Found in almost every state within the eastern United States and in various locations west of the Rocky Mountains, the whitetail deer is the most sought after of the North American game animals.

However, despite their large population, these intelligent animals can be quite elusive. Knowing the right times to hunt can optimize your chances of bagging that trophy buck you've been eyeing on the trail cam. The following variables can help you determine the best times to hunt to increase your chances of success.

 credit: Matt Hansen Photography

Variables to Consider When Hunting

Location: This one is a given. Most states (minus the southwestern United States) contain plentiful Whitetails. However, it is also important to know the prime hunting locations within your state if you want to increase your chances of spotting one.

Solunar Calendar: According to a theory laid out by John Alden Knight in 1926, animal movement is affected by the position and fullness of the moon.  This theory was said to be used by hunters and fishermen long before Knight’s theory was published and is still widely accepted and adopted today.

Time of Year: White-tail (and other American game) activity changes according to the time of year. The earlier it is in the season, the less likely you are to see much movement. However, as you get closer to “the rut” or the theorized peak-week for hunters, activity increases drastically.

Time of Day: For white-tail deer the most active times typically occur around dawn and dusk, with periodic increases in activity overnight. Plan ahead and get out there during the right time of day to increase your chances of success.

Temperature: Temperature is another factor that can drastically affect the movement of animals.  Whitetail deer generally like colder temperatures and studies show that warmer temperatures seem to hinder deer movement.

Barometric Pressure: Whitetail are very sensitive to changes in barometric pressure and the resulting atmospheric conditions. Deer will bed, feed and move according to the movements of the barometer.

General Weather Conditions: General weather conditions are another factor to take into consideration when searching for prime hunting times. Whitetail deer understand the uncertainties and dangers of bad weather. Much like humans, they will seek a safe place during times of harsh weather conditions.

Wind: If the wind is blowing in their direction, a whitetail can smell you from a mile away. Some studies have estimated that the whitetail deer's ability to smell is about 10,000 times stronger than a human's. Which is why evaluating the wind's strength and direction is vital when determining the best hunting times.


Want To Find The Best Hunting Times For White-tailed Deer? 

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States Where You Can Hunt White-tail Deer

Whitetail can be found and hunted in all of the following states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire,New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.