How To Watch Wild Deer


Watching deer in the wild is a great way to see these animals in their natural habitat and going through the daily routine. Deer are skittish though and can be easily scared away. I have a few tips for you if you want to see deer in the wild.

Deer have excellent hearing and eyesight and you must take care to stay downwind and as quiet as possible. Wear dark clothing and camouflage your outline against a tree or bush.  Use a hide if possible and try to learn their daily habits.  The best time to watch deer is at dawn due to the light.

If you want to see deer in their natural habitat then there is some great information below.

Be Quiet And Stay Downwind

Watching deer in the wild can be difficult due to their keen hearing as they can hear the slightest unusual sound.

Deer have an excellent sense of smell, so if you want to watch deer in the wild then it is best to find a place downwind. If you don’t then they may pick up on your scent and leave. If you want to go deer watching then make sure you don’t smoke or wear any strong scents.

Another sense that deer rely on is their eyesight. They have fantastic eyesight and can spot a human over a kilometer away. Although deer may have great eyesight, they rely on movement so if you stay still then they may not see you. Always make sure to not break up the horizon, however, as they may spot you.

Deer can be very vocal so listen out for them when walking somewhere where you might spot them.

What Clothes To Wear

Although you don’t need to wear camouflage clothes to see deer in the wild, I would recommend dark-colored clothing to blend in. Due to the excellent hearing of deer, it is best to wear clothes that don’t rustle or make noise to avoid scaring them away.

Something else that I often wear is a pair of gloves. If you are like me then you know how annoying biting insects and mosquitoes are. Gloves are essential for me to stop getting bitten when I’m in the wild for a long time.

How To Watch Wild Deer

Deer are creatures of habit and will spend time in the same places at the same time every day. They will also use the same paths to move around and feed in the same places.

If you are lucky to observe deer over a period of time then you will quickly learn their habits, including where they eat and sleep. The best time to see deer is at dusk and if you do spot a herd in a field then it is best to keep walking and avoid looking straight at them. If deer think that you have not seen them then they will generally stay still.

Once you know where the deer are and their habits, you can decide the best place to view them from. If you want some great photographs then you can decide where to get the best photos of deer doing their usual behavior.

Best Time To See Deer

The best time for watching deer is early morning around dawn. There are fewer insects around dawn and the light is perfect for some great photos.

It is best to find a good hiding place from the deer. You should try to break up your outline by standing in front of a tree or a bush.

If watching deer at dusk then try to time your arrival to get their about two hours before the sun goes down. Deer can look like they are settled down and feeding but this is part of their defense mechanism.

Deer pretend to feed when they are actually concentrating on every smell and noise around them. If you make a move and they scatter then you know they were just pretending to feed.

Due to the fact that deer are mainly seen during twilight hours then a pair of binoculars that can see well in low light is essential. I always carry a pair of compact binoculars with me whenever I am out just in case I see some wildlife. For a pair of everyday binoculars that are also great in low light, I use the Occer 12×25. They are inexpensive, compact, and perfect for watching deer. You can find them here on Amazon.

Where To Watch Deer From?

A good place to watch deer from is from high ground. Deer are rarely attacked from above and so do not look upwards for danger. Climbing a tree can make an ideal spot to watch deer, and placing a plank of wood in a tree can make an ideal seat. Just be careful!!!

If in a suitable area you may be able to find a hide, such as those used for bird-watching. If you cant, then you can always make your own hide. Some camouflage netting along with some twigs and leafy material can make an ideal hide.

A tall, flat front with a slit, along with views out of the side is ideal to watch deer. If you use the hide more than once then it is a good idea to clear a path to the hide, so that you don’t scare off the deer by treading on twigs or leaves.

If you want to attract deer closer to where you are then you can encourage them by putting out leafy twigs. Another great way to encourage deer to come closer is to put out a salt lick. You can fix this to a tree trunk to bring them closer so you can watch them easier.

If deer come close to where you park your car then you can use your car as an ideal hide. Deer do not seem to be scared of cars the same way they do of us which may encourage them to come closer to the car. A few leafy twigs or salt lick near the car could definitely win them over.

Bryan Harding

Bryan has spent his whole life around animals. While loving all animals, Bryan is especially fond of mammals and has studied and worked with them around the world. Not only does Bryan share his knowledge and experience with our readers, but he also serves as owner, editor, and publisher of North American Mammals.

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