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Morning Stands VS Evening Stands

Evening stand located along the edge of feeding area


Some hunters like to hunt the same stands regardless of the time of day. And honestly, some stands work regardless of the time of day. If they are set up along travel corridors between bedding and feeding areas, they can work both in the morning or evening. However, bow hunters tend to have stands dedicated for hunting in the mornings and those set up for hunting in the evenings.

When setting up near feeding areas, hunting these in the mornings can be futile. Deer are most likely already in the feeding areas and moving into your stand during the early morning hours can spook the deer from the area. When hunting feeding areas, whether it’s agriculture, mast trees or other sources, hunting these stands during the evenings will put more deer in your sights. Setting up near feeding areas, is definitely an evening hunt. I personally have tried it more times than I care to remember, and I cannot remember the amount of times, I have tried to sneak into my stand in the oak grove only to have deer blow, and bust out of there when I approached. Sure I have killed a few in the mornings hunting food. But in order to be more successful consistently, hunt the food in the evenings.

When setting up morning stands, I prefer to set up near bedding areas. Deer should be out feeding and making their way back to bed in the early morning. Having a bow stand near bedding areas in the morning will put more deer in your sights. As I have said many times I really like hunting near bedding areas. Big bucks will stick close to their bedding areas, hunting these areas in the mornings has produced more big bucks than any other method. Ladder stand adjacent to bedding area is a perfect morning stand

I have written many times about using the wind to select your stands. This requires hanging a lot of stands for different situations. When hunting near bedding areas, I still let the wind decide which of the morning stands I will hunt and which evening stands I will hunt. But regardless, when hunting food, I will ALWAYS hunt these only in the evenings. For my money, hunting food in the mornings is a waste of time and only educates deer of your presence. To kill big bucks, they cannot know you are there, have been there or will be there. Many will only give you one chance a season, by selecting the proper stand location and hunting it at the right time of day will give you the best chance.

A question I often get, is “how long do you sit in a stand?” Obviously when hunting in the evening, I cannot sit after dark. But I will often get into that stand at a minimum of four hours before sunset – or legal shooting light. In the mornings, I will sit at a minimum of mid-day.  Regardless of when the sunrise is, sitting until noon will give me the best chance.

Using my Bushnell game cameras help to determine when and how long to sit. When I consistently see pictures of deer at specific times, I will plan to sit at a minimum of one hour past the time I have seen pictures of deer on the camera. This can mean a long sit, but is there any better way to spend a day than sitting in a well-placed stand watching and waiting for a mature whitetail buck to materialize?

Hunters in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and beyond should plan their hunts accordingly, and establish stand sites specifically for morning or evening hunting. Likewise, stands that cover travel corridors can and do produce at both times of day, allowing the wind to dictate which stand to hunt, the rule of thumb is, hunt the bedding areas in the mornings, and food in the evenings.