Do Deer Travel the Same Path Every Day?

July 07, 2021 4 min read

 a pair of stags in a field

Source: Giedriius/ Shutterstock.com

An important part of a successful deer hunt is anticipating where the deer will be at any given time — predicting where deer travel allows hunters to set up their hunting blind at just the right spot to give themselves the best chance of a successful shot. Fortunately for hunters, deer often travel the same paths every day, making guessing their whereabouts significantly easier.

Creatures of Habit

Deer are creatures of habit. Although the species has adapted over time to protect itself from predators, a deer typically travels the same paths day after day, year after year if they have deemed them as safe. Even if other deer have been caught at a specific spot, the path is not abandoned. Because many areas were deemed safe by the species years ago, it is not uncommon for deer to regularly wander into and feed from people’s gardens. These gardens were part of the wild, natural land that the deer have fed from for generations.,

Factors That Affect the Way Deer Travel

The times and way in which deer travel along a path vary depending on several factors. For instance, during mating season, the animals tend to move more quickly. When traveling with their young, they will be more cautious. The weather also impacts how deer travel. They prefer not to be away from their bedding areas during high winds or storms. Directly before a big storm, deer eat more than normal to ensure they have enough energy to sit out the bad weather. After the storm has passed, they feed heavily again to make up for the nutrition they missed.

Browse Our Selection of GhostBlinds

Deer Walk Directly into the Wind

A curious behavior that deers exhibit that is useful for hunters to note is that they always walk into the wind. This is an evolutionary trick: Deer have adapted after years of being attacked from behind. Although walking toward the wind is more physically taxing, this position amplifies sound and scents, allowing the deer to sense danger more quickly. 

Deer Have Adapted to Avoid Hunters

As a species, deer have adapted their behavioral patterns to maximize their safety. For this reason, they avoid moving in the insecurity of broad daylight and open land, instead sticking to darker hours and moving in bushy areas with a high density of trees. This vegetation acts as both food and cover from danger.

Just as deer modify their behavior to protect themselves from natural predators, they also appear to have learned tricks to avoid being hit by hunters. This is why, during the hunting season, many deer avoid the most popular bedding areas and head instead for denser, darker places in the woods. One of the most effective ways for hunters to get their kill despite the deer’s best efforts to remain disguised is to use a specially designed deer blind. Hunting blinds camouflage the hunter, tricking the deer into thinking they are safe and allowing the hunter to take their shot.  

Get Comfortable with One of Our Hunting Chairs

a stag in the shade of a tree at dusk

Source: Giedriius/ Shutterstock.com

Deer Typically Travel at Dawn and Dusk

In addition to staying in covered areas as much as possible, deer favor traveling in the darkness and low light of dawn and dusk. In the early mornings, as early as 4 a.m., deer make their first trip of the day in search of food and water. Thanks to their portent retina, deer have impressive night vision, which they use to their advantage to keep them safe from hunters and other predators. 

During the day, deer stay in their bedding area, resting, though this often depends on the age of the deer. At dusk, usually between 4 and 10 in the evening, depending on the time of year and food scarcity, they make their second trip searching for sustenance. They usually travel shorter distances during this second trip.

How Winter Affects the Way Deer Travel

Throughout the summer months, deer have plenty of vegetation to feed themselves without traveling too far. However, as winter settles in, they usually have to venture farther from their bedding ground in search of food. This often means passing through open land that they would typically avoid, making them vulnerable to predators.

As they have to traverse longer distances in the winter, they often walk later into the morning, sometimes in broad daylight. However, the shorter daylight hours helps them to stay hidden later in the day. 

a shadow hunter blind set up in a forest

Use Hunting Blinds to Improve Your Hunt

Because deer tend to stick to the same paths, hunters can set up hunting blinds in favorable spots, giving them a better chance of success. Hunting blinds disguise hunters and dull their smell while offering great sightlines, a place to shelter from bad weather, and space to store supplies during the hunting season.

For hunters who like to explore and shoot in different areas, GhostBlinds are a fantastic option. These portable blinds unfold to create a hiding spot. They provide superior camouflage as the reflective mirrored surfaces blend into the surrounding area seamlessly without reflecting the animal to itself. The portable nature of these blinds allows you to adapt your hunting location to the deer’s seasonal habits. 

The Evolution of Hunters and Deer

Over the years, hunters have studied deer closely and learned a great deal about their habits. This has helped them to anticipate where the creatures will be at any given time. It has also encouraged them to create tools such as hunting blinds to disguise themselves from the animals to increase their chances of making a kill. However, over time, deer also learn to adapt and are often one step ahead of the hunter despite being creatures of habit.