Ask The Biologist

Night Shift

Night Shift

By Bob Humphrey

Could year-round food plots encourage night movement?

QUESTION: We are hunting 200 acres and have 12 acres of food plots. The first two years we had mostly daylight movement the whole season. But we did not have any year-round food at that time, just fall plots. We are on year six now. For the past two years we also have year-round food plots and have put a lot more in our plots.

We have a very healthy herd, and bucks are staying on the property all year. The one difference we have noticed is a lot more night movement and less daytime movement. Deer are either moving at night or super early and late. Not just bucks but all the deer. We only hunt one day a week, so I can’t see how it’s pressure. Could it be with the year-round food and always having food they know they can get it any time and choose to do it at night?

I’m just trying to make sure we are not doing anything wrong. We had lots of daytime pictures in the summer, but we are also in a drought and food plots are struggling. I’m not sure how much that impacts daytime deer movement.

ANSWER: It sounds like your previous situation was the exception rather than the rule, and your deer are now behaving more like – deer.

Countless studies have shown that under all kinds of weather, climate, moon and hunting pressure situations, deer still move mostly around dawn and dusk. You’re doing the right thing by providing year-round nutrition, and it sounds like it’s working if more deer are spending more time on your property. You just need to maximize hunting opportunities during those times.

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