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What's the best time to head to my stand?

Back To "Ask The Biologist?"QUESTION: I live and hunt in central Indiana and I watch lots of hunting videos. It seems that a lot of the hunters are entering the morning woods after sunrise, is this the case at all, or just the time alotted for the video production? Where I hunt has mostly open fields to get to the woods and I feel that I might be bumping the deer out of the fields as I walk to my stand. I hate to wait until it's light enough out because I like to be in my stand when day breaks. Any suggestions?
- Sam K.

Ask the Biologist

ANSWER: It’s difficult to generalize on why the video hunters may be entering the woods late because every situation is different. In some cases it may be for production purposes while in others they may be intentionally going in late.

Without giving away too many secrets, videographers sometimes film what are referred to as cut-aways. These are sequences recorded typically after the hunt, intended to recreate what actually happened. For example, if you only have one camera man you can’t film both deer and hunter at the same time. During the hunt, the cameraman stays on the deer until it has been shot (or missed). After, they may film close-ups of the hunter re-enacting their action leading up to the shot. Similarly, they may film walking in and walking out shots under better lighting conditions than what was available when they actually walked to and from the stand. They’re not trying to fool or misrepresent anything. They just want better quality video. However, they may actually be waiting until light to enter their stand, and filming the action live.

Under most circumstances, I too like to be in my stand well before daybreak. However, I know several hunters who prefer to wait for shooting light. They reason, and rightly so, you are going to bump deer going into your stand whether it’s dark or light. At least if it’s light, you may have a shot opportunity.

In your situation, if deer are using the fields you refer to, then you are likely bumping deer out of them regardless of when you walk in. You may actually be better off waiting until it’s light and the deer have left the fields before walking in. Even better, if possible, would be to approach from another direction and get in early enough so you can intercept the deer as they leave the field.

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