This is a very common question that many people ask, and if you haven’t thought about it twice, you might want to consider, because it is, nonetheless, an intriguing question.
But, if you have been studying the movements of deer for quite a while now and have still been unable to figure out exactly where they go and what they do throughout the course of the day, this article might help you find the answer to that question.
Spotting deer during the day is often difficult. You might have seen them prancing around on the edge of the road as you drive at night, catching their eyes in the headlights of your car.
But, oddly enough, spotting deer during the day is much more difficult than you might think.
It’s not really possible to track the location of each deer as it moves about during the course of the day, but there are a few ways to identify their behavior. To do that, you need to look for factors such as weather, as that will help you understand where they go to hide.
Is Stalking Deer Wise?
There are some expert techniques that you need to follow if you want to stalk deer properly.
As experienced hunters might tell you, stalking deer is incredibly difficult. It’s not easy at all, because if the animal catches even a whiff of you, they are going to bolt off into the sunset.
That is one of the main reasons why you need to understand that patience is of the utmost importance when it comes to stalking deer. Deer have considerably heightened senses and are able to identify when someone is following them, so even if you make a little sound out of turn, you will probably alert the deer, and they are going to run off.
In some cases, you might spot a large herd of deer within the first few minutes of taking up your spot, and in most other situations, you might not even see a single deer even after spending countless hours transfixed in one spot.
The reason why deer are able to avoid you so exceptionally is because they have a heightened sense of smell.
Deer can easily smell humans from a mile away, and as soon as they do that, they are able to run off. If you are close to the deer habitat and are not using any kind of scent to cover yourself up, you are doing it wrong.
Without the use of artificial smell or a special scent, you are simply giving away your position without even realizing it.
If the deer identifies you near their habitat, they are not going to come out at all, and all of your time will be wasted. As mentioned, deer are incredibly alert of danger and are able to keep themselves at a distance.
Research has also shown that deer are more active during the day time, and are able to cover much more distance in the day as compared to the dark.
However, when it comes to traveling in open areas, deer usually take a safer approach, and tend to move in the dark. This usually happens when the deer begin to run out of food, or during the autumn season.
During the spring time or the rainy season, deer tend to showcase more activity in the day. So now, let’s focus on other factors that affect their movement.
Weather Is a Big Factor
We have already highlighted the fact that weather affects the movement of deer during the course of the day.
Deer usually travel from their safe area and venture out in search of food. However, if the weather conditions are not suitable for them, they usually change their plan.
For instance, if it starts raining, deer like to hide and cover their bodies under long plantations. During the winter season, deer tend to move around in the sunny areas to get an adequate supply of heat and to get food.
During the summer months, deer usually seek abode close to the sources of water, and their peak movements usually take off at around 8 a.m.
Cloudy skies are usually the best for deer activity. However, as mentioned above, rain restricts their movement considerably. During the windy weather, their movements are also affected.
So, if the weather is rainy or windy, you can pretty much take a guess that the deer are hidden under the plantations.
Hiding in the Day
Deer also prefer to hide in their bedding during the day time. Deer tend to expend a great deal of energy during the course of the day, and they usually prefer to get a quick nap in the daylight. That is one of the main reasons why you don’t see them frolicking about so much during the day.
Deer usually like to hide in thick bushes during the day, and they cover themselves up very well.
In some cases, female deer also help the newborn deer to hide properly, and they even tuck them in before plopping beside them in a protective stance. It’s going to be very difficult for you to trace the deer if they are hidden in their bedding.
However, you should know that these instances are relatively little; deer prefer to stay up during the day time. When they are searching for food, they usually move around in open areas, and for such movements, they prefer the night.
The Sun and Moon Also Affect Deer Activity
There’s been a considerable amount of research that proves that the deer feeding hours tend to increase during the full moon, and they also increase when the moon moves toward the other side of the surface.
On the other hand, when the sun begins to rise, deer usually begin to move forward for their food, and begin to return when dawn nears.
So, if you want to track deer as they move in hunt of their food, you might want to start when the sunlight is still spreading. It’s also quite easy for you to find deer when the sunlight is at its peak.
The Fall Rut
The fall rut often impacts the movement of different animals, and deer is one of them.
But, unlike most animals, deer activity tends to intensify during the fall rut, and you can easily see these animals rambling about more often. In some cases, deer tend to move throughout the day and night during the fall rut.
As a hunter, this might be the best time for you to trace deer. However, you should know that the rut is not a specific period for different areas; it differs considerably depending on the topography of the region.
Deer continue to move during this period, so if you are serious about tracking these majestic animals, you have to make sure that you learn about the fall rut.
The Winter Season
During the winter season, deer activity slows down considerably. In fact, this is the best time for you to spot these animals. Deer are incredibly adaptive to their surroundings, and can easily survive the cold without much of a problem.
However, there’s been conclusive research confirming that deer activity slows down significantly during the winter season.
Deer tend to leave their homes atop mountains and move into the bottom valleys, as there is less snow in those regions. Not only that, but there are also more conifers which attract deer, as it gives them a suitable hiding spot.
Deer tend to eat considerably during the autumn season, and they have to rely on this layer of fat to get through the winter season.
Basically, autumn is the time in which they prepare their bodies for the winter; they tend to eat a lot, and ultimately develop a layer of fat that helps them stave off the cold.
During the snowy weather and the rough winters, their movement tends to decrease by more than one third. Due to this reason, their body weight falls considerably, often by a considerable margin.
Deer Like to Take Excursions
Research has shown that deer also like excursions, or vacations, away from their houses. These short excursions are usually outside of their established home range, and they often do it regularly.
However, deer are quite careful, and they take these excursions on well-managed properties. They look for properties with a higher habitat.
Their excursions have been documented across various regions, and in several landscapes. Almost all age classes of deer have been known to take excursions, and this usually happens year round.
But, as mentioned above, there is a spike in their movements during the rut season.
Another thing that you should know is that there is absolutely no way to predict how far or where the buck is going to go. Their movements, especially those that have been recorded, are completely random.
They Are Very Responsive
One of the traits that has evolved in these animals over the passage of time is how to respond to hunting pressure. Deer are incredibly responsive when it comes to hunting pressure.
If a buck realizes that you are onto their trail, they are going to bolt off, and you will have a hard time tracking them down. That doesn’t mean that it’s impossible; but it’s something that requires a considerable amount of expertise on your part.
For instance, there was a study in which deer movements were tracked. Deer that had spent quite a bit of time in open areas and fields were careful to avoid those areas until after the dark once the hunting season had opened.
They realized that their lives were under threat, and decided to hide away.
Deer usually like to hide in places where they cannot be easily exposed. They prefer grassy bedding, as we have mentioned, and they like to remain hidden as much as possible.
It’s going to be virtually impossible for you to stumble upon a grassy bed of deer hiding, but that’s because of their sharp senses.
By the time you arrive, the deer will have gone. They prefer dense foliage and tall grass, and they prefer to hide themselves, even partially, as much as they can before falling asleep.
However, the problem with this is that it leaves a distinct impression in the bush, and when the deer leave, hunters are able to find out where they last rested.
One thing that’s different with deer and various other animals is their irregular sleep schedule. Whereas most animals prefer to sleep during the night, deer aren’t that consistent. In fact, they have a very inconsistent sleeping schedule, but this allows them to conserve their energy.
Ultimately, this helps them take advantage of the night, and allows them to move quietly. It’s one of the reasons why most deer are more active in the night than they are during the day.
During the winter months, deer tend to sleep in direct sunlight, as this helps them stay warm. During the night, deer tend to move much more frequently, and they like to move straight toward the wind.
This helps them detect and avoid predators in the area, primarily because these animals have a very strong sense of smell. There are many reasons why you might want to track the movements of deer.
In some cases, people like to track deer movements so that they know where they are living and what areas to avoid.
In other situations, people want to know deer movements so that they can track and hunt them. You have to study the movements of deer carefully, and if you are going to hunt deer, you need to make sure that you use as painless a method as possible.
These are just a few things that you should know about tracking deer movements, and where they tend to go during the day. As long as you are careful, you won’t have much of a problem in finding out their movements!
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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Wednesday 24th of February 2021
Hey l have been getting about 8 deer every day coming to my house, morning around 6am and they come back around 6 pm and my wife feeds them all. I spend about $500 a month and l need to know what is good for them. I have been giving them fruit, grapes potatoes apples lettuce and bananas. I just started giving them deer food from the feed store and that is $20 a bag. One of them a doe broke her back leg in the snow. She is in a lot of pain and I have been giving her a aspirin, l put it in a little piece of apple. Is that ok or not? Thanks ?
Thursday 24th of February 2022
@Pat, Too bad no one answered your question on this forum. Im just a fellow reader as well but read your comment and makes me wonder how your herd of deer are doing and even the hurt one. Hope all is ok.