Contrary to what most of us are told and believe, hunting deer in bad weather can be productive. Yes, there are times to stay in bed when the weather turns sour. But, generally, deer hunting in the rain, storm, or snow can put a buck on the wall and meat in your freezer.
I became enlightened to the benefit of foul weather hunting early on in my deer hunting career. Let me share with you some experiences that should help those who, for whatever reasons, have convinced themselves to stay home when the weather gets bad.
Preparation for Deer Hunting in Rain, Storm, or Snow
Probably the most essential factor in successful foul weather hunting is protecting your body and equipment from the elements. If you don’t dress right – you’ll never be able to stay standing long.
If you neglect your equipment by not protecting it appropriately, I can almost guarantee the result. And the result will be equipment failure and an unfortunate experience as far as foul weather hunting goes.
The same goes for other animals like the mule deer. Mule deer have a bit different behave and tendency during the normal to the rainy season.
Deer Hunting Clothing in Rain and Storm
Foul weather deer hunting requires some special preparation and planning for both your tactics and equipment. By thinking ahead and employing some unusual strategies, you can brave all but the most hostile of weather conditions and come out victorious.
Here are water-resistant jackets:
Best for wind and rain: SITKA Gear Men’s Jetstream Hunting Jacket
Best for durability: North Mountain Gear Leafy Hunting Suit
The first step in foul weather preparedness must start long before you leave for your favorite hunting ground. Does not matter if you are planning for buck hunting or hunting in the forest, you need to have proper deer hunting in the rain planning.
If you’re prepared for the worst weather, you can remain comfortable and stay in the woods long after other hunters have given up and headed back to camp.
Deer hunting in the rain
Dressing in layers, wearing quiet rain gear, bringing a dry change of clothes, and using hand warmers are some essential points to remember. Over the years, I have found that wool clothing offers excellent protection from the elements as well as being quiet.
It is what I use over a layer of long underwear. On top of the wool, I wear a quality set of rainproof jackets and pants. Wearing the right hat (one that diverts rain away from your eyes and the back of your neck), gloves and socks are also crucial to successful foul weather hunting.
Outfitted with quality clothing, you can put your first strategy into play. Staying warm and dry assures that you will remain on stand During snowstorms, you can quietly track deer into their bedding and feeding locations. You can also patiently position yourself on known trails.
Deer Hunting in the Snow
During a snowstorm, deer traditionally move a few times along trails to feed and bed down again — even if they’re not traveling far from their bedding areas. Waiting along these trails during a continuing snowstorm can pay off handsomely.
Besides, there will be a flurry of activity after the storm ends. At first, the movement is concentrated close to the bedding areas, and it eventually disperses (within 24 hours) to natural feeding areas. Knowing what the deer were feeding on before the storm and waiting there after the storm, will result in a successful buck hunt.
Next, and probably the most crucial factor in successful foul weather hunting, is protecting your body and equipment from the elements. If you don’t dress right – you’ll never be able to stay on standing long. If you neglect your equipment by not protecting it appropriately, I can almost guarantee the result will be equipment failure and bad experience as far as foul weather hunting goes.
Footwear for Deer Hunting in Bad Weather
The next strategy is to keep your feet DRY AND WARM. Waiting for or stalking a buck in a cold rain can play havoc on your feet, especially when they are wet and cold.
Some hunting boots:
Best waterproof footwear for deer hunting: Irish Setter Men’s 2870
Perfect for hunting in extreme cold: Muck Boot Woody Max
There is no compromising on this matter. A quality pair of warm, comfortable, waterproof boots are an absolute necessity. If you don’t heed this advice about using quality footwear, your hunting will be over before it starts!
Is Deer Hunting Good in the Rain
Some people especially the hunters may thing that deer don’t come out in the rain. The question comes into many of our minds “is it good to hunt whitetail deer in the rain?”
The truth is, they come out to feed themselves after a few hours. So, you can be prepared to hunt them in the rainy season in with the bow.
Deer Hunting in the Rain with Bow
Sometimes, bow hunting deer in the rain can be problematic if you take the rain, cold and bad weather into consideration. At the same time, it gives you ample opportunity, as well as the deer, comes out for food giving you better chances to hit them with your best shooting compound bow. Here are some tips you can follow
Where Do Deer Go When it Rains
As we have known that the deer usually comes out in the rain, we should know where do deer go when it rains. Normally in the rain movement of deer changes a bit and they tend to go to a different place than normal.
Find out the spot where deer goes in the rain and there you can have your best compound bow aiming at them.
Pack Only the Gear You Need Most
I know it is important for you to be with all the essentials for bow hunting the deer in rain or snow. But take a look, what you need. Pick the really essential ones.
And you can make a checklist for bowhunting in the rain and hunting in the normal season.
Protective Clothing for Bowhunting
You are hunting in the rain for deer and you will need proper protective clothing that will save your skin from the rain. Sometimes rain can be cold, so wear something that makes you warm and comfortable.
Use proper shoes for elk and deer hunting, that doesn’t go wrong in the water. Pair of waterproofing shoes can be a good choice.
Wait for Heavy Rain for Bowhunting the Deer
It is better to wait a while before starting your hunt, Deer will not go outside at the first few hours of rain. So, you don’t have to waste that time.
See the forecast for how long it is going to rain and then prepare for the different types of whitetail and blacktail deer hunting in the rain.
How to Keep Deer Hunting Equipment Safe in Rain
Besides protecting yourself against the elements, it is equally essential to protect your equipment.
Keeping the Optics Safe in Rain and Snow
If you’re using optics, make sure it is a quality waterproof hunting scope and other optics that have either flip-up or another style of lens covers to keep the lenses dry and bright.
I always carry a soft, absorbent cloth to occasionally wipe water or snow off my optics, if need be. It’s a good idea to take several packets of lens cleaning paper to repeatedly clean optic lenses, too.
A camera lens cleaning brush is included in my pack to wipe off debris and a small gun cleaning rod in the event I fall accidentally, and my muzzle clogs with mud or snow. In other words, when hunting in rain and stormy weather, I am prepared to stay out as long as possible to track.
Keeping the Rifle Safe in Rainy Weather
If you’re using a rifle in sub-freezing weather, be sure you’ve disassembled the bolt and de-greased it. Bolts can and do freeze in weather as warm as twenty degrees. Reassemble the lock and lubricate it sparingly with lightweight gun oil.
Heavy grease may cause the bolt to freeze solid or, just as bad, and the primer may strike so lightly it won’t ignite the round.
It’s also a good idea to put a light coating of car wax on your gun’s barrel. It makes rain and snow slip off the barrel just like it does from the hood of your car or truck. This will help protect it from dampness and allow you to keep your mind on the activity at hand — hunting –, not rust!
Use odorless wax. Once you’ve learned how successful you can be when hunting during foul weather, you may eventually want to purchase an all-weather rifle with a synthetic stock.
Preparing for Food in Bad Weather Hunting
Lastly, in this category, a strategy that pays for itself over and over again is to never go afield in foul weather without a thermos of hot liquid (soup or broth) and some food items. Nothing helps to persuade you out of the woods faster than a hungry stomach or a chill that cuts to the bone.
It’s incredible how a thermos of hot soup and some food can turn a miserable day into one that’s at least tolerable.
Surviving in the Rain During Deer Hunt
Although most of my foul weather hunting is done on a daily basis and most likely, yours will be too, accidents can and do happen — especially in inclement weather when the ground is slippery.
Therefore, I always carry a small survival pack in my backpack that includes a space blanket, waterproof matches, flashlights, batteries, and other survival essentials.
By carrying this equipment, I hunt without worry about getting hurt or lost and having to stay out in inclement weather.
Strategies of Hunting Whitetail Deer/ Other Deer in the Rain
Here we are going about some important deer hunting techniques and tips to do better in the rain. To do that, let’s examine some unusual traits white-tailed deer may exhibit in foul weather and then discuss the tactics to take them under such adverse conditions successfully.
Where Do Deer Go When it Rains or Snows
At the start of most types of terrible weather, deer usually “hold up” in the heavy brush. Or they dense stands of evergreen trees like cedar. Deer become nervous in strong winds. So, to learn more you need to know Where Do Deer Go When it Rains or Snows.
However, it takes gale force-type conditions to put deer down and keep them there. This is often evidenced when winds reach terms referred to by meteorologists as Fresh or Strong Gale force speeds.
Hearing and smell of the deer
This is primarily attributed to the fact that two of their most relied upon senses. The hearing and smell are significantly reduced during these conditions. Deer try to make up for this deficiency by relying on their other prime sense of sight. To do so, they must stay on the move and always scan their surroundings for activity and danger.
Even this becomes difficult when everything in the deer’s environment is moving from the blowing wind. Contrary to popular belief, even when high winds are blowing up to 40 m.p.h., deer will continue to advance and feed. Taking a stand on the fringe of heavy cover often proves to be a very productive method.
Deer Movement Before and After the Storm
Another unusual behavioral trait brought on by lousy weather is deer activity at odd times of the day. Generally nocturnal, especially in heavily hunted areas, the whitetail may spend a large part of the day. They spend it by moving just before or after a storm.
Temperature facts in deer behaviors in the storm
This activity often intensifies as the storm begins or ends. Dramatic drops or increases in temperature or barometric pressure will also increase deer activity before, during, and after a storm. This is especially true if extreme adverse weather conditions have held them stationary for a long time.
Tactics of deer hunting in storm and rain
Stall and Still hunting of the deer
Stand and still hunting remain the best tactics for foul weather deer hunting — but with one dangerous twist. Instead of a little moment here or there, it will be a feast or famine situation. If the deer are moving, they will move continually.
Stalking the deer in the wind and storm
Unfortunately, if they’re not traveling, it will take additional effort. Notably, of a hunting strategy like stalking, to sneak upon them. Learning how to recognize the varying conditions that govern these different patterns is the key to deciding which hunting technique you will employ.
If the wind is above 38 m.p.h., and the storm has been in the area more than a few hours, chances are the deer will bed down and stay that way until the storm breaks or their hunger becomes such that they are forced to look for food. Under conditions such as these still-hunting can be deadly.
Hunting places with more cover is a good idea in rough weather.
Hunt any place that affords more secure cover to deer than they usually require. In this type of weather condition, bucks won’t be bedded where they usually bed. Instead, they will seek out the thickest and what they feel is the most impenetrable cover they can find.
This type of cover is usually found in a very thick stand of evergreen trees or in large shoulder-high patches of inaccessible laurels that are void of the snapping branches of hardwood trees in open woods.
When using these tactics, I can’t stress enough how important it is to take your time and move slowly. Still hunting in standing corn during conditions like this can also be a “good thing.”
Deer’s mysterious position in heavy winds and rain
During heavy winds and rain, deer, especially mature bucks, often head for standing corn swales and other timber-free hiding places. You can use the climbing sticks for hunter or treestand to go somewhere which has a good view.
I have found that bucks frequent standing corn on misty, foggy mornings. But, I don’t know exactly why, either.
Primary variables besides wind, precipitation, and temperature include food availability, time of year, and stage of the rut. The closer it is to the full groove, the more the chances are that bucks will be moving despite the severity of all but the foulest of weather conditions.
Deer Hunting in the Rain During the Rut
Taking this into consideration means you can employ a rut-hunting strategy during foul weather, too. Use an estrus scent in a drip dispenser (like a Cover Trak) or on the bottom of a boot pad because you are walking to your stand.
Often, a buck on the move will pick the scent up and move into your area. During heavy rain, I usually hang a boot pad saturated with estrus scent in a couple of different locations.
It is to help attract a buck moving in the shower. It is the only time I hang more than one boot pad and use excess scent.
Rain holds odor down substantially, and, therefore, using more scent and pads is necessary for the strategy to work. However, although I’m using a few pillows with more scent than usual on them, I do not soak them to excess.
Use the best equipment, if you are bowhunting the deer, like using proper bow gloves or proper peep sight, etc.
Distance and shot placement consideration for foul weather
Two other key factors to consider during bad weather hunting are the distance you’ll be shooting at and your shot placement. Chances are your vision will be slightly impaired at best. At worst, it can be cut by half or more.
Think about this and shorten up your self-imposed maximum shooting distance. Also, be even more careful than usual about shot placement.
In the rain or during a continually heavy snowfall that obliterates any sign in minutes. And all sign left by a wounded animal will be more difficult to read mere minutes after it’s made. Therefore, you’re looking to place one clean shot that will kill the animal if possible — in its tracks.
Thank you for writing this. Really insightful and helpful to all of us hunters.