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Thread: Deer going nocturnal

  1. #1

    Deer going nocturnal

    In the USA, Eastern Whitetail deer will quickly learn the normal hunting hours of their human adversaries, and if they do not have a secure sanctuary, or if there is pressure all day, they will become very nocturnal, bedding down during the day and eating at night. You have to make them move, wait for them to get up to go for a drink, or use a coming frontal system or end of a storm to make them move for you.

    As much hunting pressure as it seems there is in the UK with individuals shooting dozens of deer a year on a single farm, do you not see the same disappearance of deer there during daylight hours?

  2. #2
    Yes we do. In my experience with fallow deer especially.

  3. #3
    +1 on the fallow, having a very difficult time on one of my permissions.
    “Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the wildlife you hunt and for the forest and fields in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoor experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person.”
    –Fred Bear -

  4. #4
    I was stalking with SikaMalc back in December and we spoke about exactly this (and with fallow too), and its not been helped at all by the relatively warm weather we've had at the tail end of last year. The deer just feed at night and are couched up by the time dawn breaks.

    Hopefully the cold weather of late has got them moving again as I'm back down in Feb hehe!

  5. #5
    Yes we do, as noted above particularly with fallow.

    But the US is absolutely massive compared to the UK (c.40 times the land area) and I think the UK has a higher density of deer and eight times the population density of humans. My guess - and it is just a guess - is our woodlands (which tend to be small) will hold higher density populations of deer than the US so they're easier to find, and they tend to be nearer habitation so they're easier to get to.

    Also, we don't have the hunter culture that the US has - we only have c.150k firearms licence holders in the whole country for 26m households, so about 0.5% of households will have a rifle whereas in the US about 20% of homes own a rifle. Overall, more deer in smaller more accessible areas and fewer people who shoot might be making it easier for us in the UK.

  6. #6
    Sika also....pressure just forces them to come out later and later or move to areas where they are not disturbed!

    I have spent many a frustrating morning and evening trying to pre-empt fallow....who always seem to be 15 mins ahead or behind me!!

  7. #7
    Recon most of our deer are shot by poachers at night with a lamp, normal early morning/evening stalking pressure second.
    I shoot most of my deer at lunch time.
    edi

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Dorsettaff View Post
    Sika also....pressure just forces them to come out later and later or move to areas where they are not disturbed!

    I have spent many a frustrating morning and evening trying to pre-empt fallow....who always seem to be 15 mins ahead or behind me!!
    I find it much more so with the Sika, I haven't found it as bad with the fallow on our ground but once the Sika start to get hit they go nearly go completely nocturnal so we have to hit them hard once we decide to start culling.

  9. #9
    Not having my own ground, or being on syndicate ground often enough to form a solid opinion, I too witness what seems to be a lack of deer through December. I have put it down to the long nights/short days, where deer being sensible animals will just eat through the night when they have the upper edge over their predators. I also feel in recent years the weather has been fairly kind so perhaps the deer do not feel the need to risk eating in the day. However I do think that as Southern says along with others that deer will soon learn that the day is "extra" dangerous with human predators, and thus go nocturnal. With this in mind, how often would one have to stalk an area before the deer become nocturnal? It would be interesting to see how many deer people shoot on X number of acres? Out of those people who would say there deer are not under shooting pressure and are seen regularly through the daytime, and those who would say that the deer on there ground are nocturnal. (I understand with herding deer that the pressure may be due to neighbouring shoots or stalkers).

    I doubt many will put a reply but I would be interested in some views.

  10. #10
    Like Stu bear i was at Malc,s in December and all the Fallow were nocturnal probably saw about 40 deer in total all at night .All very frustrating but with the mad weather and a surplus of natural food there was no need for them to be out in the day.Berries and buds and lotsa rain to keep them bedded down in daylight
    she buys shoes i buy ,shooting,she stops buying shoes,il be amazed

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