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Stay on Target

The Best of Times

Thu, October 21, 2010

    Bow season in Illinois lasts almost 3 1/2 months.  During that time frame, I bow hunt as much as possible.  The bottom line about shooting big bucks is that you cannot shoot one if you are sitting in the Lazy Boy (in most cases).  Basically what I am saying is that the best time for me to hunt is anytime that I can be in the stand.  That being said, there is no doubt some days are way better than others. 
    What days and times would you choose if you had only 5 half-day hunts?  To answer this, I will look at my own historical data.  My best five archery bucks were shot on the following days: October 7th p.m, October 9th a.m., November 7th p.m., November 8th a.m. and November 24th p.m.  Now, it would be silly for me to say that those would be the 5 hunts I would choose.  Based on harvest days and sightings, I would probably choose 1 afternoon hunt during the first 7 days of October, 3 morning hunts during early to mid November (perhaps November 8th, 9th, and 10th), and I would choose an afternoon hunt during the Thanksgiving weekend.  If I was taking a 5 day hunt in Illinois, I would try to take it around November 8th through November 12th.  The week of Thanksgiving would be my favorite week, but I know a significant number of mature bucks will have been harvested by this time.
    I still believe that one of the most important factors for optimal mature buck movement is the weather.  I am certain many of you share my feelings on this, but I have still not figured out a good way to control the weather so I will leave this out of the equation.  Something else that needs to be mentioned is my location.  I hunt in the southern part of Illinois (Rend Lake area south to Shawnee National Forest area).  I am sure the dates I give would vary slightly if I lived in northern Illinois.
    I am interested to see what dates and times you all would pick.  Some of you probably noticed that I left out the entire “week of the teens” in November.  I did this intentionally.  It is not my favorite time to try and kill a big buck due to fast moving, rutting deer.  I also think that more mature deer spend less time on their feet then than the 3.5 year old bucks that are all revved up.  I still hunt hard during that time because it is an amazing time to be in the woods and you never know when something crazy could happen.
    So, what are your favorite days?


I’d pick your same week.  My best have been on 10-1, 10-2, 11-08, 11-10, 11-13, and 11-16.  I may back it up by a day or two.

Posted by Treehugger on October 21

I agree that week is the best! 11-8 thru 11-12 will be the week to hunt.

Posted by OvercupArcher on October 21

Just saw that we will be having a major drop in temps on the 28th.

Posted by Treehugger on October 21

That is all we need and maybe the first week of Nov. could be the week??? It’s about time cause the weather has sucked.

Posted by OvercupArcher on October 21

I realized I left out a Halloween p.m. buck that would have bumped my Oct. 7th out of the article.  A cold front near Halloween will be awesome.  I hope it happens. 

What is your preference on mornings vs. evenings?  Mine is about 50-50 depending on where I am hunting.

Posted by shootist on October 21

I love the morning to mid-day. Cause it seems they just move right at dark when i see them in the evenings but if the rut is in or near i hunt it all.

Posted by OvercupArcher on October 21

Nov 7th and 8th-hunt all day- Then 3 days in Late December/evenings only- after all the boom sticks are long put up, things are quite, and the bucks are strictly interested in going to feed-Before shedding starts-They’re Much easier to kill then. Of course you’re right Darin, there are Less of them at that point.

Posted by walmsley on October 21

Any time between Nov 1 and Nov 10. The woods absolutely reek of deer musk, deer are moving like crazy, and all of my hunting tricks seem to work best.

Posted by Walston on October 21

Mornings all the way at my place.  It’s an odd property and next to impossible to hunt the places I want to in the afternoon.  My property is set up to give deer a major advantage in terms of not letting a hunter get in unnoticed.

Posted by Treehugger on October 21

I stumbled upon this blog by accident.  I am very disturbed that adults would sit around and chit chat about the best times to kill deer.  Why on earth would anyone want to shoot such a beautiful animal?  To each his own I guess.  As for me and my family, we will be sticking to vegetable soup.

Posted by PETA on October 21

Peta,  May I suggest you spend your time looking at another sight…  This website has been a fantastic resource for responsible hunters doing their part in conservation.  Go find a website that specializes in vegetable soup…

Posted by GalenaBob on October 21

BTW - I have my best luck as close to Nov. 11th as possible.  Seems like the deer are really fired up and moving the few days surrounding Veterans Day in JoDaviess County.  Good luck this season to everyone!  Keep the pics coming in and lets all get the best buck of our life this season.

Posted by GalenaBob on October 21

PETA, this is not a site you stumbled on.  This is a site you searched for.  Look around your house, think about everything that is made of wood, then ask yourself, “How many birds, squirrels, insects, etc., died for you to have that piece of wood?”  Each of us is responsible for the death of animals, whether directly or indirectly.  We hunters are just a bit more honest about our use of animals and the reverence in which we take them.  Your blue jeans are made of cotton which was grown in a cotton field which was previously a pasture or timber area which contained all sorts of wildlife that was displaced or killed for your jeans.  No animals eat cotton.  That field of cotton was grown for human consumption and animals died for it.  If you only eat vegetables, that’s fantastic.  Please don’t tread on us and we will not tread on you.  Vegetables were alive prior to you picking them from their vine as well.  This site is filled with responsible sportsmen and conservationists who hold our wildlife with utmost respect.  You may not believe or understand this, but hunters/fishermen care more about deer and other wildlife than anyone else.  Not to increase their numbers for us to have more opportunities, but for their overall health and place in our ecosystem.

Posted by Treehugger on October 22


Treehugger, this would be a great way for you to spend 10 minutes.  Very eye-opening… and sad.

Posted by PETA on October 22

Peta   Take your poison elsewhere.  We don’t want any!  If you want to force your beliefs on people maybe you should start a cult.  Then you could all throw stone at us from your glass house high up on the hill. 

Your propaganda video was well thought out and may actually work on some people.  If you honestly believe that every meat processing facility is ran that way, and that every deer hunter acts like Ted Nugent, then you are sadly mistaken. 

People Eating Tasty Animals is the only PETA I know.  Good flick though

Posted by Andy Meador on October 23

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