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Cold weather deer
Perhaps because deer movement seems to start just before dark in the fall we get used to thinking that's always the case.
Where I live, my nearest neighbor is 1.6 crow miles and out my living room windows it's even further to the nearest open road. It's been very cold at night. -38.7 Saturday, and -29 Sunday. The wind has been minimal, zero cloud cover, and deer start to come out of the Ross Fork about 10 am.
All day long the deer are pretty visible and at one time I could see over 70. It got up to 9 above. It's 6 now and the temperature is 3 degrees. Most of the deer have dropped of into the Ross Fork where there are very dense stands of willow.
It's pretty obvious here that deer do what's needed to deal with cold.
We live where they can be seen on a regular basis & recently daily. This snow & extreme cold we see them often & different times of the day. 16 at 5pm today all 50-60 yds in the timber "out of the wind".
Deer move when they use less energy in the winter. It has nothing to do with pressure as the pressure is gone. I'm not sure the moon effects them the way weather fronts in their day to day feeding movement. Unless food is plentiful. Other then a full moon means better midday hunting.
Plainly, deer do different things on their needs. And, it is always based on food or rutting influence. Spring finds them on their feet more often at "irregular times" once the green pops out. Basically, all times when food is plentiful, deer will be influenced by the moon to some degree. In my experience, the moon kicks off the bucks seeking does come rut time. But, when it comes to winter, they wait on warmer temps to expose themselves to the wind in order to burn less calories. And, say screw the moon. It is all about survival. And, in areas where these temps are reality, it takes a concerted effort to do just that.
These are my opinions and experience.
In the winter here they usually move when it costs them the least heat, usually mid afternoon. If they move at all.
When I hunt in cold weather, 10 degrees or less, I find the deer move mid to late morning until mid afternoon. The usual first light, last light scenario is less productive.
It was -40 the night this pic was taken. SK deer are tough!
Hunting the late muzzleloader hunt in Minnesota I used to get on stand around 10:30 because most of the movement occurred when the day was warmest and the snow the softest.
Rob I do think the deer will act differently if it’s a spot with guaranteed food like on a feeder. Suddenly the energy expenditure isn’t their #1 concern if they know they’ll be getting nutrients. But on wild deer off a feeder I do think that energy in vs out becomes their #1 concern through the winter
Apauls I think you are spot on with that observation. These bucks were frequenting a farmer’s bin yard for spilled grain and only at night. The bigger one was still packing antlers 2 days ago last time I checked the camera.
Sweeet, looks like a nice buck too! Always happy to see those guys pull through a tough one.
Without feeding, deer move very little. Their metabolism slows down to conserve energy. I found 2 dead deer cruising a small wild deer yard last week. They died due to winter kill, not predation. I cracked open their femurs and their marrow had zero fat and was like a thread. Six plus feet of snow and over 30 nights of subzero temps is taking its toll. One small yard that usually winters 6-8 deer is down to maybe 10 acres. They have trails but very compact. I have permission to cut for browse from the timber company so I dropped a hemlock and a couple of swamp maples. I will go back in in a week or so and drop more. In Wilson’s Mills, Maine, they started logging near a big deer feeding area. I drove out tonite after hare hunting and with only one day of cutting, the deer are hitting the tops. Lifesaver for them. Loggers are a deer’s best friend. I hare hunted a mountainside that was clearcut 5 years ago. Overrun with hares and saw a lynx. He has had a ball chasing those hares. Let the beagle run for 5 hours. Cold and windy, but heaven. All to myself and that lynx.