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A Beginner’s Guide to Hunting Deer at Night

How to Hunt Deer at Night

Love the thrill and excitement as you hunt deer at night? Our team finds deer hunting at night more fascinating because of the suspense, as it is like sneaking in the dark, completely unsure of the surroundings. 

If you want to learn how to hunt deer at night, our team compiled all helpful tips from our escapades. Check below!

1. Know The Rules

Hunting deer is an excellent and thrilling experience, but before getting there, there are certain limitations you are required to follow.

Since night hunting poses a danger for you and the people around, it is illegal in many jurisdictions. Without natural light, it would be hard to move, and you might mistakenly shoot someone

Some hunters use artificial lights (thermal and night vision) to continue hunting but in some states, spotlighting is a criminal practice.

In South Carolina and other states, it is only legal to hunt from dusk and dawn, and since deers are crepuscular animals [1], they can easily be hunted legally.

Hefty fines, hunting license revocation, and, worst, receiving serious jail time are some of the sanctions you may receive for illegal night hunting.

2. Wear Safe Clothing 

Hunting is an extreme sport, and just like any other sport, it is essential to wear not just comfortable but correct hunting attire for safe and successful hunting.

Wear camouflage clothing to conceal yourself from deer. If possible, check for the hunting area clothing requirement to avoid any unnecessary risk.

In addition, our experts advise wearing clothes of the correct color to prevent being mistaken for prey.   

Deers cannot recognize colors, but humans do. The state recommends wearing blaze orange for hunters so as not to be mistaken as animals while hunting, even without light.

The state suggests this as it is adequate to the human eye, especially in the dark. Thus, whether you sit still, stand or stalk as the deer moves in the woods, hunters can recognize you easily even without light, decreasing your chance to get killed mistakenly.

3. Sit Tight & Be Quiet

Deer like buck have good hearing sense and can turn their ears from any direction without their head moving.

However, the big buck hears high-frequency sounds even miles apart; it is essential to be quiet all the time.

With just a slight noise from a human, it will take another 2-3 hours for an animal-like nocturnal buck to go back to its place. 

Deer hunting at night can be tedious since you have to sit, wait and be quiet, but you have to be patient if you want to kill a deer.

You can avoid too much noise if you can set more than one sitting spot days before opening day. At night, walk carefully and if you crack a stick, listen before taking another step and use night vision for clearer sight. Too much silence means other animals are on guard, so be vigilant and don’t just stand.

4. Manage Your Scent 

If humans have a great sense of smell, a deer’s sense of smell is 20 times greater. When walking, the human fragrance leaves traces on the ground, air, and even on the plants so they can smell you even miles away.

Since they can tell from your odor where and when you got there, they can distinguish if you pose a threat or not, and in hunting seasons, you are.  

We suggest wearing rubber boots while on the hunt at night as it holds no odor. You can spray the bottom with a fragrance block and deer urine. Use a small block as you take a shower, but dry yourself with an unscented cloth.

Moreover, pay attention to the wind direction as there will be no deer in front of you if you have the wind on your back.

5. Dress Warmly

Hunting season can be under any weather conditions, so it is essential to maintain your average body temperature if you want to stay comfortable throughout your night hunting.

Dressing appropriately will help you not miss a shot in case of shivering. Make sure not to wear anything cotton as it absorbs moisture, and it would be hard for you to stay warm in heavy rain. Instead, go for the synthetic or wool fabric to retain heat and prevent moisture absorption.

We suggest adding layers if the weather is not that good but avoid wearing something bulky as it would be hard for you to follow deer movements. Temperatures may swing and expect frost, especially in the mornings, so it is wise to wear water-resistant clothing. 

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6. Scout the Locations

It is significant to scout the area and learn the deer movement before the hunting season begins. Think like a deer as to where the deer rut, eat, drink and defecate.

You can scout the locations by first checking their food source, water source, bedding, or anything that will attract deer. Deers always need clean water, so if you can find a clean water source, there is a big chance that you can see a deer. 

Remember that the deer will not go near people, so expect the locations for your deer hunting at night to be in the woods, agricultural fields, and public lands.

scout

7. Look for Patterns

Here’s one trick that works – look for patterns. Follow the feeding area parallel to a field trial. There is an intersection between food plots and another track, and so you could have a sitting spot near it. It may not guarantee a clear shot, but it would be an excellent start to stalk and hunt deer.

Since deer are less active in the cold, they also prefer thick woods, so better check the weather so you’ll know when to go there.

You can also check the scrape in the trees as big bucks mark their territory by scraping with their antlers. Missing bark or scrape marks can indicate that a deer passed through that location.

Night vision scopes when stalking deer would be of great help, but make sure it’s legal.

8. Avoid Crowds

Most hunters avoid crowds in public land, so our team suggests keeping a hundred yards away from any access roads. Deer will not go where people are, so it would be hard to hunt or even see one. Try to hunt deer in small parcels when on public land as a pressured one often seeks refuge there. 

Crowds can be in a location with easy access even at dark and since hunting is not supposed to be easy, expect that deers are no way near the crowd. It is essential to hunt the deer where they are, not where other hunters think the deers are. Hunting deer at a higher elevation than the crowd will level up your game as you may be able to see the deer moving.

9. Use the Right Weapon

Hunters are allowed to pick any weapons for hunting animals during daylight, provided that there are no restrictions from the state you plan to hunt.

However, choosing the right gun while hunting makes the most out of the situation.  

If you are hunting in the woods, a brush gun can be the right weapon for you. It has round bullets that move quickly and can easily deflect leaves and twigs.

However, with a hunting license, our team recommends assault rifles, especially for night hunting. Assault rifle is widely famous as a hunter can add accessories to make night hunting easier.

It is also semi-automatic, allowing the hunter to shoot multiple rounds by just pulling the trigger.

weapon

10. Use Weapon Accessories

Our team suggests using weapon accessories for your night hunt. Since the dark is the major twist in night hunting, lights like artificial lights, laser sights, and green lights are the best choice to help you with game animals.

In hunting deer, the evening has more advantages than the morning as this is the deer’s only time to get food after sleeping all day and limiting daytime movement. They are not primarily nocturnal but make the most of the situation. 

You can use a predator call as bait while watching for nocturnal bucks and help drive away other animals. Night vision can help you observe how the deer move even without light. Some states allow night hunting, but the usage of artificial lights for spotlighting and night vision that will help you sight and catch a deer even at night can be illegal.

FAQs

The states where you can hunt deer at night are as follows: Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Animals like deers are being hunted in these states, but the use of artificial lights, night vision devices is illegal.

Deers are most active at night during twilight. You can hunt deer at night as they are on the move for food, water, and rut. Since deers will be hunted at dusk with minimal light, a night vision device, if not illegal, could help. It would also be easy for the hunter to prepare bait for this animal as they sleep in the morning

Yes, a deer travels the same path every day. Since deer are known to be creatures of habit, as long as they find their daily path safe from predators, they will continue to travel the same path.

Final Thoughts on Hunting Deers at Night

Since deer are active at dusk and dawn, hunters prefer night hunting. Best to check local rules; few states allow nighttime deer hunting but with restrictions on night vision devices, weapons, and artificial lights. 

It gives significant advantages that will help you in the next hunting season if appropriately executed—knowing that deer hunting is not just about the excitement and adrenaline rush but also patience, hard work, and good luck.

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