Are Morning Hunts More Harm than Good?

Every summer I’m asked if I am going to be hunting in the mornings of opening weekend of the Wisconsin archery season. I am never able to give a definitive answer because often I’m asking myself this same question. For clarification when we are talking about the early season we are talking about middle of September to the middle of October before the rut begins.  The reason that hunters ponder this question is that some believe that they are doing more harm than good to their hunting area by walking into their favorite spots in the morning during the early season. The theory is that by walking in to your stands in the morning you run a high risk of bumping deer that are still on their feet quickly feeding before they head back to bed at first light.

I just can’t sleep knowing i’m missing the sun rise during the hunting season


My personal opinion is that the answer to this question depends on your particular piece of property. The property which I hunt here in central Wisconsin consists of marsh grass with willows, small oak and jack pine wood lots, and medium sized agricultural fields. I believe that I am causing more harm than good hunting the mornings on my properties because deer are found to be scattered throughout the property, as the majority of the deer are either on the agricultural fields or staging in the wood lots. It is very difficult to slip into a morning set when deer can spot me from out in the fields or I am bumping them in the wood lots traveling to my stands.

From prior years of hunting and post season scouting, I have learned that the majority of the deer that utilize my property bed back into the marsh grass. Also from game camera pictures, most of the mature bucks, three years old or older, are already traveling back to bed several hours before day light.

 By having prior knowledge of deer preferred bedding locations, I prefer to wait until the evening hunt, knowing that majority of the deer on the property are bedded down during the afternoon hours, I can now slip into my stands and use the wind in my favor.  Basically the deer are confined to one or two locations in the afternoon versus in the morning at first light they can be spread throughout the property from the fields, wood lots, to the marsh grass. Hunting in the evenings you run a less of a risk of bumping deer than you would in the morning if your property is similar.

Do you have more trail camera pictures in the morning or evening?

I will be the first to admit that even though I am afraid of bumping deer in the morning, I still hunt in the morning. Several reasons, the first being that you are limited to the amount of time you can hunt each year, and I’m going to try and hunt as much as I possibly can. The second reason is that I just can’t sleep in knowing that it is hunting season. Yes, I may be causing more harm than good to my hunting properties and strategically it may be better to wait until the evening to slip into my stands, however hunting is about fun and providing food for my family, and I will always keep it that way. After all we started hunting because we enjoy it and want to be out in the woods, watch the sun rise and hear the birds sing. Whether I am really doing more harm than good to my hunting area I may never know, but in the end it’s not always about shooting the biggest buck or even harvesting a deer, it’s about personal enjoyment of being in the woods.

These are my thoughts and my opinions on hunting in the mornings during the early season before the rut begins. I’m no expert on this topic and will never claim to be, so I am looking for your input. What do you think? Is hunting in the mornings doing more harm than good? Have you had any success hunting the early season in the mornings? If so what tactics did you use? Please let myself and the other readers know by leaving comments at the bottom of this blog, in the forums, or log on to our face book page and let us know what you think.

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