It seems the older they get, the fewer of these errors they make. After 4, 5 or even 6 hunting seasons, a mature whitetail buck has learned to stay put until the cover of darkness conceals his movements. So, if making an appearance in broad daylight is such a rare occurrence, what causes them to slip up on occasion and how can we predict when it’s going to happen?
Outside of breeding season, it’s extremely difficult to catch a mature buck with his guard down. When monster bucks are on a strict feeding pattern, there’s not much reason or need to move before dark. There are a few natural factors that can give a cagey old buck a little nudge to move a bit earlier than normal, giving us the opportunity we are looking for. The factors I’m referring to are the wind, the weather and the moon!
Every deer learns at a very early age to trust his nose. They literally live and die by their sense of smell. What could possibly make a big buck feel safer than having the wind in his favor? If you want him to feel comfortable enough to move during daylight, give him the wind! Don’t make the mistake of only hunting winds that are good for you, focus on hunting the winds that are good for him!
The weather can have a significant impact on daily activity also, suppressing or amplifying it, depending on the conditions. Clear days with blue skies and high pressure are perfect for increased activity, as well as a sudden drop in temperature after a spell of warm weather. Personally, I love hunting after an afternoon shower. Once the rain blows through and the sun comes back out in the evening, it seems like deer come out of the woodwork!
I’ve followed the moon and its influence on whitetails for over 20 years now, it does make a difference. There are only a handful of days each month when the Red Moon peaks at primetime in the evening, when deer normally want to move anyway. These are the best days each month to catch a big buck moving just before dark! It’s just another natural influencer to push deer to feed a little earlier than normal.
Any of these factors can be a trigger, making a big buck move during daylight. The point I want to stress is this. It’s the days when 2 or 3 of these factors happen simultaneously, that’s when things get bloody! Stack the deck in your favor. There’s normally a 4-6 day window of opportunity during the Red Moon. Wait for a wind that’s good for your target buck and a weather pattern to increase activity on one of these Red Moon evenings and you could be shocked at the outcome!