Deer hunters are constantly trying to figure out what makes deer tick. Knowing what influences whitetails, and encourages them to move, is great information to have. That said, while experts disagree on the level of impact the following seven things have on deer movement, it seems there is enough influence to give these at least some credibility. So keep any eye out for these factors when planning your next outing.

Dawn and Dusk

If you look at the research, it shows that whitetails move most at dawn and dusk. They’re crepuscular, after all. There’s no changing that.

The data suggests that’ll always be true regardless of outside factors. That includes the time of year, hunting pressure, etc. As commonly noted, midday hunts can be very effective, but your best odds of killing a deer are still in that first and last hour of light.

Large Temperature Swings

Big temperature drops (or increases) are key. What’s a significant temperature change? In my opinion, it’s any temperature swing (up or down) of 15 to 20 degrees (or more) within a 24-hour period. That said, my favorite scenario is when temperatures are well below the annual average.

Weather Fronts

Weather fronts seem to really get deer up and moving. They sense the incoming weather and tend to feed heavily just prior to its arrival, and if it lingers, just after its departure, too. As previously mentioned, big temperature drops typically accompany the backend of fronts.

Weather Events

Precipitation. Specifically, rain. This doesn’t have to be a large front. Smaller ones encourage deer to move, too – especially if these occur during the first and last few hours of the day.

When the Wind Is Right

Mature bucks almost always use the wind to their advantage. That includes when they bed, feed and go to water. That’s why they’re more likely to move in a given direction during daylight if the wind is in their favor while doing so. That’s where just-off winds come into play. Hunt those times when deer think the wind is in their favor, but it’s just good enough that you’re able to get a shot off without the deer smelling you.

An Optimal Barometric Pressure

Most hunters like a pressure at or above 30. That said, some don’t think barometric pressure effects deer movement. Others do. I’ve seen both sides. Make your own conclusions.

Desirable Moon Positions

Don’t confuse this with moon phase. There’s no research that suggests deer move more or less on a full moon, or any phase for that matter. However, there is some research that supports the theory that deer get up and feed more when the moon is directly overhead and underfoot.

All in all, movement triggers aside, the best time to go deer hunting is whenever you can. If you want to hunt, and have the time to do so, just get out there. Have fun, enjoy the outdoors and fill the freezer. That’s what it’s about.

– Josh Honeycutt is a Barren County native and an avid outdoorsman, but hunts all over North America. He’s published media content in more than 80 hunting magazines, websites and newspapers. He also runs a content marketing agency called Honeycutt Creative LLC. Follow him on Instagram @josh__honeycutt, and view his hunts on Midwest Whitetail and Chasing November.

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