Have you ever wondered where deer sleep when they have a few minutes to do so? Human hunters may have heard that deer can be found sleeping near sources of water and food resources. This is true, but the answer is a bit more in-depth. Deer choose bedding areas where they feel safe and well covered for a sense of protection.
When you know where deer sleep, it can be helpful to track them down more quickly. However, deer bedding varies by gender, so there is no quick answer to this question. We’ll share information about deer sleeping habits so you have a strategic advantage and less hunting pressure the next time you go out.
Where To Find Sleeping Deer
When it comes to sleeping deer, the essential thing to know is that these animals sleep in areas where they feel safe. Having a good supply of food is also crucial for deer. Where you will find whitetail deer sleeping depends on a variety of factors, including:
· Hunting pressure
· Birth stages
· Time of day
· Season of the year
Beyond all other factors, bedded deer choose locations where they feel safe. Safety is placed above all else for the average buck or doe. These are cautious animals who want to feel protected in their sleeping area.
What a Sleeping Deer Looks Like
When you come across a bedded deer, don’t assume that the animal is in a deep sleep. In many cases, these deer are resting and chewing rather than sleeping. In addition, experts note that deer can sleep in various positions, including with their head up or their nose tucked under the back legs.
Since deer sleep for short periods, it can be challenging to come across one that is. Deer are incredibly vulnerable when asleep – and they are aware of that. Their constantly moving ears give them insight into what is happening around them. If they hear a strange noise, they’re likely to bolt.
However, if you do see a deer asleep in the wild, take a moment to appreciate what you are experiencing. It’s unlikely it will happen so it’s something you want to treasure and remember for years to come.
Deep Sleeping Habits
All animals, including deer, have their own sleeping habits. However, the way a deer sleeps isn’t the same as how a human does. So one strategy for hunters is to be aware of where whitetail bucks bed. This ensures you can find a deer in its bed or on the way to its favorite bedding areas.
Most whitetail deer spend nearly three quarters of their time at a bedding area, excluding rut hunting season. This is why it’s essential to know more about bedding spots and what they do there beyond sleeping.
Whitetail deer sleep by nodding off for several seconds to a few minutes at a time. This is done to conserve energy and create a constant state of vigilance. As prey animals, deer sleep on and off while using their nose to smell and ears to hear a potential predator coming.
Whitetail deer bed so that they can use all their senses for self-preservation. While in bedding areas, deer will nod off for a few minutes before their eyes open to scan nearby areas. After a deer is sure things are safe, they will go back to sleep.
Sleeping deer will lay down, often with their hind legs folded up next to it. The deer keeps an erect head to smell and hear what is going on around them. In rut hunting season, a buck will bed with a straight head since they are tired from chasing doe.
Whitetail deer sleep in this way for a cycle of 30 to 45 minutes. After doing so, they will get up to look at the bedding area and see if there are predators. If there is not, the buck will urinate, defecate, and move back to the bedding area to start the cycle again.
Sleeping Bedded Deer
While whitetail bed for long periods of time, that doesn’t mean they are in a constant state of sleep. Deer will move and walk around the woods, but keeping a regular routine isn’t always possible. For example, when getting away from hunters and predators, a deer may move to many different places over an hour or two.
Deer who bed will groom themselves, rest for short periods, or spend time chewing cud. These animals are ruminants and have a four-chambered stomach, which means cud-chewing takes a long time. In deer bedding areas, they relax and spend their time cleaning themselves and other deer.
While a buck may spend a lot of time in bedding spots, it’s less common to see sleeping deer. Deer are animals with good eyesight who are intelligent. Many of them spend their lives staring and looking for predators, as well as socializing and feeding.
Seeing a deer sleeping is similar to seeing a person trying to drive while staying awake when tired.
Where Do You See Sleeping Deer?
Choosing the perfect deer sleeping spot can be challenging for the animal. Deer cannot simply bed down anywhere they go. Whitetail deer spend a lot of time looking for sleep areas that give them an advantage over humans and other predators, especially when alone.
Deer want to use their senses as much as they can so they sense a predator immediately. However, deer are also creatures of habit. If they feel a particular place is safe for sleep, they may continue going back to the same site for an entire year. This can change when rut happens each year.
A deer will typically rest in the rain in the same way as other wild animals. However, a buck can tell when a storm is coming. The habits can be different based on how much rainfall occurs.
If there is steady rain without much wind, a buck will feel safer making no movement with the back legs tucked up against them. In addition, the moisture on tall bushes makes it easier for them to be silent while offering a better scent due to the rain.
Many buck characteristics help the animals adapt to rainy weather. They have thick fur that keeps them warm and toasty even in the worst weather conditions. This also means that they do not need to move in the rain. Rain offers them extra confidence and a boost to their senses.
What Happens When a Deer Wakes Up?
The answer to this question largely depends on what wakes the deer up. If it is awoken because a sleep cycle is over, the deer will likely continue to relax and go back to sleep after a certain amount of time.
Over time, deer have become used to hunting practices. At night when hunting is not allowed, deer will sleep in areas where they can be away from humans. However, if a sleeping deer wakes to a predator, its actions will change.
As soon as a predator is noticed, the deer will often hide to avoid them. They also may make a loud snorting sound to alert other deer in the area of trouble. This prevents others from coming to an unsafe location to bed.
Even newborn deer are kept in safe areas near their mothers due to predators and hunters. Within a few hours of being born, the fawn will stay and sleep in a bedded area more than 90% of their time. Deer will often leave them in camouflaged areas for extra security.
Deer have various strategies to get some shut-eye, such as positioning themselves to have a clear view. This means areas with back and side cover. Utilizing these strategies makes it less likely that a deer will be woken up by someone or something dangerous to them.
Do Mature Bucks and Doe Bedding Areas Differ?
In most cases, a doe is better at bedding than a buck will be. This is because doe tend to bed in large numbers throughout the year. With more deer in bed at the same spot, the different noses, ears, and eyes open provide an advantage in the deer sleeping cycle. The differences between how deer may bed as bucks and doe are relatively obvious.
A buck deer spends time creating strategic positions and avoiding ground signs when bedding. Doe are less worried about these things and may leave indents on the ground that shows they have been in even dense foliage.
Do Deer Sleep in Different Places During Daylight Hours?
In most cases, deer sleep in the daytime when the woods are bright. They get as much sleep as possible in daytime hours before temperature drops occur. You may see them sleep near brush and shrubs where they are hidden from others.
Areas thick with weeds also make an excellent bed for deer who sleep or relax during the day. Any of these environments has direct sunlight but is hidden from predators and hunters.
Most Active Times for Deer
Deer are considered crepuscular animals, which means they are the most active at dusk and dawn. During these times, deer may absorb a large amount of light to see nearby paths, especially those that lead to food. Therefore, instead of laying with noses tucked in a bed area, deer will be active while predators have more trouble seeing.
Deer will spend time in these hours foraging the area nearby. During the night, they are also more active. This is because the night hours are considered safer for the cover provided by darkness.
Where Do Deer Sleep When It Rains?
Deer can sleep or bed in strategic areas that are comfortable to them. This is often near tall trees and large shrubs. This helps shield deer from the majority of the rain. It’s also more challenging to hunt deer when the rain is coming down unless a person happens upon their bedding spot.
Deer are best noted for how alert they are, even when you might think they are sleeping. It’s nearly impossible to come across a deer while it sleeps and catching a bedding deer would necessitate a bow range.
Bucks predominantly used their senses of hearing and smell to determine where hunters and predators are located. Deep can sleep with eyes open or eyes closed. These animals use the night as a way to protect themselves since the quiet environment defends against predators.
While you may see whitetail deer laying in bed at any hour, that doesn’t mean they are actually sleeping. Deer may also spend time chewing cud, grooming, and socializing with other deer.
In general, a deer sleeps only 30 to 45 minutes before waking to check its safety and starting over again. The most important thing to a deer is making sure they are safe.