The Dos and Don'ts of Hunting in the Rain

Things to consider when hunting whitetails before, during, or after rainfall 

By Joel Herrling | PUBLISHED October, 3rd 2022 

While it’s not talked about as much as other topics, bowhunting in the rain can be controversial among fellow hunters. There are two different viewpoints regarding this dilemma that hunters, me included, face. You either hunt in the rain, or you don’t. Already having limited time in the deer woods, the onset of wet conditions can shrink that number of days even further. 

According to some old-school hunters, hunting in any precipitation is looked down upon and can be considered an amateur move. While deer will typically move in a light rain, they tend to seek out shelter at times of heavy downpours. Rain can be detrimental to following blood trails despite how good one feels the shot was. Some have painstakingly learned this lesson the hard way after being unable to recover a deer during a rainstorm. Another disadvantage for those that are self-filming their hunts is that expensive camera gear and water don’t mix well. 

However, more and more hunters are opting to hunt in the rain thanks to companies that manufacture box blinds, heavy-duty screw in tree umbrellas. Advancements in waterproof clothing and boots have done wonders in keeping dry. Gone are the days of wearing bread bags on one’s feet under their boots. You’re out there, I can’t be the only one that had parents that made me do this! Rainy weather can help to dampen any noise you make on the way to the stand. Wet conditions can also be beneficial in wiping away any scent trail that was unintentionally left. 

If you decide to hunt in the rain, make sure to stay safe. Be careful on treestand ladders as they can become slippery. Be sure to watch the weather report and for lightning. Pick shots that you feel most comfortable with. Have the appropriate gear as getting wet can lead to getting cold which can bring on hypothermia. 

I like to employ tactics like getting to my stand on the back end of the weather front and waiting for it to clear up. Generally, after a heavy rain, whitetail activity will increase as they get up to feed again. This can also help motivate mature bucks to get up on their feet before dark. The same is true for sitting before a weather front comes through. Deer, like most creatures, tend to sense when a front is coming through, and I have witnessed the flurry of activity before a storm rolls through. Misty mornings have been known to provide great opportunities at the chance of filling a tag, especially during the rut.

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