How to Hunt the Hot Buck

by Keith McCafferty

When it's hunting season but the days are hot, you might be tempted to turn up the AC and kick back with a cold one. The deer won't be moving until it's too dark to shoot, anyway.

Right?

Well…only sort of. It's true that deer confine most of their activity to the night hours in hot weather, but because they need more energy to regulate their body temperatures in extreme heat, they have to feed frequently during the day, too, although this may mean walking only a short distance. Also, anecdotal evidence suggests that deer become uncomfortable when in their beds for long periods and stand up often, just as you would if you were lying in a pool of sweat.

So, hot bucks are in fact on their feet during the day. They just don't move very far. The key to tagging one, then, is getting close without spooking him--and setting up a stand along a shady creekbottom may be the best solution. Deer are apt to favor such a cool bedding area in these conditions, and the noise of the running water will mask the sound of your approach. (Just be careful entering such an area near a cropfield, as bucks tend to bed close to the food source in warm weather.) Get in your stand well before first light and let the game come to you. And if at first you don't succeed, stay put. Deer bedded nearby may visit to browse or drink at any hour.