Best Deer Feeding Times for Hunting Trophy Buck

Deer Love to Eat. If they are up and moving, they are likely eating. So what are the Best Deer Feeding Times?

best deer feeding times by zip code
best deer feeding times by zip code

Best Deer Feeding Times

As a general rule, the best deer feeding times are the 2 hours after sunrise (dawn) and the 2 daylight hours before sunset (dusk).

With each season, the length of daylight hours fluctuates with each day from early morning, early afternoon, and into the evening. This change in daylight triggers deer movement and often the best time for deer feeding.

When the moon is overhead or underfoot, there is an uptick in deer activity. As the moon position coincides with sunrise and sunset, we have an advantageous major times and minor times where deer may be moving.

Major Deer Feeding Times

Major deer feeding hours are when the moon is positioned directly above or directly below a deer feeding location. The theory is that deer behavior is positively impacted around major feeding times which makes major feeding times a prime time to hunt deer.

Minor Feeding Times

Minor times are triggered typically by sunrise or sunset and the position of the sun on the horizon. In my experience, minor times are when I have seen the most deer movement especially the closer the minor times push towards the twilight hours of the day.

Hunt Deer During Minor and Major Times

I am on high alert during this preferred deer hunting time as deer behavior tends to be very active in the early morning hours and the early evening hours before the shift over to night.

Moon Phases

New Moon: Hunting during new moon phases is a great time to hunt deer. With a new moon, there is minimal light reflecting off of the moon. Deer are nocturnal at times which means they will move with the darkness of a new moon.

First Quarter: During the first quarter moon phase the moon is reflecting the sun light and will appear 1 to 50% lit up. The right portion of the moon will be lit up during first quarter moon phases.

Full Moon: With the full moon phase, the entire phase of the moon appears illuminated.

Third Quarter: During the third quarter moon phase the moon will be illuminated 100% to 50%. The left portion of the moon will be lit up.

best deer eating times

What Do Deer Eat?

A deer primarily eats plant-based foods or materials like weeds, clover, flowers, and grasses within their diet. Whitetail deer graze on items like nuts, mushrooms, oats, and fruit. These majestic animals absolutely enjoy fruit, but usually, the abundance of fruit available is in short supply.

Deer are herbivores, and they are opportunistic eaters. Apples, berries, pears are some of the fruits that buck, doe, and fawns like to snack on. They will also eat vegetables like carrots and corn.

The diet of a white tailed deer can vary with each season. In colder months, especially when the food supply is harder to come by and the food plots have run bare, deer will turn to munching on buds, sticks, twigs, stems, and leaves.

Deer Feeders can provide buck a consistent snack. Deer feeders can be placed throughout your hunting area in the woods or a field. Deer feeders allow you to set a specific time and feed duration interval.

I like to have a deer feeder in use throughout the year but not during hunting season. A deer feeder is portable and I use the Moultrie deer feeder brand.

Do Deer Feed More Before Storms?

One of the Best Feeding Times For Deer is directly before or after a storm. Weather conditions are a huge factor in deer activity. When poor weather conditions are present a deer’s instinct is to find shelter.

When the weather passes, the search for nutrition is back on. Check the weather and leverage the incoming and outgoing storms to help plan your best hunt.

Barometric pressure or air pressure is an important factor in deer foraging habits. Barometric pressure is the measure of surface air or air aloft.

I use a barometer to read air pressure using inches as a unit of measurement. Many deer hunters believe that the rise and fall of barometric pressure trigger deer to feed before a storm or shortly thereafter.

Take a look at the barometric pressure for your zipcode. The barometric pressure for deer hunting at or around 30.0 inches is optimal for deer movement.

Do Deer Eat Near Bedding Areas?

Deer will eat near bedding areas as long as the pressure in the area is not high. If hunting pressure is high, bucks will bed further away from a food source.

Deer will choose a secure bedding area over food plots. When hunting pressure is light, bucks will often choose bedding zones very near to food sources.

Hunting Solunar Charts

Sunrise, Sunset, and the Moon are important factors in predicting whitetail deer eating times. There are many products on the market that help us research and identify potential prime deer feed times through calendars, charts, and graphs.

Solunar calendars help track solar periods with sunrise and sunset as well as lunar periods with moon rise, moon set, full moon, new moon, current moon phase and moon position.

I like to use Rick Taylor’s Prime Times to help anticipate what are the best feeding times for deer. Track major eating times, minor times, astro tables, best days, and best periods to zero in on the position of mature bucks.

Another is John Alden Knight’s Original Solunar Tables. In 1926, John Alden Knight wrote about how Game and Fish movement may be linked to the position of the Sun (sol) and the Moon (lunar) in Solunar Theory.

Moon Up – Moon Down: Story of the Solunar Theory is a must read for many hunters. This book explains the theory of Solunar and how the position of the Sun, Moon, and Tide are important for game and fish movement.

The position of the Moon and the Sun in relation to each other can effect the overall movement of deer and their major feeding times for prime foraging and eating.

Find The Best Deer Feeding Times By Zip Code

Determining feeding times for deer by checking an online deer feeding chart is another option. There are many free deer feeding charts that generate custom area details. Enter in your zip code for your hunting spot or deer camp.

Deer movement times by zip code provide you with specific information including sunrise and sunset times as well as the major feeding periods and minor feeding periods for deer in your area. So you can know precisely the deer movement times by zip code.

deer feeding times by zipcode

Deer Feeding Charts

Deer feeding charts include peak rut times, which can be tailored to your hunting season or zipcode. Deer rut times are typically within the same seven (7) day period annually which may align with your best deer hunting times. Below are recommended sites for charts and solunar tables.

Best Deer Feeding Times Conclusion

The best feeding times for deer tend to be the same as the major feeding times and minor feeding times each day. Based on my experience, deer are most active and feeding in early morning hours (sunrise) and the early evening hours (sunset). A major feeding time today is likely around the twilight hours.

Additional factors or signs such as weather, hunting pressure, rut timing based on your zip code, you hunting stand location (tree stand in the woods vs stand on a field edge) will play a role when deer feed.

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