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Do Deer Move in the Rain?

Back To "Ask The Biologist?"The answer might surprise you!

QUESTION: Bob, do deer move in rain? - Lisa T.

ANSWER: Actually, that’s a very good question, Lisa.

Do Deer Move in the Rain?

According to results from one study conducted by Dr. Mickey Hellickson in Texas, deer movement did not change during a 0.85-inch rain event, but increased 70 percent during a 2-inch rain event. Other research shows that rain has little effect on deer movement.

My personal observations have been slightly different, though I freely admit they are largely anecdotal, with little research to back them up. 

I’ve observed that deer move less during a heavy rain event, though they may move more before and after as barometric pressure rises and falls. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t move in rain. 

Once, I shot a deer in near hurricane conditions, and a hunting partner of mine shot one during a torrential downpour.

I’ve also observed that deer seem to move more during a light rain event … sometimes. 

This is largely speculative, but I believe there might be several reasons for this.

One is that heavy cloud cover results in lower light conditions that more closely resemble twilight hours, when deer naturally move more. 

Rain events also often coincide with lower temperatures, which spur increased deer movement.

Regardless, if I could pick the ideal conditions to hunt during the rain, I’d ask for light rain with temperatures in the low 40s.

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