Normally, whitetails are 50% nocturnal. At least half what they do when not bedded takes place in darkness before first light in the morning and in darkness after dusk in the evening. When hunters make it too dangerous for them to be up and about during daylight hours, they are not in the least handicapped upon deciding it is necessary to become 100% nocturnal (move about during nighttime hours only). Actually, their eyes are evolved for this, enabling them to see as well at night as by day. Hunting success, then, has everything to do with how dangerous it is for whitetails to move about during daylight hours during hunting seasons.
How dangerous is it where you hunt? Do you and your hunting partners make drives? Do you prefer moving about throughout the day, still-hunting or seeking deer to stalk? If your answer is “yes,” whitetails in your hunting area are finding it extremely dangerous to move about during daylight hours. Moreover it is certain most of them cannot find safe places to bed during daylight hours within their home ranges. To survive under such circumstances, mature (experienced) whitetails fully realize their only safe alternative is to quickly abandon their home ranges, seeking refuge in long familiar places seldom invaded by hunters such as posted lands and swamps and bogs (which can be miles away).
You are probably thinking this can’t be helped because hunting humans are in fact dangerous predators of whitetails. However, what you probably don’t realize is, like traditional prey of large predators throughout the world, our mature whitetails are capable of living fairly normal, predictable lives during hunting seasons if given the chance. You probably don’t realize, when whitetails are given the chance, your hunting success can improve dramatically. How is this possible? The answer has long been known by modern bowhunters who often change stand sites. It’s called “stand hunting,” Where all or most hunters are stand hunters and where those who are not stand hunters are respectful of areas where hunters are stand hunting, all classes of whitetails including the largest of bucks rarely find it necessary to become 100% nocturnal or abandon their ranges. Best for them, whitetails then have safe bedding areas during daylight hours. As preferred, they can thus remain in their home ranges during hunting seasons, free to feed at predictable places during predictable hours almost anywhere they want, at least until some unknowingly wander into easy shooting range of skilled stand hunters.