Deer Hunting After a Storm
This is the third post in a trilogy about deer hunting and the effects of storms. This article is about hunting after a storm. Deer behavior after a storm depends on the type of storm. For example, heavy rains usually bring better hunting afterwards. In warmer weather, a downpour accompanied by a cold front will get deer moving around. After taking shelter through the worst of the storm, the deer will be relieved at the cooler temperatures, and will be much more active than normal. Even bucks will increase their day time rutting activity dramatically. The dampness in the forest is also ideal for concealing the sound of your movements.
Deer react in a similar manner after a moderate snow storm of 3” – 12” has passed and calmer, cooler air settles in. The colder weather will get the deer moving, and you will have all fresh tracks to see where the deer have been and are going. Finding heavy travel routes during this time can point you to a good place to set a tree stand. It is also excellent for tracking a monster buck while the snow is still fresh.
One main difference between a snow storm and a rain storm is that unlike with a rain storm, the deer will usually remain inactive for a day or so after the snow storm has passed. If the change in temperature is very drastic, or accompanied with sharp, howling winds, the deer will remain hunkered down. It is important to note that cold, heavy winds after a rainstorm will also delay deer activity until the weather settles, but that is not as common as the winds that follow a snow storm.
Longer, more intense snow storms will keep the deer in shelter even longer, which means that when it finally does pass, the deer are going to be exceptionally active as they will not have eaten for a while. Even in deep snow, deer will paw through the snow to get at mast, fruit, or whatever may be left on the ground. This is why a heavy fall snow storm usually means excellent hunting afterwards. If the snow is deeper than a foot, look for wind-swept grain fields, uncut corn fields, and areas where the forest floor is regenerating.