Should you go deer hunting in the rain? Wet, drizzly and otherwise dreary weather that comes with October and November can be some of the best times to be out in the deer woods. Here are the 3 biggest reasons why.
It doesn’t take a lot of hunting experience to know that whitetail deer have incredible vision. Biologically speaking, the whitetail can see in nearly a 314-degree range which means they can almost see everything that’s behind them. The position of their eyes on the sides of their head allow whitetails this ability, plus the structure (dichromatic) is what gives a deer its uncanny ability to see even the slightest of movements.
When it’s raining, rain, fog and mist can slightly impair the whitetail’s vision. Does this nudge whitetails to be up and about more often when it’s raining? I think it has something to do with it. It might not be a major factor, but I firmly believe that deer move more often when they even the slightest bit nervous with their home environments.
2. Reason to Hunt Deer in the Rain: Sound
According to research published by Henry Heffner of the University of Toledo, the behavioral audiograms of two female white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) were determined using a conditioned-suppression avoidance procedure. At a level of 60 dB sound pressure level, their hearing range extends from 115 Hz to 54 kHz with a best sensitivity of -3 dB at 8 kHz; increasing the intensity of the sound extends their hearing range from 32 Hz (at 96.5 dB) to 64 kHz (at 93 dB). Compared with humans, white-tailed deer have better high-frequency but poorer low-frequency hearing.
What this means for deer hunting is that xe2x80x94 not too unlike the sight component xe2x80x94 sounds muffled by rain and related weather systems make it difficult for deer to stay in one place for too long. We know the same holds true for wild turkeys; when things get noisy, they get nervous and are more apt to stay on their feet for longer periods of time, even if that’s during their normal feeding periods.
3. Reason to Hunt in the Rain: Smell
I believe a deer’s sense of smell is not only it’s No. 1 defense against immediate predation, it’s what keeps deer constantly on edge. A steady autumn rain helps wash away human scent more quickly. This is a tricky situation, however, as humid, damp conditions also help a deer’s sense of smell. That’s because a whitetail is not that unlike a canine. Their sense of smell relies on the incredible olfactory capabilities of their epithelium (the thin tissue forming the outer layer of a deer’s nose). Humidity aides in the detection of odors.
Rain, on the other hand, washes away scent molecules and seemingly makes it much more difficult for a deer to wind a hunter when they are farther away (30, 40, 50 yards and farther, in my experience while bowhunting).
So … should you go deer hunting in the rain? My vote is almost always “yes,” but it does depend on every situation. If it’s not safe (tree stand-wise, etc), I won’t go. Also, I won’t go unless I know I can position myself in either a stand or blind safely and then, and only then, insist on only taking slam-dunk shots (close range, slightly quartering away or completely broadside). If I take a shot, I do not want to run the risk of a long blood trail. I want to make sure the deer goes down quickly and efficiently.
Keep these tips in mind as your going through this deer season.
I think you’ll find, as I say in the video, that you will never curse the rain again.
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