Different creatures react differently to weather changes. While we humans run for the comfort of our homes at the first sign of rain, most animals remain active when it rains.
Deer, in particular, remain active in light rains. The keyword here being light rains. While studies have shown that deer are unaffected by light rain, they are affected by heavy rains. In addition, deer are able to sense when a storm is coming. When deer sense that a storm is coming they start feeding so that they can hunker down when the storm arrives.
Contrastingly, in light rains with minimal wind deer will be actively feeding. The wet forest floor allows deer to move noiselessly, which gives them a sense of security. This coupled with their fantastic sense of smell gives them the confidence to go out in light rains.
That being said, hunting deer in the rain can be rewarding, if you know how to do it right. So in this article, I will be going through tips for hunting whitetail deer in the rain.
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Tips For Hunting Whitetail Deer In The Rain
What are some of the things you should do when hunting deer in the rain? The first is to get up and get going. While there are few things that can dampen a hunter’s mood like bad weather, going out in the rain will give you an edge over other hunters. When most hunters are busy hugging their sleeping bags, get up and get to the forest.
Apart from the fact that you will have minimal competition, there is also the added advantage of improved stealth hunting. Due to the forest floor being wet, it will be easy for you to creep up to your target than it would be on a sunny day.
While stealth hunting in the rain is great, taking advantage of a ground blind or a tree stand is even better. When you are inside a blind you are protected from the rain. Thus, you get the best of both worlds, you do not get wet and at the same time, you hunting is uninterrupted. Knowing where to set up your blind will be crucial to your success.
Ideally, you should have set-up your blind before 1:30 PM latest. The best places to set up a blind include near natural feeding areas and streams. Also, river crossings and field edges make good spots for setting up a ground blind.
The wet floor makes it easy for you to move unnoticed. However, it also makes it easy for the same deer you are hunting to move noiselessly. Coupled with the fact that there is a lot of noise when it rains due to raindrops hitting different surfaces, hunting in the rain requires vigilance.
It is not once that I have heard a sound thinking it’s a deer only to be disappointed. The trick when hunting in the rain is to always scan your surroundings. A deer might creep up on your blind without you hearing it.
Finally, do not fire at a deer unless you are a 100% sure of hitting the target. Because of the pouring rain, tracking a wounded deer on a rainy day is more difficult than on a sunny day. Therefore, this is not the time to take chances with your shooting.
Additionally, this is not the weather to try out ambitious long-range shots in. And with that being said, these are some of the useful tips for hunting whitetail deer in the rain.
Deer Hunting In The Rain With Bow
Should you bow hunt in the rain? Definitely yes. Hunting in the rain is not reserved for any class of hunters. More importantly, as any bow hunter who hunts in the rain will tell, bow hunting is best suited for rainy days. The reason being that bow hunting requires stealth.
However, you require more than stealthy movements to be successful. When going deer hunting in the rain with bow carry only the essentials. Navigating through a forest when it’s raining can be a nightmare if you are carrying too much gear.
Therefore, only carry the essentials and in particular avoid carrying too many electrical devices. Some electronic devices may short-circuit when exposed to water. To be effective carry only a bow, a flashlight and a hunting or camping knife. If you must carry anything else let it be something you absolutely need.
Also to succeed you will need to know where deer are likely to be found in the rain. While light rain does not affect a deer’s movement it will affect their grazing area preference. Deer will tend to shy away from muddy areas when it’s raining.
Because just like us deer do not like getting muddy. As such, you are more likely to find deer in field edges and rocky ridges when it’s raining. Deer might also be found in river and stream crossing. Take note of these two things when going deer hunting in the rain with bow as they can mean success or failure
Hunting Deer After Rain
There is no better time to hunt deer than after rain. During stormy weather, deer like all other animals, hunker down and wait out the storms. When the storm passes most of them are usually hungry and thirsty and will rush to the nearest food sources. At this time the deer’s need for food and water overshadows their sense of caution. Some may choose to run around to loosen stiff muscles. In essence, after a storm has passed there will be a lot of activity.
Thus, to be successful, keep an eye on weather patterns. Be prepared to go out when the rain lessens. The reason being that you should be in the field waiting for the deer. In essence deer hunting after rain comes with many rewards for those who are not afraid of the rain. The same goes for deer hunting before a storm.
The best time to go deer hunting after rain is early in the morning and late in the evening. This is especially if it has been raining heavily non-stop for several days. After non-stop heavy rains deer will be eager to get back to their normal routine early in the morning. In the evening big bucks are more likely to make an appearance. Thus it is important that you leave early in the morning after the rain.
Apart from rain, barometric pressure also affects deer movements. And the question of how barometric pressure affects deer movement is one you have probably encountered. Generally speaking, deer are most active when the barometric pressure is rising beyond 30.00 inches. Contrastingly deer activity is least active when the pressure is dropping to below 29.00 inches.
Know What To Wear In The Rain
Comfort is key when hunting in the rain. So what should you wear? Personally, I recommend 8 inch laced boots with insulation. More often than not when it rains temperatures drop, so you will need boots that can keep your feet warm. When shopping for a good pair of boots to use in the rain, do not go for cheap, rather go for quality.
The next pieces of clothing you will need are a pair of waterproof hunting pants and jacket. These two will keep your inner clothing dry. Thus, there is no need for insulation. Apart from being waterproof, a good hunting jacket should have plenty of pockets. You might need to carry different electronic items, which need to be well protected from the rain.
In addition to all of this, you will also need a good hat. In particular a boonie-style hat. This type of hat has a wide brim, which will keep water from running down your collar. It is also a good idea to treat your hat with a waterproof spray. This is to ensure that it does not absorb water and you can use it all-day-long.
Take Care Of Your Optics
When hunting in the rain, expect low visibility. That being said, your optics should be of excellent quality. Unfortunately, rain comes with fog, which can interfere with the performance of your optics. And while many optics are marketed as being fogproof, it does not hurt to be prepared. There are quite a number of anti-fog products you can apply on your optics lenses. The Nikon anti-fog spray. I always apply this spray on my binocular and rifle scope lenses when hunting in the rain.
Best Deer Hunting Rain Gear
Deer hunting in the rain will require you to buy deer hunting rain gear and not just any gear. As I mentioned earlier waterproof pants and jacket will be instrumental in your success. When choosing your hunting rain gear there are number of things you should look at. First is how the gear performs in the outdoors. When raindrops hit your gear they make a different sound from when they hit the forest’s natural structures such as trees. Thus, deer are able to detect you because of your clothing. Therefore, go for gear that passes the noise test. One of the best jacket and pants combo available on the market is the Stika Gear Stormfront. This uninsulated combo is virtually quiet in the rain. Thus, you will not spook your prey when stalking.
Last update on 2018-08-18
How lightweight the gear is, will also play a part in its performance. Bulky gear will weigh you down especially when you have to carry the gear. Sometimes, you may need to carry your gear in a backpack just in case it starts raining. If the gear is bulky, you will have a difficult time moving around.
Tracking a wounded animal in the rain is much more difficult than when it’s not raining. Therefore, be sure to take shots that you are 100% sure of, do not take chances. Other than, that hunting deer in the rain can be a demanding task but rewarding. Therefore, take note of changes in weather patterns and get ready to go hunting in the rain.