Do Deer Move In The Rain?

Any hunter worth their salt will have wondered whether deer move on rainy days. Some studies have shown that bucks especially have a tendency to move when it is windier than when it is calm. But, will this phenomenon occur on rainy days too? 

Some hunters have the belief that deer tend to move more in the rain bucks, does, fawns, when it begins to rain slightly, they come out of the woodwork. Or so they say. But how much truth is there in this belief? 

We are going to find out in this article. 

What Does The Research Say?

There have been many biologists that have specialized in whitetail deer and their habits. These people have attempted to answer these questions and this is what they have found out. 

Big game coordinators such as Levi Jaster for example, believes that deer are not very affected by the rain. They live outdoors and often have to deal with the rain and so do not particularly care about it.

Deer care more about avoiding predators and getting all the food and nutrition that they need. Overall, many of the big biologists and gamekeepers believe that deer moving in the rain is not something that can be cut and dried.

The answer is very complex because there is not much consistency in supporting either claim 

That being said, some of the research indicates that deer have a tendency to move more when there is light rain. But not everyone agrees with this statement.

Then there is the disparity in the location of the deer. For example, a deer in Texas will not see much rain, but a deer in New England will see much more of it. Each animal will have a different reaction to the rain, whether it is moderate or heavy. 

One thing we do know about deer is that they are crepuscular, which means that they have a tendency to move the most when the sun is rising or setting. So, regardless of the weather, they are more likely to move at this time of day. 

Other research states that a change in temperature is more likely to affect a deer more than the weather. An animal that is attempting to stay warmer or cooler might adapt their movements to achieve either goal.

In addition to this, a deer cannot stand still and not eat for hours of the day just because it is raining. These animals are ruminants, which means that deer rely on the microbes in their gut to help with digestion.

These helpful microbes cannot live long without food and as a result deer need to eat to maintain this delicate balance. So, regardless of the rain, they will need to eat in order to maintain their gut and the microbes that live there. 

Is It Worth Hunting In The Rain?

The next question is, would hunting deer in the rain be worth your time? Well, there are negatives and positives associated with hunting when it is raining. 

One of the biggest positives to hunting in the rain is the fact that rain can wash away some scent molecules which might work against the deer, even if the humidity improves the deer’s sense of smell. 

Another good thing about hunting in the rain is the environment. The moisture softens twigs and leaves, so you will hopefully not hear that heart-stopping snap as you step on a twig. In short, rain can improve your environment and make stalking easier. 

Just as there are good things about hunting in the rain, there are of course the negatives. 

Rain can affect more than just the deer’s movement, for example, some biologists think that the rain can increase the effectiveness of a deer’s nose and as a result, they may be able to detect you easier.

Moisture has a way of trapping scent in an area. In addition to this, rain can mean wind patterns will be less predictable, which can mean your position will be given away if you are not very careful.

Do Deer Move in the Rain?

Nothing is more upsetting than coming home empty-handed after hours of sitting in the cold rain.

Other than a potential increase in smell, the rain may make deer more alert because their ability to spot prey has been diminished. As a result, they will likely be more alert and cut your hunt short. 

Another negative of hunting in the rain could be that tracks can be washed away, which once again means you might lose your quarry. 

Finally, rain has a tendency to make mud and mud can be slippery, which will make the terrain unsafe. Your safety is of far more importance than bagging a deer. 

So, When Are Deer More Likely To Move? 

There are several factors that go into when a deer is more likely to move or come out and graze. The time of day and the season for example are big factors. 

Time Of Day

As we have already found out, deer are more active during dawn and dusk and have a tendency to sleep during the day. But, this is not always the rule.

They might be active during the day, morning, or afternoon. This is especially the case when it is rutting season.

But as a general rule, deer stay closer to their sleeping spots in the day, even if they do move a little to get some food. 


The season of course plays a role when it comes to deer activity. For example, when their food of choice is abundant between April and September, these animals will of course be more active.

Browsing on the alfalfa, soybeans, and a wide variety of other plants. Similarly, between September and October, the acorns tend to fall and this is when you are also likely to see deer as this is one of their favorite foods.

In addition to the seasons, paying attention to the weather can indeed help improve your chances of seeing deer.

For example, after the rain, some experts have found that deer tend to eat more. So, if you plan your hunting trip to be just after the rain, you may be more likely to run into deer moving to graze. 

Final Thoughts

So, in conclusion, the answer to this question can be tricky. We have looked at a wide variety of sources and found that the data is not particularly conclusive.

There are some cases where impressive bucks have been seen moving when it is lightly raining, but this is not consistent and may vary depending on one the weather for a particular area.

For example, a deer in a dry climate might tend to stop moving when it rains because it is not something that happens frequently enough to stop them from getting the food that they need. 

But, planning your hunting trips or your viewing trips according to a deer’s most active time of day in the twilight may be a better bet if you are hell-bent on seeing one.

George Alexander
Latest posts by George Alexander (see all)
%d bloggers like this: