The question of whether whitetail deer, specifically mature bucks, are active during the day has been researched extensively. The consensus among researchers is that deer, including mature bucks, are crepuscular creatures, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk. This pattern holds regardless of the month or season.
From the research I’ve gathered and my own experiences in the field, it’s clear that every buck is an individual with unique behaviors. While some bucks may be more active during the day, most of them tend to be more active during the twilight hours of dawn and dusk. This is built into their DNA and is a pattern that holds throughout the year.
That being said, some research suggests that mature bucks will tend to be bedded before sunrise. Then they will get up and feed near their bedding area from 9-10:00 am, 12-1:00 pm, and again after 4:00 pm.
However, it’s important to note that there are exceptions to this rule. Bucks can be more active during the rut, or breeding season as they search for does. This can lead to increased daytime activity. External factors such as hunting pressure and weather can also influence a buck’s daily patterns.
One interesting tip from GPS-based research is that mature bucks can quickly adapt to hunting pressure. Studies have shown that bucks can change their behavior within three days of the hunting season opening, choosing thicker cover and reducing their movements.
So, while mature bucks are generally most active at dawn and dusk, several factors can influence their daily patterns.