Best 4 Hours of the Day to Kill a Buck During the Rut

By Brodie SwisherNovember 9, 202217 Comments

November is here, and now is the time to be putting the hours in on stand. And while you often hear of hunters suggesting making all day sits during the rut, that’s rarely practical for most hunters with hectic schedules. So the key is to take advantage of those prime times to be in the woods to maximize your opportunity at a buck during the rut. 

But what are those hours that tend to pay off the most? Looking back at my hunts over the years, and digging through countless trail cam photos, there’s a solid pattern of bucks showing up in these time slots again and again. Here’s a look at the best 4 hours of the day to kill a buck during the rut.

Best 4 Hours Of The Day To Kill A Buck During The Rut
What's the best time to kill a buck during November? These times slots seem to be among the best every year.

First Hour

For many hunters, morning hunts are off limits in the early season. And it makes perfectly good sense considering the potential to bump deer on the way in to the stand. However, when the rut rolls around, you better make sure you don’t miss every morning opportunity you get. The first hour is often the finest hour to make it happen on a buck during the month of November. Whether he’s on his own and searching, or with a doe headed back to bed, the first hour has plenty of potential for an encounter with a buck. In fact, it’s almost a complete flip in what you may have encountered earlier with the bulk of the buck movement occurring right before dark. In November, morning hunts tend to be one of the best times to make it happen on a buck. 

Best 4 Hours Of The Day To Kill A Buck During The Rut
The first hour can often be when the magic happens in the whitetail woods during the rut.

11:00 - 1:00

As mentioned above, this is the time of year when you hear hunters talking about making all-day sits in the treestand. But what if you don’t have that kind of flexibility? Don’t miss the first hour, but also, don’t miss the mid-day hours of 11:00 – 1:00. Big bucks move in these hours. You can count on it. Most hunters never see it happen because they’re back at camp taking a nap, or busy working at the office. But think about the trail camera photos you’ve had come through when bucks finally get on their feet in November. Without fail, many of these photos will be at 11:00 and 1:00. Smart old bucks know when hunters have left the woods. They’ll wait until you’re gone. Remember, deer don’t take a break mid-day. Bucks are relentless in their pursuit of a receptive doe. Be in the right spot to intercept him, and be there from 11:00 – 1:00. 

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He can show up anywhere, anytime, during the rut. Particularly during the mid-day hours.

Final Hour

Deer are crepuscular animals, meaning they tend to appear or be most active at twilight. This is why the final hour (as well as the first hour) are so important. During the rut, that twilight activity can easily stretch into the hour before dark. And while more tags may be punched in the first hour of the day during the rut, the final hour is still one you won’t want to miss. Find the afternoon food source of your does and you’ll be in the hot seat for some exciting action before the sun finally goes down. 

What about you? What have you found to be the best hours of the day to sit during the rut? When have you killed your best bucks in November?

Comment below, and let us know what you think.

Brodie Swisher
Brodie Swisher is a world champion game caller, outdoor writer, seminar speaker and Editor for Bowhunting.com. Brodie and his family live in the Kentucky Lake area of west Tennessee.
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