How to Hunt Deer in the Rain?
It’s important to realize deer could care less if it’s raining. It’s hunters that rain borrows. Whether it’s a light sprinkle or a downpour, deer will proceed with life as normal. Hunters, on the other hand, might not even want to get out of bed, if they hear rain pounding on the windows outside.
However, if you know how to hunt deer in the rain, those gloomy days won’t be so bad, and you’ll have less competition in the woods due to other hunters staying home.
Rain Works to Hunter’s Advantage
When it rains, deer will still visit their favorite areas. As a bonus, deer are less skittish when it rains. It might be because the wind is blowing, branches are creaking, and others presence in the area makes it less likely deer will pick up your scent or even notice you entered the woods.
Rainy Day Hunting Gear
When you’re hunting whitetails on rainy days, you’ll likely need less gear than you would on a regular hunt. You shouldn’t bring any electronics with you, and it’s probably a good idea to keep your wallet, knives, GPS unit, camping heater, hunting light, and even your keys in the truck. If you lose any of this expensive or important gear in the woods on a rainy day, it might get buried in mud for good or ruined by water and moisture.
It’s also a good idea to leave your hunting pack behind. Seriously, anything expensive or important shouldn’t go in the woods with you. This includes but isn’t limited to: cameras, ranges, blankets, tripods, cooking gear, lamps, etc. To help you get the rest of it, you should think of rainy day hunting as a minimalist adventure, which means if you don’t need it to kill or tag your deer in the woods, you don’t need to bring it with you.
Plan to Get Wet
One of the reasons so many hunters stay in bed under the blankets when it’s rainy is because they don’t want to get wet. Instead of freaking out about the rain, you just need to plan on getting wet. Probably soaking wet. To avoid being uncomfortable, use gear that has wicking properties. What this means is it will wick moisture away from the body to help you stay as dry and comfortable as possible.
Where to Hunt on a Rainy Day?
When it’s raining, you may want to hunt different areas. Deer will be active during the rain and will eat and socialize as you’d expect them too. However, there will be several hotspots during a rainstorm. Hotspots include runs, feeding areas, and trails. Any area you scouted that is frequent to deer will be busy during a rainstorm.
Other deer hotspots during a rainstorm include saddles, streams, ridge spines, and river crossings. Crop and field edges or spots near natural food plots (orchards, oak stands, etc.) will also be busy with deer.
Rainy Day Buck Challenges
Deer hunting while raining has plenty of advantages, it also delivers many challenges as well. One of the biggest challenges is noise. The noise allows hunters to get in the woods unnoticed by deer, but also makes it difficult for hunters to locate deer.
Wet leaves, soaked dirt, and big debris make it easier for deer to walk around unnoticed too, which makes finding them in the woods even more difficult. Hunters can overcome these challenges by constantly scanning the area they are in. You shouldn’t count on the break of a branch or an antler rubbing a tree to get your attention. Instead, you need to be alert and constantly scan the area around you. It’s also important to remember that a wet deer will appear different to you than a dry buck. To complicate matters even more, a wet deer will blend into its surroundings even more.
Your Choice of Hotspots
We talked about less competition in the woods earlier, but now we’ll explain it even more. On rainy days, there’s less hunters in the woods, which means you can have your choice of hotspots. It’s also a great time to check out other areas that are usually crowded. Apple orchards, small woodlots, urban areas, and state parks (where legal) are all great places to check out for deer hunting in the rain.
Tracking Game is Harder in the Rain
If we had to choose a downfall to hunting in the rain, it would probably be tracking. In normal conditions, if you wound an animal, you’ll usually have a blood trail to the follow. In the rain, a blood trail will likely get washed away before you can spot it.
To overcome this, be aware that blood trails will be hard, if possible at all, to find. Instead, you should monitor where your shooting carefully. Additionally, only take a shot if you’re going to knock a deer down where it’s at. Ultimately, the goal is to shoot, climb down the tree stand, walk a few feet, and tag the deer.
When lining up your shot, aim for the area behind the shoulder towards the middle of the deer. A bullet or arrow shot in this area is your best bet to a fast death. A bad shot usually results in lost deer. Blood trails will be harder to see, blood spatter will be saturated with water, and coming back when the rain has stopped might be completely impossible.
Rain Makes Hauling Deer Through the Woods Easier
If you deliver a lethal shot and the deer drops immediately, you’ll get another bonus. Wet ground makes it easier to drag your buck back to the truck. Wet deer slide across soaked baths, leaves, and debris easily. The best part about hunting in the rain is there is just more satisfaction out of killing a trophy buck in the rain then there is killing the same back in perfect weather conditions.
Now that you know what the advantages and disadvantages are to hunting deer in the woods while it's raining, you're ready for your next rainy day trip. Get out there when everyone else is afraid to, and you'll be the only one adding meat to your freezer.