How Does Temperature Affect Deer Movement?

By Grant Woods,

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I was reading over your blog about habitat diversity and stress. It got me to wondering, how do deer at The Proving Grounds react to extreme heat? Do they conserve energy by bedding up most of the day, or do they still move some? Also, during extreme heat do the deer move if a storm pops up and temperatures drop, which would increase moisture in vegetation? Have you noticed weather changes that will prompt deer to move during the day with extreme heat? I hunt South Carolina and our season starts September 1st and it is still plenty hot around here. I’m looking for ideas of when to look for daytime movement during high temperatures.




I agree, early September, on average, is a scorcher in much of the whitetails’ range. Deer react to changes in temperature much the same way we do. When it’s hot we run around less than when it’s cool, just like joggers that like to run in the cool, early morning hours. For deer, the main factor in movement is the difference in temperature from the average temperature for a particular time of year. For example, if the average temperature in early September is 90 degrees and a cool front comes through and drops it to 80 degrees, deer will likely be more active. However, if the temperature rises to 100 degrees the opposite occurs. This is especially true during the rut. Many hunters report that “no rut occurred” if the temps are unseasonably warm during the rut. However, there are always fawns the following spring. Even during the rut, deer tend to move mostly at night if the daytime temperatures are above normal.

Growing Deer together,