Will Deer Move With Frost On The Ground

Last updated : November 19, 2022
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As most are well aware, the weather heavily affects deer movement. However, some hunters are still uncertain as to when the best deer movement tends to take place. There are also many folk tales regarding how the weather affects deer movement, complicating matters further and making it hard to discern fact from fiction.

Many of these tales and a significant amount of arm-chair speculation center around how deer react when a heavy frost is on the ground.

Hunters often question whether deer will move with frost on the ground. Read on to learn more about how deer react to cold weather and frost.

How Frost Affects Deer Movement

Deer movement tends to be at its peak whenever cold air takes hold over an area. This is especially true if this cold air has been ushered in by a relatively pronounced cold front.

Most now agree that this phenomenon has as much to do with the changes in barometric pressure accompanying such weather as the actual cold weather itself.

Movement tends to peak during unseasonably cool weather that aligns with a rise in barometric pressure. These high-pressure days are often characterized by blue-bird skies, chilling mornings, and widespread frost.

Therefore, frost does not truly serve as a dictating factor toward deer movement, yet acts more as a natural characteristic of ideal deer movement weather.

There is no absolute truth to the notion that deer movement is hindered by even the heaviest frosts. The opposite is true.

Some hunters even prefer hunting on frosty mornings, not only due to the heightened deer movement that such mornings bring but the audible crunching noise that deer make when moving across the frost-covered ground.

What About Extremely Cold Mornings?

deer in the snow

Deer do indeed move on extremely cold mornings, though their actual movement patterns might be somewhat altered. Generally speaking, deer will later return to their bedding areas when frigid cold weather is afoot.

This means hunters might be at a greater risk of bumping deer when traveling to their stands before a morning hunt. 

To avoid this, some hunters focus solely on hunting during the afternoon when extreme cold causes temperatures to plummet. Alternatively, hunting low-impact stand sites, where there is little risk of spooking deer on entry, is also a wise idea under such circumstances. 

Nonetheless, there is a definite advantage to hunting when such frigid conditions are present, as irregularly heavy deer movement is practically a given.

This stems from the fact that deer require a much higher intake of calories to sustain their body temperatures in the extreme cold than would otherwise be necessitated under other circumstances.

To meet these nutritional demands, deer are forced to feed more frequently and at a much heavier rate than usual. This provides plenty of opportunity for any hunter willing to brave the extreme cold in an attempt to punch their tag.

a hunter in his treestand with his compound bow

Do Deer Move In The Cold – Yes

To make the most of such opportunities, a hunter must come prepared to weather whatever mother nature throws their way. Most importantly, this includes dressing adequately for the weather at hand.

Furthermore, layering clothing when departing for a hunt of this nature is extremely important, as is wearing thermal underwear or any comparable base layer.

It is also advisable to pack your outer layers of clothing in a pack when walking to the stand before putting them on after reaching your destination.

This prevents you from sweating excessively under the increased warmth of a heavy outer layer of clothing when walking through various terrain. 

This bears consideration because breaking a sweat while walking to the stand can severely damage your staying power during cold weather hunts.

Any sweat-related moisture accumulated during your initial walk to the stand will quickly chill upon ceasing all movement. This can send even the heartiest of hunters hastily retreating to their truck in short order.

It is also advisable to pack a handful of high-calorie snacks with you to the stand during cold weather hunts. Periodically snacking while on a stand will help regulate your body temperature and prevent you from quickly getting the chills.

Granola bars, candy, and snack cakes are all worthy companions on cold-weather hunts.

Know The Weather

The first cold snap of fall brings about some of the best hunting of the season, making it prime time to punch an unfilled tag. Frost or no frost, every hunter should take full advantage of such an opportunity whenever possible.

With ample preparation, you might take your best buck to date this fall while sitting on a stand overlooking a frost-covered field or woodlot.

While deer movement might be slightly altered on extremely cold mornings, hunting during these conditions can still provide ample opportunity.

Preparation is key when braving the extreme cold to make the most of a hunt.

Most importantly, dress appropriately and layer your clothing to avoid sweating excessively. Pack high-calorie snacks to help regulate your body temperature, and always know the weather before departing for a hunt.

Josh Boyd is a passionate hunter with over two decades of experience and strategically manages several properties. Additionally, he serves as the Branch President for his local chapter of the QDMA (Quality Deer Management Association). If you have inquiries or seek to delve into discussions, please don't hesitate to connect with Josh.

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