Ask The Biologist

Outstanding in Their Field

Outstanding in Their Field

By Bob Humphrey

Is there any explanation why deer sometimes feed in the open in broad daylight?

QUESTION: I was driving home the other day and saw several deer feeding in a field. It was the middle of the day, and they were just standing out in plain sight. I’ve never seen this before. Is it unusual? What would cause deer to act like this? The place is hunted in the fall.

ANSWER: I have observed this occasionally as well and wish I had done a better job of recording things like time, date, weather, temperature and such. Most of the research on deer activity shows that they are crepuscular – most active around dawn and dusk – least active during the middle of the day, and that the aforementioned variables have little, if any, influence on activity levels.

Still, there are certain days when deer are more active, even well outside normal activity periods. I’ve also observed that wildlife activity in general tends to be higher on those days. If I see a lot of squirrels out feeding as I’m driving to my treestand, I expect a higher probability of seeing deer that afternoon, and it usually works out to be the case.

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