Most hunters, photographers, and outdoor enthusiasts assume deer are not likely to move around in adverse weather. If you hunt deer, you will not venture into the woods to get drenched and freeze when there is no game. That’s why it pays to know the habits of deer and if they are less active when there is a significant amount of rain.
This article will tell you everything about deer activity in rainy weather.
Do Deer Move in the Rain?
Deer movement will change depending on the weather, so plan your deer hunting according to the climate to improve your chance of deer sightings. Trail cams have shown deer activity is not affected by some types of rain.
It’s fair to assume that deer move in the rain, especially if it is only a sprinkling or a drizzle. But are they likely to be out in droves if the rain is pounding down?
The short answer is: yes, deer do move in rainy weather. There are some weather conditions, including heavy rain, that a deer will avoid — but what is the general rule to how a deer navigates through the rain?
Let’s break it down by condition.
Light to Moderate Rain
Light rain is not going to make much of a difference in how a deer moves around. Deer like to wander in a slight drizzle as the fresh rainfall can be quite refreshing for them. They are not likely to make any changes in how they move around or the pattern they usually follow.
A light rainfall still allows deer to use their hearing when navigating the forest so they can hear predators approaching and make their getaway if need be. They will be able to continue as usual if the rainfall is light.
In moderate rain or inclement weather, deer might move more slowly when they are foraging, but they will still move around the woods. Sight, sound, and smell are a deer’s way of detecting danger and keeping away. If the rain is moderate, they can see and hear pretty well, but the smell weakens as the rain washes scents away.
Heavy rain is when the time is convenient for a hunter since the deer will not smell you coming. Many deer will take their chances when the rain is moderate because the temptation of a more palatable feast with rain-soaked leaves is too much to resist.
Deer fur is suitable for all weather, so it takes a lot to prevent them from venturing out.
Heavy Rain or a Storm
Heavy rain may keep some deer from moving around as they would on another day. Deer are used to living outdoors in all conditions, unlike humans, so a slight rain will not bother them. Chances are, heavy rainfall will not give them much discomfort.
A deer’s coat will provide warmth and protection, so heavy rain will not do much in the way of affecting the way they look for food and get water.
A deer can sense a storm days before it arrives and will get its fill before the weather turns. A deer will bed down when there is a storm because they cannot effectively smell, see or hear their predators coming for them. To be safe, they will stay where they are and are very unlikely to wander.
After it Storms
Many hunters have asked if a deer moves after heavy rainfall, and the answer is: yes. The deer have already been bedding to keep safe and are likely to have eaten before the heavy rains or storm began, so they are going to be hungry and eager to be on the move to find their next meal.
The activity of a deer finding food when it is hungry is when a hunter can get their best chance at bagging a buck or a deer. If you are looking for an opportune time, then after an extensive rainfall or storm is the best time to go in search of a food source.
Deer will not be on the move when it is extremely windy, for the same reasons that they are not on the move during storms. When there is high wind speed, they are unable to hear predators and the wind confuses their ability to smell approaching danger as it will move from one place to the next and dilute the smell of danger.
Just as with storms, a hunter should wait until it calms to pursue your game. Deer hunting in windy conditions makes it difficult for you to hear or see any deer with high winds impairing your hearing and vision. It is best to wait for another time after the winds die down.
Hunting in the Rain
If you decide to tough it out and hunt in the rain, chances are, you are going to be alone. With most hunters packing up and heading out until brighter days, you will have the forest to yourself and if the opportunity arises to hunt a deer, it will be all yours.
As mentioned above, deer lose the powerful advantage of smelling your scent when there is a torrential downpour and the constant sound of rain palpitating on the ground is going to be to your advantage as well, as it will help to dull the sound of your footsteps.
If you are willing to hunker down and put on your rain gear, you will do well to stick it out in the rain. It is more dangerous to hunt during a storm for several reasons.
During a storm, many factors could work against you, including:
- Deer bedding down to go to sleep
- Chance of lightning storms
- You are at a disadvantage of hearing a deer or buck approach
It’s best to keep to your cabin or go back to the woods another day if you know a storm is approaching. Just like windy days, winds are going to make hunting a lot more treacherous for you than it is for the deer you are hunting.
Hunting at Bedtime
Some hunters have taken the risk of hunting a buck or deer while they are bedding. Going into a deer bed can be exhilarating and dangerous, but with certain types of these animals, such as the Whitetail Deer, you can find them in their bed when severe weather hits.
A mature buck is going to be particularly angry if they find a hunter in their place of rest, so deer hunters need to decide if the adrenaline is worth the risk. Rainy weather will keep a deer or buck to their bed, making them easy prey.
Whether you are a wildlife enthusiast or a hunter, it pays to know the habits of deer during certain weather conditions and the time of year. The answer to the question is that deer do move in the rain and, as a hunter, you are likely to find them doing what deer do just as you would if it was a nice day. The type of weather will determine the movement of deer, but misty rain is not going to affect buck movements like wind velocity or a steady downpour.
If you can stand the rain, it is a good time to go out and hunt and be one with nature. A deer will be on the move as long as they can hear, smell, and see their predators, so keep that in mind when you search for a deer in the rain.