View Full Version : How do your deer respond to snow?

Muddy Creek Farms
01-16-2011, 09:42 PM
I can't figure out our deer. I realize a lot of you guys further north than I am are used to it, but over the past week we've had a couple inches of snow on the ground, which is a lot for Alabama. Apparently, I think that the deer here are supposed to jump up and down and run around everywhere when it snows. But it seems like the past week ours have bedded down and haven't moved at all. What's the deal!? Do deer not like snow or what?
For some of you guys who don't have snow all the time, how do your deer react?

01-16-2011, 09:47 PM
It's not so much the snow up here, it's more the low pressure that tends to go with it. Here, deer tend to get out big time before a storm. One of the best methods for taking a deer in winter around here is to hit it hard before the storm and the first few hours of the storm. After the storm deer will tend to bed down and "ride it out". Usually what happens here is after the snow hits, a big blast of cold air follows. That's when the high pressure starts filling in. Pretty much a survival mechanism I'd guess. Get a gut full before the perceived threat hits full bore. Then lie low and wait for better days.

01-16-2011, 09:51 PM
They might think the world has ended and are to afraid to move. Ours would be thinking that with snow. :D Outside of the snow, it was record cold in both Ga and Fl and the age old theory is they have to get up and move when it gets really really cold. Both properties saw a decline in movement during the recent record cold. We didn't even see a deer this weekend, a first for this year.

01-16-2011, 10:18 PM
We had about 8 inches at The Farm and the deer hardly seemed to notice after the first day.

01-16-2011, 11:25 PM
I was in Southern Virginia the week after Christmas.
It snowed about 4inches and was cold the following 3 days.
The deer were locked down ! No one in our group of 5 saw a deer for 3 days.
When the temps went up to about 35-40 degrees the deer started to move.
Not necessarily a scientific conclusion, but a recent observation.

01-16-2011, 11:27 PM
Hey VA/NJ,

thats kinda funny in a way.
Up here in MN if we are out during rifle season and the temps go up to the 40's/50's, the deer hunker down.

Temps drop and they get up and moving.

Crazy critters they are.

01-17-2011, 01:32 AM
Every time we've had snow here in central Mississippi the deer have dove into the thickest cover they could find and stayed there until it melted. Our deer don't like snow!

lone cedar farm
01-17-2011, 04:31 AM
After an 8" snow event last Sunday-Monday, 7 days latter and we still have 4" on the ground. Yesterday was the first noticable day with deer movement at 1:00pm I believe every deer in the woods were on their feet browsing on privet hedge and honeysuckle, Lucky me our season went out the 1st. :rolleyes:
I believe next year I'll try Brassicas again just in case.

01-17-2011, 08:11 AM
I hunt in North Alabama also. I actually killed an eight point in the snow on Saturday. I have killed one other deer in the snow many years ago. I have noticed for the most part deer don't move very much when it snows. I have been many days right after a snow and not seen any thing. It seems that if the snow sticks around after a couple of days they will start moving. They have to eat sometime. I did not hunt my place all week until Saturday and there were tracks all over the place. The rut is on right now and I found alot of scrapes too. So they were moving at some point. What county do you hunt in? I talked to some guys from around Hazel Green and they weren't having much luck in the snow either.

01-17-2011, 08:37 AM
Deer movement is changed by moderate amounts of snow. They tend to move toward higher sources of protein where they can access it easier. Deer will take the path of least resistance when they can. This means staying out of drifted ditches and terrain that is hard to walk on.

01-17-2011, 09:05 AM
We normally have deer this time of year yarding up in softwood cover if the snows are over 15-18" and some below 0 temps but not yet this year. Dispite having over 2' of snow and several cold days in an apple orchard I work on at around 2800' of elevation they are still hitting the drops there. The reason IMO is that it has been very cold and the snow has been very light, so they can get through it with very little effort.

Normally as others have stated they may change movements slightly, but there is no hard fast rule. Of course they are used to snow up here and they may change patterns more easily in the south with something they are not used to. I see more movement changes due to temps rather than snowfall.

Just thought I'd let you know, it 6 below zero this morning!

01-17-2011, 09:47 AM
I saw reduction in movement in GA and FL. Not having heavy northern coats , cold came early and at the end of the rut. Conserve energy stay warm and ride it out like the rest of us.

Mild winters in recent years may have taught them to give it a couple days.

01-17-2011, 10:50 AM
I can tell you from a Michigan standpoint that a deer gets very "freaked out" during the FIRST snow and will not move much at all. Imagine how much different their world looks to them with snow on the ground when they are not used to seeing it. I would suspect this to be exaggerated in southern states where is is even more unusual to get snow. They just aren't comfortable walking around in these "new" surroundings.
IMHO, the magic number here is 3 days. After 3 days of snow on the ground, or for that matter, any type of harsh weather for 3 days, they HAVE to get up and move and eat regardless of whether it is still nasty out.
Just my observations.

01-17-2011, 11:23 AM
I think it probably depends a lot on your property.

For instance, we have 12 acres of standing food on our place and one of the only farms who practice "no till" (all the neighbors tilled their crops under this year already) so we literally have the only food. We have had snow on our place for probably 20 of the last 30 days, so our deer have been up and moving around a lot!

In the evenings, they are all heading to either picked corn, picked beans or our standing food. Up to as many as 50 deer in a field at a time.

In the mornings, they work back to bedding areas while eating on brushy brows (honey locust pods, briars, twigs and an occasional dug up acorn).

Hunting in the snow confirms to me that during times without, I am sure I miss a lot of deer that are walking at a good distance in the woods. In the snow, I can pick up a leg or ear moving a long ways away!