Hunting Whitetail in the Rain: It Actually is Worth It

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Every hunter knows that rain puts a damper not only on the ground, but also on deep camp. Many of us save our vacation time all year long for this short season that is our pride and joy.  And, when it begins to rain, our spirits of landing that big buck on our trail cam suddenly decline significantly.  However, that doesn’t have to be the case. Although it is not ideal, hunting in the rain can actually be very strategic, when it is properly executed.

Therefore, let’s get one thing straight.  Yes, rain does affect hunters. But no, rain doesn’t really affect deer.  It may alter the times they are normally active, but deer still need to feed and will still go about their business as soon as the rain comes to a halt. Whitetail deer will always be active and on the move except if the weather is severe, such as there being a downpour and a lot of wind.  Therefore, if you are able to endure a little rain, you will most likely catch that big buck on your trail cam right when the rain begins to stop. Deer love to move when they can hear what is going on around them, hence, why they are not too big of a fan of heavy wind or downpouring rain.  Therefore, do not be down because you took a day off to hunt and it is drizzling. Rather, be ready to change to these conditions, and land a big buck while your buddy is complaining about the weather.

First off, remember that mature bucks will be moving right after the rain quits.  More importantly, this entails that they will be moving during the daylight. Rain is one of the few things that will increase daytime movement, therefore, it is important to take advantage of it. Also take into consideration that many hunters will not be taking advantage of this weather condition, as previously stated, which also gives bucks another reason to move. In addition to less hunters and more daytime activity, bucks seems to move less methodically due to the wet leaves.  This will cause them to veer away from stopping every so often or whenever they hear a noise, and cause them to move more freely.

Remind yourself, the combination of less noise due to wetness, and suppressed scent conditions due to wind will give you, the hunter, the advantage, not the deer. That is why we have developed some key strategies, conditions, and things to think about when hunting whitetail in the rain.

Before anything else, if you are going to hunt in the rain you must be prepared.  Good rain gear, a waterproof blind, something that is going to keep you dry while you wait for that monster buck.  Getting a little wet is worth it when chasing whitetail, but no hunter wants to be soaked to the bone. Therefore, prepare before you go out for the rainy hunt and make sure that you have everything you need to stay warm and stay (somewhat) dry.

After you are prepared with the right gear, make sure you anticipate a longer sit than you normally would ensure.  During the rain, deer are going to move at any given time. Sometimes rain will hold off for 10 minutes or so, and then pick back up.  You know how the weather works… It’s unpredictable. Therefore, challenge yourself to sit all day long. Bring yourself some snacks, go to the bathroom before you walk to your stand or blind, and get ready to see some action.  As we previously stated, rain is unpredictable. That said, deer will move whenever it is just clear enough to get around a little bit. So be patient, and sit all day. It will be worth it.

Now that you are prepared and you realize that to land a monster buck, you have to sit out all day long, the next important thing is to make sure you have a successful track once you do land a deer.  Considering rain can be anywhere from a steady drizzle to straight downpour, you are going to have to be ready to ensure a track that is not necessarily ideal. Rain will obviously wash away some, or all, of your blood, so you must do everything possible to ensure that your shot is clean and that you are paying attention to every little movement after you pull the trigger.  Your buck should not run too far, if you have a smart shot, therefore, you must then make sure you are choosing the best strategy for you. Either, take some time to let the buck fall, or immediately track. Those are going to be the two best options when tracking in the rain.

With these tips in mind, rain can be just as promising as a crisp, fall morning.  Don’t be discouraged, or call it quits the time time you see rain the forecast. Instead, prepare ahead of time and take advantage of this less popular time for hunting.  Log onto the HuntWise app, plot your stands, compare which stand has the most ideal conditions, and get ready to land a big one.

Good luck hunters, and shoot straight.


Nicole Quigley