Temperature definitely affects deer movement, but how it does so is determined by location.
QUESTION: I have heard that deer will lay up until temperatures get above freezing. Is this true, and at what temperature will they start moving? — Glenn E.
ANSWER: How temperature affects deer depends, to a certain extent, on location.
Ask any Saskatchewan outfitter, and they’ll tell you the colder, the better. My experiences hunting there has borne that out. Deer movement there is relatively slow until temperatures drop into the single digits and even below zero (Fahrenheit). Furthermore, research on deer in the northern U.S. has shown once they’ve grown their winter coat, daytime movement drops off considerably as temperatures rise above the mid 40s.
It’s a different story in the South. I’ve also spent a considerable amount of time hunting there, most often in January, and have observed how a deep cold can sometimes subdue deer movement. My good friend K.C. Nelson from Alabama has observed that deer will often wait until the frost melts before entering a food plot. — Recent Ask the Biologist Question:
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