Fact checked by Steven Lines, lifelong Hunter, and Outdoorsman.
You’ve woken up in the morning, excited to hunt whitetail or mule deer. But the sky is black, and the humidity is high. So, is it worth hunting for deer in the rain?
Hunting deer in the rain can be a great option. Light rain won’t affect their movement. Heavier rain can disorient the deer. This makes it harder for them to pick up your presence. This will allow you to get a clear shot.
You shouldn’t let a bit of rainy weather stop you from taking advantage of an opportunity to hunt. Here’s everything you need to know to take advantage of the wet conditions.
Should You Hunt in the Rain?
When most hunters hear that rain is forecast, it’s a sign that it’s time to stay at home. But, if you’re okay with getting wet, the rewards can be rich. There are a few reasons for this.
Rain and bad weather can have a profound impact on the deer’s senses. When it’s raining, it will reduce visibility. This makes it more difficult for them to be able to spot movement. Another benefit is that the sound of the rain can block out the noise of a hunter.
One of the most significant benefits is that it will wash away the scent molecules. This makes it harder for the deer to detect your scent trail. Combined with the other impaired senses, it is easier for hunters to get close to the deer.
Some hunters report seeing more deer activity in the rain. This is because of their impaired senses. Because they will find it harder to spot predators, the deer will grow nervous. Because of this, they will want to move around more frequently. This increases the chances that a hunter will be able to spot a deer.
There is another significant benefit. Most hunters will want to stay home when it’s raining. Because of this, you will get the forest to yourself. You won’t need to worry about someone else spooking the deer out of the area.
Finally, some people report that deer will be more docile on wet days. The more relaxed they are, the easier it will be for you to get a good shot.
What Type of Rain is Best For Hunters?
Knowing how the type of rain you are getting will affect deer can greatly benefit hunters. Let’s look at a few scenarios.
First, some days there will be high humidity, but there won’t be any rain. These can present an advantage to the deer. The humid air is heavier. This will cause the smell molecules to condense. This will make your scent trail more defined. But it will stop the scent from spreading too far.
Next, you might encounter light rain. This might not be enough to dislodge your scent trail. But it can disorient the deer. As we mentioned, with their senses diminished, they might become more active. Because of this, it can often produce some good conditions for hunting.
The third option is heavier rain or storm. It’s best to consider this in two parts. First, you have the downpour. During this period, there’s no point in hunting. The deer will want to take cover.
But this might be an excellent time to get to your tree stand. With heavy rain, your scent trail will get washed away. It can also help to cover your tracks. This means that the deer will have a difficult time detecting your presence.
Once the heavy rain has ended, though, it can be the ideal time to start hunting. Often, the deer have been cooped up for a long time. This makes them hungry. Once the rain starts to ease, they will become more active.
With your scent trail gone, you will be able to get into an excellent position. Because of this, you will have the best chance of landing a good shot.
Where Do Deer Go During the Rain?
Like humans, deer don’t want to be outside during a heavy downpour. Because of this, they will tend to move to denser cover. While they will still get wet, they will be spared from the worst of the heavy rainfall. Once they have found adequate shelter, they won’t want to move around too much until the rain is over.
What Are Some Tips When Hunting in the Rain?
Hopefully, you now have a better idea of why rifle hunting or bow hunting in the rain can be such a lucrative experience. Let’s look at some tips you can use to get the most out of it.
One of the most important things is to prepare for your hunt correctly. You’ll want to leave behind any electronic equipment. If the rain can damage it, it’s best to leave it in your tent. Usually, you’ll want to travel lighter. You don’t want a heavy pack to cause you to be slipping around in the mud.
If it’s wet, you’ll still be able to shoot a compound bow safely. But, once you get back to camp, you’ll need to dry it off. You should never store your bow when it is wet. This can be a significant problem. It can lead to rusting, lowering the lifespan of your bow.
It’s also essential to make sure that you are prepared to get wet. Make sure that you are wearing warm clothes and something that will block the water. It’s a good idea to get an umbrella and other rain gear for your tree stand. When you get back to camp, put on dry clothes and stay warm. This will prevent you from getting hypothermia.
While thicker clothes can be a good option for protecting yourself against the rain, they can cause a potential problem when you come to shoot. If you’re not used to the thicker fabric, it can impact your mobility. The best way to overcome this is by practicing before the hunt. This gives you confidence that you’ll hit your bucks or bulls with a clean and ethical shot.
You’ll also want to pick your spot carefully. During light rain, deer won’t change their behavior too much. But after heavy rain, they will often be hungry and predictably move towards their feeding area. Because of this, you can have good results by picking a spot that’s close to a food source. Often, things like fruit trees and open fields can be a good choice.
You must be more selective about the shots that you are taking. When it’s wet, it will be much more challenging to track a mule or whitetail deer. The blood trail can get washed away. The good news is that the rain and wind can mask the sound of the bow. Sometimes, the deer might not even know that they have been shot. If you can get a good shot and the deer sprints, you might need to bring in a dog to follow the trail before doing this check that it’s legal in your state.
If you can get a good shot and the deer sprints, you might need to bring in a dog to follow the trail; before doing this, check that it’s legal in your state.
Hunting during the rain can be a great idea. There may be fewer hunters to compete with, presenting the remaining deer hunters with a range of benefits. You will find it easier to sneak up on the deer, as the water will wash away your scent. This can make the deer feel more comfortable, giving you a better opportunity to get a good shot. But you’ll need to make sure that you are preparing yourself for hunting in the rain.
Pack light, keep yourself as dry as possible, and dry off your bow when you return home. If you can do this, you’ll have a good chance of landing a big buck on a rainy day.
Steven Lines is a hunter and outdoorsman from Safford, Arizona, USA. Since a child, he has been hunting and fishing and has over 20 years of experience in the outdoors. Steven works as a hunting guide in Arizona during his spare time and runs a Youtube channel dedicated to sharing his outdoor adventures with others.
- 3 Reasons to Hunt in the Rain
- Should You Deer Hunt in the Rain?
- Pro Tips For Hunting Whitetail Deer In The Rain