Mid-Day Hunting

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“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.” spoke on of my “Tea-sip” friends. “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 headed back to camp would think likewise!

The temperature hovered near a “balmy” 90 degrees. The wind blew in gusts 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 so much as even seen a single doe. My following morning, early morning hunt had not been any better.

I returned to camp to find the three other hunters plus my UT friend eating a full breakfast at 9:00 am. All were griping and complaining about not seeing deer, the heat, the wind. “Y’all going to stay in today noon and watch your favorite college football team 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! No whitetail would be out. They’ll probably not move until well after dark…again! Anybody see my latest issue of DSC’s Game Trails?” the tallest of the bunch said. 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 10:00 am.

I, again, asked where everyone would be during the mid-day. My four campmates said again they saw no reason to hunt until very late afternoon, possibly just the last hour of daylight. I smiled, “So no one is hunting until about four or later? And, I’ll have the entire ranch to hunt until then?”

“All yours Sport!” came the unified reply.

Walking out of the door I grabbed my .300 Win Mag Ruger FTW Hunter, a handful of Hornady’s 200-grain Precision Hunter, and my Rattling Forks. I planned on walking from camp, making a huge circle from one Tecomate Seeds planted food plot to another and rattling between the feeding areas.

I love hunting during the mid-day, especially when all of the other hunters are 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.

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I arrived at ranch headquarters well before daylight, after a full moon shining all night long. I walked in 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 on drinking more coffee and telling stories until almost 10 am. That’s when the hunters returned, complaining about not having seen a single deer.

All hunters back in camp… “Time for us to go…” said my host. We had hardly left his compound before we started seeing bucks. Some were chasing does. Some were roaming looking for does. From 10 in the morning 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, 20-inch wide ten point, 7-year old. At exactly 3 o’clock all deer movement ceased. We hung my buck in the barn and headed back 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!”

Lesson learned!

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!

However, I have also seen big bucks moving during mid-day during other moon phases, although nearly not as many during full or new moon.

I have taken my best whitetail bucks between the hours of 10:00 am and 3:00 pm.

I just got back from Oklahoma hunting with Lonesome Boar Adventures (Ryan Duncan 361-522-8068) filming a hunt for our “DSC’s Trailing the Hunter’s Moon” on Sportsman Channel. This with the Super moon just past full. We hunted hard starting at legal shooting light. We did not start seeing deer until a few minutes before 10. That is when Ryan, using my Rattling Forks (www.rattlingforks.com), rattled in the first buck of the morning, a very nice though a bit young 8-point. Ryan actually rattled in that buck three different times.

When the returning buck finally left, we moved a half mile and Ryan started rattling once again with the Rattling Forks. 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, ghen started circling to get out scent. I watched him walk, but at the same time 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 with a spread beyond 20-inches. The buck disappeared behind a patch of cedars, where 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. My buck warrants a trip to The Wildlife Gallery, where they’ll do their taxidermy magic.

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!

I’m packing my lunch. The deer woods await! How about you?

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