How long does it take for deer to return to a normal pattern after being disturbed?

By Grant Woods,

  Filed under:

← Grant's AnswersHunting Tactics

Here in Louisiana, our bow season opens Oct. 1st. I’ve been busy getting food plots ready, hanging stands, cutting, trimming etc… I know this disturbance has to have some kind of impact on the deer. My plan is to stay completely away from my hunting area for 2 weeks leading up to opening day to give the deer time to hopefully return to a normal pattern. I’m wondering if this is enough time, or if I should have wrapped it up sooner. How long do you find it takes deer to return to “normal” after a bunch of noisy, smelly work? This is a new place, so I don’t have a good library of data to establish what “normal” is on this property.


Congrats on acquiring a new property to hunt/manage!  Bow season opens today (September 15th) here in Missouri. I hope to be in a blind this afternoon!

Research based on placing GPS collars on deer indicates that mature bucks often “return to normal patterns” in a week or so after being disturbed.  However, there are many variables!  For example, during the week following the “disturbance” food sources may change including acorns dropping, forage crops germinating, etc.  Also other hunters may be active in a portion of the deer’s home range, coyotes move into an area, weather patterns change, etc.  

It is rare that any of us understand all the events and/or factors that influence deer patterns. I suspect that two weeks is long enough for deer to resume their normal patterns if the other influences have remained constant within those deer’s home range.  

Enjoy creation,