How to hunt whitetail deer in the rain?
Deer will be active all day during a steady rain, especially if the wet weather lasts for several days. Don’t let these conditions discourage you! The deer are out there and they must eat and socialize (especially during the rut). Plan on being out there with them! Photo by BillKinney.com.
Nothing puts a “damper” on deer camp like the chatter of a hard rain on the roof. Suddenly, no one wants to get up, no one wants to go out, and everyone sits around lamenting the loss of a good hunting day. I have seen hunters pack up and go home days early because rain was in the forecast. What’s worse is, the gloom outside soon begins to affect the atmosphere inside. Just like that, a precious week of vacation — and deer hunting — is lost.
I know how rain affects hunters, but many hunters don’t really know how rain affects deer.
In general, rain means nothing to whitetails unless it’s pouring cats and dogs. When this happens, all wildlife (and human life) activity stalls until the storm is over. But when rain is light or only a steady drizzle falls, deer just go about their business as if it were a sunny day. The glitch is, “light” rain to a deer may seem like a soaker to a hunter who’s worried about his gear, his clothes and his health (don’t catch a cold!).
During the hunting season, rain is not a deterrent to deer movement. From my experience, whitetails don’t vary their habits a bit just because it’s raining.
For example, one of my favorite hunting spots is a box blind overlooking a field corner where deer come to feed near dusk every day, year ’round. I can relax, brew tea and glass the entire area without being seen and, thanks to the plywood box, I can do it with no fear of getting wet.
Deer come to the field every day except on very hot days, extremely windy days or when there’s a torrential downpour. At any other time, including drizzle, light rain or even heavy rain, they show up on cue: does and fawns first; small bucks next; and then, near dark, the real bruisers I’m after.
If anything, rain makes deer more content and less skittish. My guess is the endless drone of the rain through the woods, the constant motion of twigs and brush being moved by falling rain drops, and the overall dismal appearance of the woods lulls the animals into thinking everything’s just fine.
On clear, dry, cold days the deer come out tentatively, ears up and eyes on the blind, almost aching to find some reason to flee. On rainy days, however, they walk into the field, give the blind a cursory look and begin feeding without a care in the world. They seem almost docile compared to their behavior on clear days.