“Think I’m going to watch football, Texas is playing one of the old Southwest Conference teams, and I do not want to miss the game. Beside no self-respecting mature whitetail buck would be caught out in this heat.” I nodded an affirmative as if to agree. Frankly I hoped he and the others who were in camp would think likewise!
The temperature hovered near a “balmy” 95 degrees. Wind gusts blew upwards of twenty-five miles per hour, out of due south. The Hunter’s Moon, the first full moon of November, had risen as the sun went down and set as the sun rose in the morning. The afternoon before I had arrived in camp just in time to hunt for an hour, before dark. I had not seen even a single doe. My following early morning hunt had not been any more exciting.
I returned to camp to find the three hunters eating a full breakfast at 9:30 am. All were griping and complaining about not seeing deer, the heat, and the wind. “Y’all going to stay in today noon and watch your favorite college football teams play? We’ve got three different televisions in camp, so that should just about cover any games y’all might want to watch.” I reminded.
“Definitely! The deer will probably not move until well after dark…again! Anybody see my latest issue of DSC’s Game Trails?” the tallest of the bunch queried. I nodded in agreement and pointed at the publication laying on the dinner table.
I ate quickly then put a couple of bottles of water in my pack. I wanted to be back in the thorn bush and cactus by no later than 10:00 am.
I, again, asked where everyone would be during the mid-day. My three camp mates reiterated they saw no reason to hunt until very late afternoon, possibly only the last hour of daylight. I smiled, “So no one is hunting until about four or later?”
“All yours Sport!” came the unified reply. I was near giddy, knowing I could hunt anywhere on the ranch until late afternoon.
Walking out of the door I grabbed my .300 Win Mag Ruger FTW Hunter, a handful of Hornady’s 200-grain ELD-X Precision Hunter, and my Rattling Forks. I planned on walking from camp, making a huge circle checking one Tecomate Seeds planted food plot after another and rattling between the feeding areas.
I love hunting during the mid-day especially when other hunters are back in camp watching football, or licking their wounds inflicted by thorns, spines and bruised pride!
My love of hunting mid-day stems from several years ago when I first started hunting Texas’ famed Brush Country. I had been invited by a prominent rancher to come hunt his ranch.
I arrived at ranch headquarters well before the slightest hint of daylight, after a full moon had been shining all night long. I walked into the house, said my “Hellos”, grabbed a blue enameled coffee cup, poured some cowboy coffee and then sat down to visit. Time passed, and I grew anxious. But rather than go hunting, the ranch owner and I sent several hunters afield, then kept drinking coffee and telling stories until almost 10 am. I could hardly believe we had “wasted” the morning’s hunt. “We’d best start leaving,” said the ranch owner. As we walked out the door the other hunters returned, complaining about not having seen a single deer.
We had hardly left his compound before we saw bucks. Some were chasing does. Some were roaming, looking for does. From 10 until 3 in the afternoon, we saw 32 different bucks, including several BIG, mature “bruisers”. I shot one of them just before high noon, a massive, long-tine, 7-year old, 20-inch wide ten point. At 3 o’clock all deer movement ceased.
We hung my buck in the barn and headed to camp. When asked if we had seen anything, the rancher said as he winked in my direction, “Nope, guess they’re not really moving today!”
Over the years regardless of what I have read or what other investigators’ research shows, in my personal experience, big bucks move during the middle part of the day, particularly during times of full or near full moon when the moon shines all night long. They also move during mid-day when there is essentially no moon at night! I have also seen big bucks moving during mid-day during other moon phases, although nearly not as many during full or new moon.
Looking back, I have taken some of my best whitetail bucks between the hours of 10:00 am and 3:00 pm.
Hunting whitetails with Lonesome Boar Adventures (Ryan Duncan 361-522-8068) filming a hunt for our “DSC’s Trailing the Hunter’s Moon” which airs year around on Pursuit Channel we started hunting at legal shooting light during full moon. We did not start seeing deer until a few minutes before 10. That is when Ryan, using my Rattling Forks, rattled in the first buck of the morning, a very nice though young 8-point. Ryan actually rattled in that same buck three different times.
When the buck finally left, we moved a half mile and Ryan again started rattling. Almost immediately a big-necked, mature buck with antlers spreading well beyond his ears walked in from my left. He stood watching my cameraman Dustin Blankenship and me, then started circling to get out scent. I whispered to Dustin when he gave me a good shot, I would take him. I could see he had a typical 8-point frame with at least two kickers on one back tine and a spread beyond 20-inches. The buck disappeared behind a patch of cedars. I felt assured he would catch our scent.
When the buck re-appeared, he was running, quartering away from us. I started grunting loudly. The buck stopped. When he did I shot him with my Ruger FTW Hunter .300 Win Mag, topped with a Trijicon scope and shooting the highly accurate and devastating terminal performance Hornady Precision Hunter, 200-grain ELD-X bullet. I saw the bullet hit him squarely in the on-side shoulder. He ran to his left. I immediately bolted in a fresh round as I had been taught by the FTW Ranch’s SAAM Hunter Training Course. As the buck started going under a 4-strand barbed wire fence, I shot him a second time and put him down.
By the time we finished what we needed to do for the show, it was nearly straight up noon. Another extremely good whitetail taken during mid-day!
If you’re not already hunting mid-day, just maybe, if you’re interested in taking mature bucks, you should start doing so! Off-season is a good time to start “planning for success” for the soon to be here hunting season!