6 Tips for Enduring All-Day Hunts

Saddle up and capitalize on the rut’s midday movement.

6 Tips for Enduring All-Day Hunts

Most noted whitetail experts hold that 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. — the period when many hunters lose patience and vacate their stands — is the best window of time in which to catch a mature buck on the move. And they repeatedly prove it by taking midday monsters. They do it because they fight off urges to climb down for lunch and instead hang out all day. Easier said than done.

Despite all we watch and read about all-day sits, articles and TV programs rarely address that being confined to a small, elevated treestand platform for 9 to 10 hours — sometimes longer — is absolutely arduous. Even serious whitetail bowhunters with all-day intentions often flee by noon from sheer boredom, discomfort or pessimism.

The peak rut comes once a year. When it arrives, you can’t afford to blow your “rutcation” days off of work by hunting only mornings and afternoons. When bucks are cruising all day, the more time you spend hunting ideal stand locations puts you closer to encountering the buck you’ve dreamt about for the last 11 months. The question is, will you be on stand when he cruises by?

Because all-day hunting — especially for a week in a row or longer — can be taxing, it becomes necessary to use a systematic approach. Let’s review six tips that will keep you in your stand so you can capitalize on all-day rut action.

1. Choose an All-Day Stand Location

Counting squirrels is less than amusing. Avoid midday monotony by selecting stand locations deer are liable to travel throughout the day. During the pre-rut and rut, I like funnels. An estrus doe can pull bucks through at any given time. If it’s a funnel that connects two doe bedding areas, all the better. Funnels are so productive midday because they generally offer good security cover, which is why whitetails, including bucks and does, comfortably travel through them during broad daylight.

The downwind edges of doe bedding areas can also be productive at midday. While bucks are on the prowl, they’ll often swing along the downwind fringes to scent-check them rather than go right into the bedding area. It’s an efficiency thing.

2. Quit Looking at Your Phone

When deer movement slows, many hunters — me included — start glancing at their phones or watches to check the time. All-day sits take time, and the more you stare at your watch, the slower time seems to tick by. Remain patient. Do some stretches to keep blood circulating and to fend off drowsiness. Continually rehearse shot opportunities so you’re ready when the opportunity presents; they often happen when you least expect.

3. Stay Occupied

Being a writer, I use slow times on stand to write articles or check emails on my smartphone. Since the woods is a place of solitude, I honestly don’t like bringing work to the stand, but it’s a necessary evil of my profession. It passes the time and I’m cleaning off my work plate simultaneously. Nothing wrong with that.

I know other hunters who read books or play games on their smartphones during down time. Do what it takes to stay in your stand when you’re hunting an all-day spot during the rut. Caution: Always have a secure place to stuff your phone or book when an unexpected encounter unfolds.

Avoid getting sweaty while walking to your stand. Plan enough time so you can walk slow if necessary to avoid overheating.
Avoid getting sweaty while walking to your stand. Plan enough time so you can walk slow if necessary to avoid overheating.

4. Dress Appropriately

Getting cold is a leading reason why hunters flee their stands early. Study the forecast before you suit up and dress accordingly. Remember: You can always remove garments, but you can’t put on more if they’re in a tote at home or in your truck.

If you struggle to stay warm, stretching can help stave off the cold, but so can chemical heat packs. I even have a lithium battery-powered heated vest to keep my core warm. When core warmth leaks, circulation to extremities is restricted to keep your vital organs warm, and that’s why toes and fingers tend to get cold first.

5. Pack Food and Water

Hunting burns calories faster than you might think, especially during cold weather. Pack enough sustenance to keep your stomach happy all day. Sandwiches, protein bars and apples all make convenient backpack foods. I make sure to remove bars from noisy packaging and place them in a quieter zip-top bag to avoid commotion on stand.

Also bring plenty of water. Hydration plays an important role in all-day comfort. I find taking small sips throughout the day works better than chugging large quantities at a time.

6. Restroom Options

You have a few options if you want to keep hunting when nature calls. Some hunters expel wastes from their stand or climb down to do so near the base of the tree. However, I prefer not to introduce foreign odors to my hunting location.

I recommend handling nature’s call No. 1 by packing an empty capped jug or bottle, as well as several zip-top bags and bathroom tissue for No. 2. These keep your wastes scent-tight so that deer don’t smell you and spook. When you’re finished hunting, empty the bottle(s) away from your stand, and toss the soiled zip-top bags into a trashcan or dumpster.

Another avenue for relief is to carefully climb out of your stand, walk a couple hundred yards away to an area deer rarely use, and then do business. This causes a bit more commotion, and you’ll probably have to make the trip at least two times throughout the day. It could spook deer or cause you to miss out on a buck. However, it eliminates the need to stuff your pack with the extra items I mentioned in the previous paragraph. Do what works best for you.

It sounds gross, I know. But, urinating and defecating aren’t functions we can turn off, so we must address them ahead of an all-day hunt. The topic is rarely brought up when discussing all-day hunting. Have a plan in place to avoid discomfort. You’ll not only stay comfortable, but you’ll be able to hunt all day, too.

Final Thoughts

Midday hunts routinely produce some of the season’s largest bucks, but without considering the abovementioned matters, all-day sits can be monotonous. Believe me, I know. I’m not particularly fond of hunting all day, but I do it when I feel the conditions are ideal for deer movement.

Log some all-day hunts this fall and early winter. Who knows? You might arrow your largest buck ever between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. One thing’s for certain: You won’t know if you aren’t in the saddle.


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