m no biologist, but I can only speculate that the mature bucks have learned that hunters leave the woods during the mid-day. Experience has taught me that I have to be in the woods at this time, regardless of how I feel. I choose stand sites along travel routes I know bucks to use. I stand for a while, and I sit for a while. Alternating sitting and standing increases my time in the woods no doubt. It allows me to tough it out when many times others just call it a hunt and leave. I also dress for the occasion. We all know the cold can drive us from woods to the truck or other warm place. So dress warm if the weather calls for it.
I reserve the mid-day tactic mainly for November when more bucks are on their feet checking scrapes, moving through a travel corridor noted by a rub line, or in search of a doe nearing estrus. This is the most productive time of the year to see mature bucks on their feet as we all know. Most of us have met the hunter clad in camo at the local checking station or market around 10 am who said, “We didn’t see a single deer this morning!” I can’t help but think why aren’t you hunting now?
All but one of the mature deer I have taken since 2004 was killed between 10 am and 2 pm. I attribute my success to two things. I choose to pass the small bucks and I hunt the mid-day. The proof can be seen hanging from the walls as I walk through my home that hunting the mid-day is not an option for me, and it shouldn’t be for you either. If you aren’t in your stand in between 10 am and 2 pm during your November hunts, you’re probably never going to know about this thing I call “Mid-Day Magic!” Try it, I promise you’re going to love it!