whitetails and cold weather

F

FishnFed

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Knoxville, Tennessee
As I was perched in my tree this am, I was pondering if the cold bothered the deer as much as people. I normally see a few deer each morning when I hunt this piece of property, however, since the cold set in, I have not seen many. I'm wondering if they sleep in, have a late breakfast and then go about their deer business. Any input from the knowledge base would be appreciated.
 
cecil30-30

cecil30-30

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I feel In bitter cold they do move later in the morning once the sun comes up and warms a little.

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
 
LanceS4803

LanceS4803

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Middle TN
I was out this morning and they are acting like they do when the weather is warmer.
A little spike that I see every time, walked past me at about 20', walking down the middle of the creek (about 4" deep), with not a care in the world. I heard him crunching through some ice covered water in my food plot behind me. This was at 0715.
About 45 minutes later I bumped a herd of antlerless going back to the truck. They were feeding in some brambles.

In super cold weather, tomorrow?, I find them on south facing hillsides catching the first light.
 
S

scn

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IMO, abnormal cold, like we are having now, does affect their movements. When it gets much colder than normal, I've seen them move from some of their normal locations. One area they tend to gravitate to in extreme cold is a bedding area with some thermal cover. Basically, this is an area with a thick canopy over their head that traps a little heat as they bed. So, rather than bedding in more open cover with nothing above them, they may head to a pine stand or cedar glade the traps in some of their escaped heat and helps block the wind.

South facing slopes tend to warm up earliest in the day, and can be hot spots in extreme weather.

It has also been pretty noticeable over the years that they do no like eating green stuff that is covered in frost. So, they delay feeding until the sun burns it off. Honeysuckle can become a preferred food source as it doesn't get frosted as much as stuff on the ground. I know of a really nice mature buck that was killed around 11 am yesterday morning. The successful hunter watched if feed across an overgrown field eating honeysuckle all the way before taking the shot.

And, while we don't have "deer yards" here in the south, I've noticed a big tendency for our deer to "herd up" this time of year. Rather than seeing random family groups of 4-5 animals, you may see two or three of those family groups together. That affects deer sightings because rather than having several groups randomly located around your property with the chance for a sighting in a number of places, most of the deer may be in one location.

And, a final observation is that by this point in the season, a lot of the deer have pinpointed permanent or semi-permanent (ladder stand) locations and learned how to get around them without being seeing. Some off the wall strategy of moving away from stand sites that were productive early on and setting up with climber around thickets with honeysuckle, or even hunting off of the ground away from those sites can sometimes find the mother lode of animals.
 
duckriver

duckriver

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scn":qlvr312n said:
IMO, abnormal cold, like we are having now, does affect their movements. When it gets much colder than normal, I've seen them move from some of their normal locations. One area they tend to gravitate to in extreme cold is a bedding area with some thermal cover. Basically, this is an area with a thick canopy over their head that traps a little heat as they bed. So, rather than bedding in more open cover with nothing above them, they may head to a pine stand or cedar glade the traps in some of their escaped heat and helps block the wind.

South facing slopes tend to warm up earliest in the day, and can be hot spots in extreme weather.

It has also been pretty noticeable over the years that they do no like eating green stuff that is covered in frost. So, they delay feeding until the sun burns it off. Honeysuckle can become a preferred food source as it doesn't get frosted as much as stuff on the ground. I know of a really nice mature buck that was killed around 11 am yesterday morning. The successful hunter watched if feed across an overgrown field eating honeysuckle all the way before taking the shot.

And, while we don't have "deer yards" here in the south, I've noticed a big tendency for our deer to "herd up" this time of year. Rather than seeing random family groups of 4-5 animals, you may see two or three of those family groups together. That affects deer sightings because rather than having several groups randomly located around your property with the chance for a sighting in a number of places, most of the deer may be in one location.

And, a final observation is that by this point in the season, a lot of the deer have pinpointed permanent or semi-permanent (ladder stand) locations and learned how to get around them without being seeing. Some off the wall strategy of moving away from stand sites that were productive early on and setting up with climber around thickets with honeysuckle, or even hunting off of the ground away from those sites can sometimes find the mother lode of animals.


There is a truck load of truth right here
 
7mm08

7mm08

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In a river hopefully!
You would trust a man (SCN) that tries to fool poor tarpon with a feather? Ha!

Great info Steve , now FIX the weather forecast for LA!!!b
 
J

Jon54

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Germantown, TN
On my way to Church this morning around 830, we saw about 6 deer bedded in a field downwind of some thick brush in the sun. Clearly they were in as warm a spot as they could find.
 
Crow Terminator

Crow Terminator

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McMinn County
Deer and goats are very similar. Both are browsers and have a lot of the same traits. My goats eats 2x or maybe even 3x as much in cold weather. All the books say that ruminants do this for warmth. Yesterday I put 3 bales of straw in their barn for warmth and bedding, and fed them the normal feed and gave them a square bale of hay too. When I went to feed this morning, they had ate all the square bale AND the straw I put in the barn for bedding. That was 4 square bales gone in basically the night! That's with 9 goats. Deer would be much of the same I imagine...eating up heavy on browse and tree bark.
 
fairchaser

fairchaser

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Crow Terminator":11brnxzj said:
Deer and goats are very similar. Both are browsers and have a lot of the same traits. My goats eats 2x or maybe even 3x as much in cold weather. All the books say that ruminants do this for warmth. Yesterday I put 3 bales of straw in their barn for warmth and bedding, and fed them the normal feed and gave them a square bale of hay too. When I went to feed this morning, they had ate all the square bale AND the straw I put in the barn for bedding. That was 4 square bales gone in basically the night! That's with 9 goats. Deer would be much of the same I imagine...eating up heavy on browse and tree bark.

Not scientific but some good information. Knowing that deer might have to double their normal intake of calories, could mean that they might double their daytime activity in order to stay warm. As SCN pointed out, they should move a little later in the morning after the sun is out. Couple that with focusing on certain kinds of food sources and cover away from known deer stands, you have the recipe for successful hunt.
 

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