Every minute I can spend in the woods is a great time. I really prefer morning hunts though. Watching the predawn transform to daylight is my favorite time for deer hunting. I can stay as long as i want and then slip out of the stand and either still hunt back to the truck or still hunt/scout as long as i feel like it. My most productive times are generally mid morning 9:00-12:00 or so. that is when i always see deer.
I would have to say morning cause like everyone else has said, watching the woods come alive is something special. That first hour is so exciting but in hindsight most of my deer have been shot between 9:00 am and 10:00 am.
But I have hunted a couple of places down in the river swamp where as the sun went down the woods came alive!
You know the air just starts feeling kinda "heavy" and all the night critters start yakking and chirping.........Brother its all good!!
I'd rather not be on a timetable. In the morning, I can hunt as long as I want. All day if the animals and the mood is right. In the afternoon, I KNOW it's gonna' end all too quickly....
Having said that, like others, the BEST time is WHATEVER time I'm in the woods....
I like the mornings the best. I just see more deer than I do in the eveinings. However, I have seen more big deer and killed my best bucks late in the morning or mid day. I do get that magical feeling in the first few minutes of light or the last few. It just seems that one day that I will catch that monster a little late headed back to bed down, or a little early out of the bed.
I like mornings best. I like watching the woods light up. Also, I can sit in my stand as long as I want and I also have all day to recover and take care of any game killed.
I have killed deer in the first few minutes of light but actually between 9-11:00 has been the most productive.
I like the late afternoons and evenings also. Especially when the weather really cools off. The last thirty minutes of daylight can be very good. I just hate cleaning and dragging in the dark but I will do it,of course.