A few years back my friend, Jarrod, and I had planned a hunting trip around his busy schedule. As it turned out, for the dates we chose, Mother Nature dealt us a hand of deer hunting in the rain. When it’s springtime and you’re making plans for a November hunt, you have no idea what the weather will hold in store. As the scheduled hunt drew near and we became aware of the weather outlook we realized that we’d have to make the best of the situation since rescheduling was not an option. It wouldn’t be the first time we would have to deal with a rainy deer hunt. Another challenge to overcome, in a sport teeming with them.
Advantages of Deer Hunting in the Rain
Naturally we would have preferred cool, dry, calm conditions for this hunt even though past experience had shown that deer didn’t go into hibernation because of a steady rain. We’ve both noticed that deer hunting in the rain can be great when it’s light to moderate rain. Now when you’re dealing with a thunderstorm or a heavy downpour they do tend to “hole up”. So our thinking is; If it’s raining lightly or moderately, hunt… if it’s a downpour, scout.
Scouting for Deer is Best Done in the Rain
Scouting during your hunt, in a downpour of rain, is a Godsend because you are able to verify how the deer are currently using the area, and have your scent be quickly washed out by the rain. If you don’t bump deer out of their bedding areas they’ll never know you were there since they were hunkered down waiting out the storm. It’s difficult for them to see or hear you due to the heavy rain, and your scent gets washed out quickly. Scouting during dry conditions can ruin a hunt quickly because your scent can linger up to 3 or 4 days.
Rain Compromises Deer Senses
Light and moderate rains have the effect of somewhat compromising a deers’ sense of smell, hearing, and sight. Any reduction in a deers’ ability to use its’ senses to the fullest is an advantage for a hunter. It helps us to remain undetected while on stand or traveling to or from our stands, which ups our odds of being successful.
Rain Keeps Other Hunters Home!
Another plus about deer hunting in the rain is that the majority of other hunters stay out of the woods. If you hunt public land, this allows you to have the woods and swamps to yourself during the wet weather. I make a point of watching for rain in the forecast when my plan is to hunt public land.
Being Prepared for Deer Hunting in the Rain
Use Quality Rain Gear
Good quality rain gear is a must for staying comfortable on rainy day deer hunts. It’s obvious that staying comfortable and dry is the key to remaining in a good frame of mind while deer hunting in the rain. Buy the best rain gear and waterproof boots you can afford, they are the key accessory to a successful rainy day deer hunt. We think Sitka Gear is some of the best, and we’re also fans of Cabela’s Space Rain Gear.
Blood Tracking Dogs for Deer Hunting
The next most important thing to being prepared for hunting deer on rainy days is to find a blood tracking dog ahead of time. Many states allow their use under the control of a responsible handler. You can locate people who will help you track your wounded deer with the aid of a blood tracking dog by visiting UnitedBloodTrackers.org. This site will identify the states where it is legal to use blood tracking dogs and who the individuals are, along with their contact information, that offer the service.
Know How Your Hunting Gear Reacts to Rain
Knowing how rain affects the flight of your arrow or bullet is another key part of how rain impacts your deer hunt. Practice in rainy conditions to understand the limitations.
A Successful Rainy Day Deer Hunt
The rain would change from moderate, to light, to sleet, occasionally even pausing while I remained motionless in my tree stand. A few miles away, Jarrod also endured the cold, wet, sloppy afternoon on stand. An hour before dark, a large bodied, rain-soaked buck appeared on a nearby ridge top and closed in on my position. At eight yards I released my arrow and he bolted back over the ridge which hid his retreat from view. Gathering my composure, I planned to give it thirty minutes then back out quietly. Back at the truck I’d call my local blood tracking guy. His dog had found deer for me before and I would welcome his service once more. As it turned out the buck didn’t go very far but by the time we got on the trail it had mostly washed out. No problem for a well trained blood trailing dog, because the scent of blood remains even after visible sign is gone. The dog weaved through the terrain just as the buck had and he found him quickly.
Jarrod had his own story to tell but this one didn’t require a dog as he saw his buck fall a short distance from where he arrowed him.
Quite a rainy day deer hunt. This hunt, and other rain splattered deer hunts, have made us confident that you can be successful while deer hunting in the rain. If you’d like to learn more about how to be successful hunting big bucks, check out our online store for some of the best deer hunting dvds available.