deer moving on warm day

Do Deer Move When it’s Warm? A Hunter’s Guide

If deer aren’t moving, there aren’t going to be any shot opportunities.

And it sucks to say, but certain weather can dampen your chances of even seeing deer.

Deer movement basically comes to a halt on these scorching hot days. Deer like to find shady areas near water to bed down on warm day. These areas help them stay cool and quench their thirst without having to exert a lot of energy.

So now you know deer are the more active when it’s not hot out.

But let’s dive deeper into why deer don’t move when it’s warm?

Where do Deer go on Warm Days?

Deer want to get out of the sun and into the shade on warm days. This helps them save energy and feel comfortable — just like humans try to do.

That’s why deer bed down during the day to chill out, especially when it’s hot.

female deer bedded in tall grass
Doe bedded in a field on a hot day.

Think about how unbearable it must be to walk around in the sun for long periods of time – especially in the south. Now imagine doing that with a thick fur coat.

This fur coat is great during the winter when it’s cold, but can cause them to overheat when it’s hot outside.

deer standing while snowing

Deer don’t move much on warm days is they need to stay cool to conserve energy.

Sitting in the sun for too long can cause a deer’s body temperature to rise resulting in them expending a lot of energy to regulate it.

deer laying in shade
Deer bedding in the shade to stay cool when it's warm.

Deer also don’t move much on warm days so they don’t lose too much water weight.

Direct exposure to the sunlight can increase how quickly water evaporates from a deer’s body. If this goes on for too long, they can die from dehydration.

Can it be too Warm to Hunt Deer?

Deer hunting can be absolutely BRUTAL on really hot days.

You have to pack extra water, you’ll be soaked in sweat, and you probably won’t see a ton of deer.

Whether it is too warm to hunt deer depends a lot on your own personal objectives.

And honestly, if your hunting goals don’t involve killing a mature buck, I would opt out of hunting on warm days.

But if you want to hunt, you shouldn’t have any logical or ethical concerns.

The most important thing when hunting warm days is to make a good shot. If a deer takes a long time to die it could travel miles before it passes.

deer kill zone

This means you may not find it for hours after its passed making most of the meat no good.

But if you’re dialed in and confident then you should have no issues hunting on a warm day. Just be prepared to see less deer movement.

Or you can keep reading so we can put you in the right places to see more deer on hot days.

How do you Hunt Deer when its Hot?

Hot days can be perfect to try something new and hunt deer in a different way.

Deer’s patterns will be a lot more predictable on hot days compared to milder days.

Hunt Water Sources

Deer are going to be extremely thirsty on hot days. And almost every property has water unless the parcel is tiny. So if it’s hot outside, try targeting a water source near deer bedding. After all, every deer will be drinking water when it’s hot out.

Stream Management Zones (SMZs)

stream management zone aerial photo

Stream Management Zones (SMZs) are my favorite water sources to hunt on hot days.

SMZs are just a buffer of trees left untouched around a creek or stream.

They’re all over in the South since logging is so popular on most public hunting land.

These are usually really thick and nasty as you’re not allowed to cut within a certain distance from the stream.

stream management zone
Stream management zones are typically thick and nasty like this one.

This cover gives deer the ability to bed super close to the water, making these perfect hunting spots for warm days.

Ditches or Puddles

The next best place would be to hunt a ditch or puddle that holds water and isn’t visible on the map.

buck deer drinking from puddle
Puddles of water not visible via satellite imagery and close to bedding are great hunting spots for warm days.

These water sources take some scouting to find, but make for great hunting spots on hot days when you do.

The fact that they don’t show on a topo map like OnX is HUGE because other people won’t know they exist.

This will allow you to get away from people, and, hopefully have some deer to yourself.

Ponds and Lakes

The last water source to target for a warm day hunt is just your everyday pond or lake.

buck deer walking by pond

These are pretty straightforward to find as they literally show up as blue spots on a topo map.

Onx Hunt satellite image of pond and lake

The downside is you may have to deal with other hunters hunting these spots on hot days.

But if the pond or lake is big enough, there should be a few places that will present good hunting opportunities on these warm days.

Hunt Food Sources

Even when it’s unbearably hot outside, deer are prisoners of their stomach.

They certainly won’t be venturing out into fields where the sun is shining bright. But they’ll definitely be feeding in the shadows even if it’s warm out.

whitetail buck browsing for food on warm day
Buck browsing for acorns in shadows on warm day.

That’s why hunting near food sources, even on hot days, is such a solid strategy.

After all, deer eat every single day.

In fact, a deer can eat over 5 lbs of food per day. And you know bucks bedded down all day can’t reach that number.

To find the hot food sources in your area, you really need to put in the groundwork and scout.

Acorns

Generally, deer eat a lot of acorns early season when it’s hot. Especially in the south.

whitetail buck browsing for acorns

They’ll still be browsing on any leafy greens they can get their hands on but acorns are usually my go-to.

Persimmons

Another great food source to hunt on warm days are persimmons. These are like candy apples to deer.

persimmon trees

Deer absolutely demolish these so they won’t last too long after they fall to the ground.

The trees are kind of hard to spot at first, but once you see one they’re a lot easier to pick out.

Muscadines

The last food source I’m going to mention worth hunting on hot days are muscadines.

buck eating muscadines
Deer love eating muscadines when it's hot out during early season.

We call these grapes of the south — and deer love em’.

These berries start off green and then slowly turn dark as they become ready to eat.

I know one spot in particular that deer FLOCK to in early season as it’s loaded with muscadines. This results in a lot of hunting pressure but I’m hoping to land a buck there soon regardless.

Will Deer still Chase in Warm Weather?

Now that we’ve covered deer movement and hunting the early season heat, let’s talk about the Rut.

The Rut is an insane driving force that takes hold of bucks’ minds for a few weeks every year.

Everything bucks do during the rut is centered around chasing and breeding does.

buck chasing a doe

In order to survive, these rut-crazed animals had to develop some self-control to make it through these hot days.

Bucks will still be chasing does even during warm weather. The amount of daytime chasing drops because more breeding will be done at night to avoid the heat. But bucks will still be chasing, nonetheless.

Final Thoughts

Deer don’t move much on warm days. Or hot days.

Hunters don’t like hunting much on warm days. Or hot days.

So unless I’m targeting a mature buck, I really only hunt the evenings to avoid the heat. But based on your hunting goals you should do what makes you happy.

If you do decide to hunt on a hot day, be patient. Deer don’t move much when it’s hot and the smart ones hardly move at all.

If you capitalize on the tips  we shared throughout the article, you should be set up to have a successful hunt in the heat.

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