Deer Hunting in the Rain

Anthony Cote
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Do Deer Come Out if it’s Raining?

Deer hunting in the rain can be tough sometimes. But if it is a warm rain, many times deer will still come out and feed in a field. It is tough to detect them in the rain and hear them under the rain, but do not let that discourage you. Also, the deer could see you and your scent and flee the area. However, there are a couple of tricks to consider…

Use a field edge to your advantage. Most deer will feed until the rain gets heavy. That is the time when they will typically scatter and seek shelter. By staying by a field edge, and the area where they exit the field, you will have a better chance of getting a shot at them and keeping the deer in a smaller area to get them all in your sights. It will also aid you in tracking their movement and finding where they are hiding.

Another trick is to use natural vegetation. When the rain is heavy, the deer will seek the nearest place to get cover. By purposely placing vegetation all around the area, you will scare them into staying by that cover until the rain passes.

Are Deer More Active During Rain?

When the outside temperature is below freezing and water is present, the deer’s body is losing heat through the exhalation of water vapors. Therefore, the deer must counteract this heat loss by increasing its core temperature. One way the deer maintains its core temperature is by increasing its activity level. When the ground and the air are both above freezing and there is no or little precipitation, the deer’s body is not losing a great deal of heat through the loss of water vapors. As a result, the deer does not need to raise its core temperature very much or very often to recoup this loss of body heat. When the deer perceives that an area is safe, there are plants to eat, the wind is not blowing, and the outside temperature is above freezing, the deer activity level is likely to be low.

When the fog, rain, or snow makes it difficult for the hunter to see the deer, the deer’s activity level will be high. The fog, rain, and snow make it difficult for the deer to see the hunter. Therefore, the deer are likely to escape into cover or descend into a valley to elude a visual encounter with the human.

How to Prepare for Deer Hunting During Rain

Rain is the mother of all inconveniences for deer hunters. A warm, grey sky and a steady drizzle means the woods are like a refrigerator.

Check the forecast before you hit the woods. The deer will likely be holed up in a warm, dry spot. Look for rubs and tracks, but be careful that they weren’t made while the deer was walking through mud.

When it rains, the deer may not want to leave their bedding areas, especially at night. They may come out to feed during the rain, but it’s more likely that they will stick close to home.

This can be a good thing, especially if you’re stuck in your stand because of the rain. Not being able to move around very much during hunting season will draw deer in close, but they could spook at the slightest movement. So be as still as possible.

If you have picked a great location and have chosen a stand with a good view, your chances will be better in the rain. If the ground is on a slight incline, you may be able to get to your deer before it moves out of range.

Rain Gear

You should be wearing your rain gear before you get the least bit wet. Having enough dry cloths to put on once you are soaked is a good idea. You don’t want to get hypothermic, so put on the rain gear, then a warm layer. Also, your boots will get wet and colder than you will be. Slipping your feet into a plastic bag and pulling it tight over the boot helps keep your feet dry and warm for a little longer.

Boots

The boots you buy are important pieces of gear that should last you a while. The cheaper route is not always the better route.

It's better to tough it out in some properly matched boots than to spend a few extra dollars on some that will get you wet. The extra money spent will be worth it when your feet are dry the whole day long.

Wool socks are a great idea for keeping your feet warm. A lot of rubber boots, even the non-breathable heavier duty ones, have breathable uppers so you won't overheat.

When choosing socks, let the boots work for your feet and your feet work for the boots. The process is like a seesaw.

If you are going to be sitting in a tree stand, then a pair of knee-high socks and some compression socks underneath will suffice.

If you are climbing stairs alot, it is good to have socks that work well in the boot. The sock should not bunch up inside of the boot, which can create blisters.

If you find that your boots are not comfortable with a normal pair of socks, it may mean that you would only be able to tolerate thin cotton socks.

The best way to make sure that you won't have problems is to wear the boots in and train yourself to stretch around any tight spots. The boots also need to be broken in before the season.

Backpack

Or Drag?

Use a backpack. A deer’s sense are in hyper-drive after being treed, and no matter what the conditions are, it’s a guarantee the deer will smell you—or more importantly hear, see or feel you—once you touch the ground.

Be Extra Quiet Deer are spooky this time of year and making too much noise is a quick way to blow your shot and your chance at a deer. Clothing choices can be the difference between taking home a trophy and coming home empty-handed.

Stay Dry It’s important to limit your time on the ground. But sometimes it’s unavoidable. If you find yourself on the ground, do everything you can to stay dry. Taking a trek around a wet swamp may smell good to deer—but it’ll put you in the line of fire.

Calls Upon Calls If a whitetail’s ears perk up, you can bet the rut is on. Early season sightings are rare, but if you manage to creep in on a group of does, anything can happen, which is usually a doe, or several does, flying out of the herd, sometime in your direction.

Continuity

Deer hunting in the rain might not sound like the most ideal situation, but with a few modifications, it could be very conducive to your success. As with any type of hunting, the most advice-worthy factor is to establish a starting point and discontinue your trip once you have reached it.

Unsuccessful endeavors occur when people fail to assess their surroundings and how the weather is going to affect them.

Delay your trip until the rain passes. The most important piece of advice which cannot be forgotten, is that you cannot afford to be uncomfortable.

Deer hunting is not about enduring adverse conditions, it is about making the most of what the situation yields.

Like all hunting, deer hunting can be practiced year-round. As with any type of hunting, if you are in an area where specific licenses are necessary, be sure you acquire them. It could be worth your while researching how to find a hunting club in your area to learn from others and see what resources are available.

Remember to respect the animals you hunt, practice safety, and enjoy the peacefulness of nature.

Test Runs

A deer stand needs to be tested out before the actual hunting day. This is important because you want to ensure your safety. This can be done by practicing in the backyard.

You also want to see how comfortable you are able to stay in your stand. This is why even experienced hunting individuals will practice in their backyard before actually going out hunting.

You also want to test your gear. You don’t want something to break or fall apart right when you need it most. Checking in with your equipment is a key step to ensuring you are prepared.

Test runs are much more than just practice though, you want to see how comfortable you are actually going to be in your stand. The stand needs to be strong enough to support your weight, and it needs to feel safe.

Tactics

Hunting in the backwoods of the south, I see a lot of deer in the rain. Over the years I have found that smelling like the rain, or the woods, is very enticing to those deer.

When deer smell the rain on you, they usually don’t run away. Deer may even come up to you to investigate what that smell is. The odor of deer on a raindrop will pass through the air and nearby deer will investigate where it’s coming from.

Your best chance to get close to a deer is to blend in with their environment and smell like you belong there.

I’ve found that the more important rule is to stay near the wet ground. Deer can smell you better when you are on higher ground. They aren’t as likely to detect you from down on the ground.

Also, after it rains, the woods look different to the deer and they pay more attention to how it looks. Staying low also reduces your human silhouetting signature, helping to keep you undetected.

People are not the only ones who can get out and hunt, dogs can manage it too. Many dogs can be instructed to stay down low, but even if they cannot, hunting in the rain with natural odors on you from the terrain is less likely to spook the animals.

Heavy Storms and Downpours

It’s been a long winter, and all deer hunters know the first day of spring is a very big day. You remember the thrill and excitement you had when the first day of spring arrived last year.

Every year since then, you set your alarm clock to make sure you don’t miss the first day of spring. But, what you’re not expecting is the snow storm outside.

Snow? No way! The ground is supposed to be dry as a bone.

The first snowfall of the season is something you can’t control. So, how do you go hunting on the first day of spring when you wake up to snow falling on the ground? The best way to deal with this is to scout the area before the first snow comes down. You should visit your hunting area before the weather turns sour, because if you didn’t and you see deer sign than on the first of spring you might think the deer haven’t moved up to mating grounds yet and then you will postpone your hunting trip.

Light Rain or Misting

If you've never hunted deer before or if it's rained the day before you plan to hunt, you are probably wondering if you will see deer in the rain. For most hunters, getting up at four in the morning to sit in the rain is not a very good deal. There is a simple solution to this problem.

Rain, for the most part, does not factor into deer hunting that much. The reason is that deer are usually most active in the morning and early afternoon. Since it is usually during these times that it rains the most, finding deer can be easier than you think.

The more it rains, the less effect it has on deer, but there may be a slight disturbance in their activity. This generally slows them down, but doesn't change their behavior. Deer are an adaptable species that can be pressured in nearly any situation.

If there is a light misting, or just a little light drizzle, you can still see deer, but you'll need to be a bit more observant than usual. The deer may move a bit slower than usual, but they will still be moving.

One thing to watch for is a lack of tracks. The deer may be in the area, but they're not leaving any tracks.

You will also see some deer congregating lower than they normally would.

Is it worth it?

Deer hunting in the rain may prove more difficult than you imagine, but it can be fun. First, you'll need a quality raincoat and cap. Get the right rain gear to protect and keep you warm. Second, you'll need a plan and an understanding of what can and cannot be done.

When would it be worth it to go deer hunting in the rain?

The key here is to find your animals, and this can be more difficult in wet weather. I like to use the "when they're hot, they're less active and when they're cold, they're more active" theory.

Here are a few times to attempt your adventure:

Early/Late Season

This is a great time to attempt deer hunting in the rain. Deer are in their breeding stage now, and you're more likely to find them feeding slowly during this time because they are conserving energy and nutrients for survival. Plus, you can probably make it home in time to watch Monday Night Football.

Cool Weather

Deer are not moving much during cool weather, but you still have the chance to find your buck. Use your ground blind to wait and see what comes to you. If you can get to him, you have a better chance.