Do Deer Move in the Rain?

Do Deer Move in the Rain?

Author: DeerLab
Published: October 20, 2022

“Just as hunters commonly wonder if, and how, deer move on windy days, they question whether or not if, and how, deer move in the rain, too. The science proved that deer — especially bucks — tend to move more on windy days than calm ones, dispelling the myth that deer don’t move in high winds. Will it do the same for rainy days?

For the past couple of decades, I’ve held the belief that deer move more in the rain. Not heavy rain, mind you, but light to moderate precipitation. I can count the number of times I’ve sat in a treestand or ground blind, had little deer movement, and then they came out of the woodworks as the rain started falling from the sky.

I killed my biggest buck ever in the rain, which I self-filmed for Realtree’s Monster Bucks.

I sat through a steady rain shower, and as it began to subside, deer poured out of the bedding area in front of me. First, a couple of nice 2-year-olds. Then a yearling buck. Then the giant velvet 8-pointer. Even more bucks, does, and fawns walked out afterward. They all fed out in the clover in front of me, all while it misted rain. Eventually, I got a shot opportunity and made it count.

That wasn’t the only incident I’ve seen or shot deer during or just after a rain event. It’s happened numerous times.

That said, I think rain is more likely to get deer on their feet on warmer days, especially during the early season. Generally, rain cools you down, which gives deer reprieve from the heat, effectively getting them up on their feet.

I think rain showers that occur mid- to late-afternoon have even more power to get deer up and moving. When conditions align with crepuscular (dawn and dusk) movement, I believe it increases deer activity, even more than crepuscular movements without additional triggers.

But I’m not a biologist, and my experiences aren’t peer-reviewed research studies. So, let’s look at some deer science.

What’s Does Research Show about Deer Movement in the Rain?

Several colleges with teams dedicated to whitetail biology and behavior have attempted to address this question. While general whitetail behavior isn’t the focus of most wildlife agencies and DNRs (they focus on resource management), even some of them have studied the impact of rain on whitetail movement.

The full article from DeerLab can be found here.

Photo Credit: Original Author

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