Deer move around for a variety of reasons. After all, they’ve got to find food and safe areas to rest and sleep. They also move during the rut (breeding season). While we can often expect to see deer moving around the field, you’re here because you want the answer to the question, do deer move in the rain? That’s exactly what you’ll find out here.
So, do deer move in the rain? Yes, deer do move in the rain. But some things influence their movement during the rain, such as:
- how heavy the rainfall is,
- what time of the year it is, and
- the weather in the past few days before
How and When Deer Typically Move
Deer are not nocturnal, they’re crepuscular. This means that sunrise and sunset are the times of day when deer are most active and most likely to move around.
You’re most likely to see deer moving around about half an hour before and after sunrise and sunset.
Deer will also feed during the night. This is important to know because most of the time, they move because of food.
Many experienced hunters will tell you that food is a deer’s biggest motivator when it comes to moving around and if they move when it is often to look for food. This is especially true outside of mating season.
When the deer aren’t roaming around, they are bedding down.
They rest up and wait for their food to get digested. As ruminants, this can take some time.
Once they are hungry again, it is time to find more food.
Deer bed down for about 70% of the day, with each bedding session lasting about 30 minutes on average. Deer bed in the same location regularly.
How Rain Influences Deer Movement and Behavior
Research has shown that how rain affects deer movement and behavior usually depends on its intensity.
Light rain doesn’t seem to bother deer. These animals move around like any normal day in those conditions.
That’s because the drizzle does not impact their way of sensing danger.
Deer may move slower if there’s moderate rain.
More rain means the deer’s sense of smell, hearing, and the deer’s eyesight are negatively impacted. The animal will move less, and more cautiously because they have a more difficult time detecting predators.
If there are torrential rains, you won’t find deer walking around at all. Heavy rain makes it difficult or impossible for cervids to detect danger, so they will avoid movement.
So in very heavy rains, most deer find a safe place to hide. They will usually head to their bedding areas.
How Recent Weather Impacts Deer Movement
We briefly touched upon how recent (as well as current) weather impacts the movement of a deer during rain.
Before you go looking for deer, check to see how many of the preceding days have had rainfall.
If there have been about three days of moderate rain, chances are that by the fourth day of moderate rain, the deer would have acclimatized to the conditions.
Having hunkered down for an extended period means they’ll have to start moving so they can find food, and will do so even in inclement weather.
How the Time of Year Impacts Deer Movement in Rain
The time of year will also impact deer movement in the rain.
Deer don’t have calendars, so the deer year is divided into three parts:
- The early season (before the rut),
- The rut (mating season), and
- The post-rut
During the early season and the post-rut season, deer prefer not to move when there is moderate rain. A drizzle will have no impact.
However, during their annual rut, bucks will shed their cautious nature and start moving to breed. Even moderately heavy rain won’t stop them from moving around.
Do Whitetail Deer Move in the Rain?
Light rain doesn’t affect whitetail deer as much as it does some other cervid species.
If the rain becomes too much for them to handle, whitetail deer move to densely wooded areas.
This gives them a sense of familiarity and the deer can still maintain their daily habits.
Things become difficult, however, if the rain turns into a severe storm.
Sometimes whitetail deer keep up their usual behavior in heavy rainfall, but they more often behave like other deer and hunker down. This is especially true if the heavy rainfall stops them from quickly detecting predators and other dangers.
Do Deer Bed Down in the Rain?
Deer will bed down only in secure locations with cover. Bedding areas within their preferred habitat will be relatively dry.
So during moderate or higher intensity rains, many deer bed down in a protected area where they aren’t exposed to the full fury of the elements.
Bedding also helps them keep warm and cozy. Being in a familiar place gives cervids a sense of security when it’s difficult to hear and see.
Is it Worth Deer Hunting in the Rain?
It’s usually not worth your while to hunt in the rain. You’re less likely than at other times to see deer, and you’ll get soaked.
At the same time, there is one advantage to hunting deer in the rain. If you do see a deer moving around, the rain will negatively impact its ability to detect danger, helping to conceal you.
Their sense of smell (especially if there’s wind along with the rain) and their vision are hampered. This is to your advantage.
If things go well, you can get closer and get a clear shot at the deer before it can detect you.
If you can hunt near known deer bedding areas, you have a better than average chance of seeing deer in heavy rain.
Do you hunt from a tree stand? You probably shouldn’t hunt in the rain. You might have luck in a light drizzle, but don’t expect a deer to wander by your tree stand if it’s pouring.
Wrap Up: Do Deer Move in the Rain?
If you’re a hunter and have wondered if you should try hunting in the rain, now you have all the information you need.
In most cases, trying to hunt in heavy rain is a waste of time. Save your energy for better weather when deer will be moving around more. After several days of heavy rain is a perfect time to hunt – the deer will be hungry and on the move.
While heavy rain impedes a deer’s senses and makes it easier for you to get near them, this is only if they’re moving around. Most deer know better and stay in their bedding areas.
How heavy the rainfall is, the time of year, and what the weather has been like over the last few days are all things you need to think about when deciding whether to hunt deer in rainy conditions.