How to Hunt Deer at Night?

Deer hunting as an activity is experiencing an upsurge in popularity in recent times. Apart from the fact that deer is quite the big catch, hunting them is also necessary in order to maintain ecological balance. As most veteran hunters will tell you, the best time to bag a deer is at night and on their own turf, since they rarely venture beyond their comfort zone.

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Whatever your reason for hunting deer at night, you must know that night hunting is challenging despite its advantages.

Deer hunting at night is a very tactical task. This is because the darkness is a very big disadvantage to the hunter while hunting.

To successfully hunt deer at night there are things that you need to know and put in place. Here are basic things one needs to know on hunting a deer at night

1. Make Yourself Scent-Free

Unlike humans, Deer are very sensitive to smell. Their noses are 1000 times more sensitive than the human nose.

Humans have high scents and deer are very quick to detect them. Ignoring your human scent when hunting deer at night gives you away quickly to the animal. The human scent spooks deer and makes them run away from you.  To hunt Deer successfully at night, you would need to deal with your human scent 

There are ways in which you can deal with this smell. The first way is to get scent-free products. You should try dealing with the scent using scent-free products before going for a  hunt.  

Also, you should avoid contaminating your hunting clothes on your way to the hunting ground. Deer can detect these scents very fast. The best way to avoid this is by packing your hunting wear in nylon with natural field elements like leaves, dirt, earth, and more. This would allow your hunting clothes to smell natural, by taking up natural smells.

Another way to deal with your human scent is by using the wind to your advantage. Hunting in crosswinds is a good strategy for scent reduction. With this, the deer won’t be able to take your scent because the wind is blowing perpendicularly to it.

how to hunt deer at night

2. Hunting Clothes and Gears

When hunting a deer at night, camouflage is highly important because of animals’ sensitivity. You would need a hunting cloth that would form a sort of camouflage for you. Deer are known to adapt to movement more than they are to shapes. 

When hunting at night for deer, stay off bright color wears. Fluorescent and white clothes expose your cover to the bear. Go for clothes that would blend with the night.

Dark-colored clothes go a long way with camouflages. Colors like black, brown, and other dark colored clothes are better for deer hunting at night. 

how to hunt deer at night

You can also form a form of concealment with your hunting clothes by decorating them with leaves and face painting. This helps to camouflage you among trees, especially if you intend to stand and wait for the deer. 

Beyond wearing clothes for concealment you should also consider wearing hunting wears that would protect you. The forest and field are always dangerous at night so you would need something that can protect you. Thick clothes are better. They help to protect the body from the cozy weather of the night. Nothing beats comfortable clothes.

You can also involve the use of the blind as a form of concealment from the Deer. Maximum concealment is of great advantage. Tree blinds and camo blinds help a lot with concealment. They help to fool the eyes of the deer while also offering you shelter.

3. Hunting Strategy

When hunting deer at night, you need to be fully prepared and plan ahead of your hunt. Night hunting of Deer requires a hunting strategy.

There are two major strategies for deer hunting at night. One is stand hunting, while the other is stalking the deer. You need to decide which one you would use for your hunting depending on the field where you want to hunt.

Stand- hunting as the name implies involves you patiently standing, sitting, and waiting for the deer to approach before you fire a shot at them. This is a very common type of technique among hunters, especially those that hunt in an open field. When using stand hunting techniques you need to locate the pathways of deer and stand or sit away from there. One can use a blind for this kind of technique.

When stalking a deer, it is better to do that during light rain. It helps cover up background noise since the forest floor is less crunchy. To successfully stalk a deer one needs to move slowly. 

You need the patience to move very slowly. The deers’ eyes are like motion detectors. They are spooked by movement more than they are with shapes and colors.

how to hunt deer at night

4. Hunting Guns

Being vigilant is one important part of night hunting. Darkness is a disadvantage to hunting during night hunting. This is why one would need good guns for vigilance. When hunting at night, you are not only combating against your intended prey but other animals in the forest. 

You would need the right gun when hunting at night.  Hunting in the woods at night requires a brush gun. They are your surest best for safety. 

Brush guns allow you to use rounded bullets. Round bullets are known for being their quick actions, allowing you to have many shots at a time. Brush guns are not easily deflected by leaves and twigs as much as pointer bullets.

Long-range rifles are another alternative for you when hunting at night. When hunting from a long-range then you would need long-range rifles. This is because you would be better off with something that shoots flatter than brush bullets.

You can shoot up to 400-yard shots or even more with long-range rifles. This makes it easy to aim at the deer from a very far distance without being noticed by it. 

AR-style assault rifles are another option for hunters who want to hunt deer at night. This rifle is best for the night because of how easy it is to add accessories to them in the dark. They help accommodate the restriction of the darkness bestow. Flashlight and laser sift can be used alongside it.

5. Shooting Deer

Night hunting is demanding and requires your best aim. You need to shoot your prey at its fatal point so that it can be killed with one shot. Deer are very witty and fast animals and a missed shot is not good enough. 

how to hunt deer at night

When shooting from afar you need to aim right. You should aim for the vital organs of the deer if you want it dead with one or two shots.

Some hunters aim at the lungs and heart of the deer. But to do this one needs to know where this is located before shooting. 

You can also aim for the brain of the deer. Getting shot into the deer’s brain is a sure shot. The easiest way to get this is by locating the deer tear tuck start by drawing a line from the tear duct to the tear duct. Then go some inches above it which gives you the centre. Then shoot.

You can also shoot the deer at its high shoulder. This would snap the spine of the deer, short circuit its nervous system, and break its rib. With this, the deer would surely be down. 

Shooting the neck is another sure way of getting the deer down.

6. Effective Illumination For The Night

Hunting at night is not easy and could be a bit challenging. You can shoot right in the dark, especially if nature is against one with its light. You can’t just shoot at anything you have to shoot what you see. You would need a source of light for night hunting.

There are ways of creating artificial light in the field when hunting. You can use night vision or thermal devices. These two methods are effective but they are somewhat expensive. It makes scouting in the night easy. Deer are more spook to movement than to colors and light. These lights can be used from a distance from the prey.

Colored lights like red and green lights are more effective for night hunting. These lights distract the animals and give reason to suspect anything. Various studies have proven that animals perceive colored lights like red and green in different ways. 

Also, many hunters depend on natural lights for hunting deer at night. The moon and the stars are very good sources of light too when it comes to hunting. During full moons, the forest or the field are fully illuminated, well enough for hunting.

7. Hunting Methods

There are various ways of luring a deer and baiting one of such. Baits are popular. They help to lure deer out of their hiding place. 

Food with a strong smell has proven very effective for deer baits. Peanut butter is an example of such.

Grains are the most known way of attracting deer. Deer are attracted to corn: Shelled corns, white corn are the best baits for deer. This is often used by hunters because it is effective and cheap. 

Acorns are another natural bait for deer. Fill a bucket with acorns and dumb it in the site where you wish to bait the deer then wait patiently.

Deer love vegetables, this can be used as bait for them. Vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, gamut, etc. are good bait for deer.

fruits are another way to catch a deer. Deer would trance the smell of apples too long distances. You can bait deer with apples. All you have to do is spray it in large quality along with the parts where you know that deer would pass

8. Post- Shooting Techniques

After shooting down a deer, some people love to wait till the next morning before tracing the deer and carrying it home. Normally I don’t advise this. It is better to trace your catch after it is shot down and carry it home. You are not the only one interested in the prey. Bigger animals are also interested in the animal and might feed on it before you arrive in the morning. It is better to trace your catch that night after it has been shot down.

After trancing it, you might want to do a field dress for the animal. All you have to do is put it out and load it into a truck. It is better to dress the bigger deer. But if it is a small deer you might not want to dress it. Field dress decreases the chances of spoilage.


The use of blind and bait is the best way to hunt nocturnal deer. This gives no known clue about the hunters.

A deer dies or gets injured whenever it is been shot at, no matter what time of the day it is. When a deer is shot at, at night it is either injured or dead. This can also be a crime in an area that has restrictions on deer hunting and shooting at night.

Yes, deer can be killed at night. Deer come out at night and this makes them easy prey during the night. If night hunting is legal in your area then you can kill a deer at night.


Now that you know the basics about Deer hunting at night, hunting deer at night should not be much of a problem. As much as hunting at night could be challenging, it is very much effective for the hunting of deer. Deer have learned to be nocturnal animals and are becoming active at night. This makes them easier prey for the hunter at night than the day.

Before you set out to hunt a deer at night make sure your area does not have a legal restriction about deer hunting or even night hunting.

Author Profile

Gabriel Tackett
Double major in Engineering and Geology at the University of Minnesota. Experienced shooter & hunter for over 15 years. Certified NRA officer for over 10 years working as a writer at .

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