When Do Deer Sleep?

A Comprehensive Guide

A common question among hunters and deer enthusiasts is when do deer sleep or whether deer sleep at all? A deer is an animal of habit and tends to sleep in groups or alone because once they find the right place to deep sleep, they tend to continue to sleep and bed in that same place continuously for some periods of time.

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The question about sleeping deer would have a quite simple response: a deer would sleep when it finds itself in a place that they regard as safe and has a good supply of food resources. When deer sleep is typically dependent on the season, time of the day, the hunting pressure, and birth stages. One thing that may determine the deer activity and when a deer would sleep is its safety. A deer puts safety before any other thing, according to deer experts. Most certainly, deer sleep, although they have one of the most bizarre buck bedding habits. Typically, deer sleep for around 30 seconds to a couple of minutes, after which the deer will rise, stretch, defecate or urinate. The cycle then begins again. The deer sleeping cycle may continue for up to 30 minutes to 45 minutes.

When Do Deer Sleep1

What is the Sleep Habit of Whitetail Deer?

One thing synonymous with all prey species is that they sleep, even though most are not the same creatures of habit as humans. While hunting, a strategy for hunters is to know where whitetail bucks bed and make sure you catch the mature bucks either in the bed on their way to the bed. Excluding the rut hunting season, whitetail deer spend around 70% period of time in the bedding areas, so hunting pressure demands understanding the whitetail bed and what transpires there. As aforementioned, whitetail deer sleep is characterized by nodding and dozing off within seconds to a couple of hours. In doing so, they get to rest while smelling and using their ears to listen for threats of predators in the bedding areas. The whitetail female deer bed so that they can use all their senses to the maximum potentials.


While bedding, they nod off for a couple of minutes, then open their eyes and scan the surrounding area. Once the buck is sure the coast is clear, it nods back to sleep. While the newborn deer activity is sleeping, it lays down, typically with its leg folded upwards next to it, sets its head erect to enable its smell and hear as much as possible. During the rut hunting season, bucks usually bed with their head position straight because they are visibly tired from chasing a doe. The whitetail single deer continues this sleeping cycle for 30 minutes to 45 minutes, after which they get up to take a look at their bedding area, ensuring there’s no threat of predators in the area, defecate and urinate. After this daily activity, buck bed and start the same cyclical routine again.

The Sleeping and the Bedding Deer

That a whitetail is bedded does not imply that it is sleeping. Deer populations walk and move around a lot in the woods. Nevertheless, it cannot keep to such a routine always. To escape from hunters and predators, cautious animals move to get to several places that interest them, not exactly for fun. Bedded deer chew their cud, groom themselves or rest and sleep. As ruminant prey animals having four-chambered stomachs, whitetail mature deer chew their cud for a long time. In their bedding areas, they also tend to spend time reaching over an hour, grooming themselves and other mature deer. As much as dominant bucks can be seen several times bedded down, it is rare to see a deer sleeping. They are smart, simple animals that spend most of their lives staring and watching out for predators, feeding, and socializing. A sleeping deer can be likened to a human trying to stay awake while driving.

The Sleeping and the Bedding Deer

Where is the Sleeping Area for Deers?

Selecting the perfect bedding area is usually a difficult task for whitetail deer. They cannot bed just anywhere. Whitetail deer usually require a bedding area that gives them a certain strategic advantage over human disturbance and predators, especially when alone. They want a place where they can use their senses’ potential to sense a coming predator, see, hear or smell them as they walk in the woods. As earlier mentioned, average deer are animals of habit, and once they feel secure in a particular spot, they will keep returning to the same spot almost for the entire year whitetail deer, especially the adult buck, tends to change habits at the onset of a rut every year. The way whitetail deer may rest when it rains is no different from wild animals.


Deer can sense and tell when a storm is coming. Although their habits may be different, depending on the extent to which it rains. In a steady rain, with very little or strong wind, dominant bucks usually feel safer while moving, as the moisture on the vegetation allows deer movements without noise through the woods. They also smell things better in the rain. Deer possesses characteristics that help them adapt to the rain. They are covered in thick fur, which keeps them warm even in extremely cold and harsh weather conditions. Like almost all other large wild animals, this allows them to not the rain affects deer movements. The rain boots their senses and confidence.

Where is the Sleeping Area for Deers

Are there Differences between Buck and Doe Bedding Areas?

Doe is considered to do better at bedding than a bedded buck. Doe usually beds in large numbers all year round, and more of the whitetail deer bed together implies more nose, eyes, and ears, as their number is of a better advantage. Things different between bedded buck and doe bedding areas are usually quite obvious. The buck always takes strategic positions and makes fewer signs on the ground in their bedding area, even though there might be obvious rubs around the area. At the same time, the doe cares less about the strategic variety of positions. Their bedding areas are usually noted by tons of indents on the ground, signifying a group of does or a doe having fawns.

Are there Differences between Buck and Doe Bedding Areas


Deers may bed or sleep in their already selected strategic spots. Also, one thing that influences the choice of their bedding area is that it’s usually within thick shrubs and very tall trees. As such, they are also shielded from most of the rain. Hunting down rut-worn bucks in the rain is often very difficult unless the hunter comes across one.

Deer are a crepuscular breed of animals, as per the deer experts. Crepuscular animals are animals that are usually very active at dawn or dusk. At dawn or dusk, the wide eyes of the buck absorb so much light to see their paths, most particularly to their food sources, and this is the active time that their predators are often struggling to get clear vision, as it is relatively dark in the woods at such hours.


Deers are notable for their alertness, even while sleeping. It is almost impossible to find a deer while sleeping, so catching a bedded deer would require a bow range. Bucks generally rely on their sense of smell and hearing to predict the movement of predators and savvy deer hunter. Active Deer may be dozing with their two eyes closed or with the two eyes open. The ultimate purpose of deer during the night periods is self-preservation. They use the dark of the night and the silence accompanying it to defend against all forms of predators. Although adult deer can be seen lying in their beds most of the time, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are sleeping all the time. They spend some seasons and periods grooming, chewing their cud, and socializing. Deer sleeps for about 30 to 45 minutes before making sure they are safe and then resume the cycle again. The deer hold in topmost priority their safety and self-preservation.

Author Profile

Gabriel Tackett
Double major in Engineering and Geology at the University of Minnesota. Experienced shooter & hunter for over 15 years. Certified NRA officer for over 10 years working as a writer at Ballachy.com .

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