Do Deer Know When Hunting Season Starts?

July 13, 2023

Do Deer Know When Hunting Season Starts?

Nature is a tapestry of interconnected lives, where every species, big or small, plays a crucial role. Regarding the delicate balance between predator and prey, the timing of events becomes paramount. In the realm of hunting, both humans and animals participate in a dance of instinct and circumstance. While animals may not comprehend the concept of hunting seasons as we know them, they possess innate senses and responses that shape their behavior during these periods.

How Do Deer Know It's Hunting Season?

They say the woods have a language of their own—a symphony of smells and sounds that carry hidden messages to keen ears and noses. When hunters enter these wild domains, they unwittingly fill the air with foreign scents and noises that are rarely present otherwise. During these moments, animals, particularly deer, awaken an ancient instinct to retreat and hide from potential threats. Their heightened senses tune into the disruptions, and they stealthily fade into the protective cover of their surroundings.

hunting camp

Trying to Outsmart Deer.

I noticed a striking pattern emerging while hunting deer in the Oregon wilderness. Most deer I have seen or harvested have been on opening day, and usually, younger deer are not as wise as the older bucks. If I didn't get one on opening day, then the hunt was truly on. This meant going deeper into the woods, away from roads and camps, and into the thick where the big bucks lay low, waiting for the season to end. It seems that the deer possessed an uncanny knowledge of when the hunting season starts and ends.

deer hiding in the deep woods

One year I tried to outsmart them. A fellow hunter came to me and said that Weyerhaeuser was offering permits for land that had been closed off to motor vehicles for 20 years. This was only the second year it was open, and at the time, the permits were reasonably priced with a limited number of available permits. Even with the permit, hunting on this land was restricted to after 4 pm on weekdays and open all weekend from an hour before sunrise to an hour before sunset. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to catch the big bucks by surprise.

The Deer Seem To Know When It's Deer Season.

Just a couple of weeks before the hunting season, my party of hunters scouted the area, and we were astounded by the abundance of deer. The forests teemed with these majestic creatures, seemingly unfazed by human presence. Bucks ventured within an arm's reach, calmly observing us.

showing deer before deer season

Where Did All The Deer Go?

Yet, an inexplicable shift occurred as soon as the official hunting season began. The deer vanished as though they possessed a silent understanding of the impending danger.

all the deer are gone

To add to the intrigue, the deer reappeared in significant numbers when we returned in November for elk season. Granted, they were in their rut, but they had no fear. This twist only deepened the mystery, suggesting that animals, driven by their inherent instincts, possess an intricate understanding of their environment and the various hunting seasons.

all the deer are back

The world of hunting seasons unveils a captivating tapestry where human regulations intersect with the innate instincts of animals. While animals may not grasp the specifics of hunting seasons as defined by human boundaries, their behavioral patterns and heightened senses guide them through the ebb and flow of nature. The personal account shared above is a testament to the profound connection between animal instinct and the peculiar circumstances surrounding hunting seasons in this dance of instinct and circumstance.

Hunting Strategy

Hunters hunting public land must use strategies to find the deer. They need to get off the beaten path and move with stealth, blending their silhouette with the woods to hide their movement, stepping lightly without dragging their feet to move quietly, and ensuring the wind is in their face and not at their back.

And when you finally have that elusive buck in your sights after all that effort putting miles on your boots, you must have the gear you can count on. A reliable rifle and crystal-clear scope and some dependable and durable Warne scope mounts to ensure your aim is true.