Watching deer in the wild is a great way to see these animals in their natural habitat and go through their 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.
There is some great information below if you want to see deer in their natural habitat.
Deer survive harsh weather conditions in some clever ways. Please find out more in this article I wrote.
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.
Deers have an excellent sense of smell, so if you want to watch deer in the wild, 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, ensure you don’t smoke or wear any strong odors.
Another sense that deer rely on is their eyesight. They have excellent vision and can spot a human over a kilometer away. Although deer may have a great eye, they rely on movement, so if you stay still, they may not see you. Always ensure not to break up the horizon, 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 deer’s excellent hearing, 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, you know how annoying biting insects and mosquitoes are. Gloves are essential 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 areas.
If you are lucky to observe deer over time, you will quickly learn their habits, including where they eat and sleep. The best time to see deer is at dusk, and if you spot a herd in a field, it is best to keep walking and avoid looking straight at them. If deer think you have not seen them, they will stay still.
Once you know where the deer are and their habits, you can decide the best place to view them and take photographs of them 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 sunrise, and the light is perfect for some great photos.
It is best to find a good hiding place from the deer. It would be best if you tried to break up your outline by standing in front of a tree or a bush.
If watching deer at dusk, try to time your arrival to get there 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.
Deers pretend to feed when concentrating on every smell and noise around them. If you make a move and they scatter, then you know they were pretending to feed.
Because deer are mainly seen during twilight hours, a pair of binoculars that can see well in low light is essential. I always carry a couple of compact binoculars with me whenever I am out, just in case I see some wildlife. For a couple of everyday binoculars that are also great in low light, I use the Occur 12×25. They are inexpensive, compact, and perfect for watching deer. You can find them here on Amazon.
Where To Watch Deer From?
An excellent place to watch deer is from high ground. Deer are rarely attacked from above, 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 a perfect 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 can, then you can always make your hide. Some camouflage netting, twigs, and leafy material can make an ideal hide.
A tall, flat front with a slit and views out of the side is ideal for watching deer. If you use the hide more than once, it is a good idea to clear a path to the hair 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, 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, you can use your car as an ideal hide. Deers do not seem to be scared of cars the same way they do, which may encourage them to come closer to the car. A few leafy twigs or salt licks near the car could win them over.
Bryan Harding is a member of the American Society of Mammalogists and a member of the American Birding Association. Bryan is especially fond of mammals and has studied and worked with them around the world. Bryan serves as owner, writer, and publisher of North American Nature.