Do Deer Really Move in Snow Storms?

You better understand how deer move during snow storms if you plan on hunting during one.

The snow, wind, and extreme cold can make for a miserable hunt.

Unless you’re some insane Buffalo Bills fan, even leaving your house during a snow storm is crazy enough.

As for deer, they’re basically the same.

According to hunter surveys, deer do not move much in snow storms. Most of the deer movement surrounding snow storms occurs before and after the storm. Deer hunker down to stay warm as their thin coats are not equipped for extreme temperatures.

But snowstorms do present times you can kill a mature deer.

Keep reading to understand the specifics of deer movement around snow storms so you can capitalize on these moments.

Are Deer Active in Snow Storms?

To put it simply, deer are not very active in snow storms. It just isn’t safe enough for deer to move much.

First off, snow storms completely mess their senses up. Their sight, hearing, and vision are all impaired from the swirling winds and snow.

deer in snowstorm

It’s also pretty tough to walk when snow is coming down like an avalanche of frozen confetti.

And imagine if a deer encounters a predator, how is it going to escape?

Most of a deer’s predators have paws making them much more nimble in the snow.

coyote traveling in snowstorm

Deer are vulnerable to anything that is more nimble in the snow and wants to eat it.  So don’t expect deer to be very active during a snowstorm.

What do Deer do during a Snow Storm?

During a strong snowstorm, expect deer to hunker down underneath cover so they don’t get buried by snow.

Most bucks bed down conserve energy until it’s safe enough to move around.

buck deer bedded during snow storm
Buck bedded down after heavy snow.

Branches, small trees, and bushes all help lessen the gusts and snow buildup around them.

Sometimes, deer huddle together like penguins in little packs.

They use each other to block the wind and keep the group’s body temperatures high.

Not sure this happens much during the rut since bucks aren’t too keen on each other.

But once all does are bred it’s not out of the question to see a little group of bucks cuddling in a snow storm.

Do Deer Know when a Snow Storm is Coming?

Most hunters believe deer can sense when a storm is coming. It makes sense — deer can feel the changes in barometric pressure that happen before a snow storm.

The bigger the drop, the bigger the snow storm.

low pressure system influencing snowstorm

Since humans don’t have the same brains as deer, the answer is impossible to know. The general consensus is that deer do know when a snow storm is coming.

There are too many clues. The Barometric Pressure drop.

The dark and ominous storm clouds. 

dark clouds from snow storm

And not to mention, the sudden temperature drops caused by a snowstorm.

CityTemperature Drop (30 Min Period)
Cheyenne, WY40 Degrees
Fort Collins, CO40.8 Degrees

Record temperature drops of over 40 degrees Fahrenheit were seen during a snowstorm that hit the Midwest during December 2022.

That’ll make deer pretty suspicious.

And if all of these things happen, deer will know a snow storm is coming — there is no doubt in my mind.

How to Hunt after a Snow Storm?

I really wouldn’t suggest hunting after a snowstorm. The roads will be tough to travel on and large branches could easily fall and hurt you.

But if you’re an adult there is nothing I can do to stop you. I would suggest to be very careful.

Deer will be cold and hungry after a snow storm. So there should be quite a bit of deer movement. So how should you hunt?


Still-hunting is the practice of carefully walking and observing the woods around you in order to ambush a deer.

hunter still-hunting in snow

Still-hunting after a snow storm can give you an advantage if you wear the right clothing.

Plan on wearing some white camo to match the snowy background around you.

Otherwise, deer will pick you out really easily and you’ll just be walking around in the cold for nothing.

Once you’ve got the clothing situated, I would focus on finding deer tracks and seeing where those lead you.

doe tracks in snow

It’s going to be difficult to know what food sources aren’t buried by the snow, so the tracks should help.

Hunt the Food

If you have to hunt after a snow storm, here’s a little tip: find out where the food is.

Branches with acorns could be all over the ground after a snow storm comes through.

Since typical food sources will be very scarce due to the snow-covered ground, you may have to be patient.

Deer will also be eating twigs, small branches, and pine-needles — it just depends what’s available.

Final Thoughts

To sum it up shortly, deer don’t move in snowstorms. Deer move before snow storms to get to safety and after to scavenge for food.

It’s not too wise to leave your house during a snow storm. So the woods is out of the question.

And I really wouldn’t suggest hunting after a snowstorm either. 

But if you have to hunt you do have a few options. And if you choose to hunt be patient — the deer movement may not be great. But all persistent hunters are rewarded eventually.

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