When do deer sleep?

A common question among hunters and deer enthusiasts is if deer sleep at all and when do deer sleep.

Most certainly, deer sleep, although they have one of the most bizarre sleeping 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.

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The question about sleeping deer would have a quite simple response, that a deer would sleep when it finds itself in a place that they regard to 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 when a deer would sleep is its safety. A deer puts safety before any other thing.


A deer is an animal of habit and as such tends to sleep in groups or alone, because once they find the right place to sleep, they tend to continue to sleep and bed in that same place continuously for some periods of time.

What is the Sleep Habit of Whitetail Deer?

One thing synonymous about all animals is that they sleep, even though most don’t have the same sleeping habits as humans. While hunting, a strategy for hunter to use is knowing where whitetail bucks bed and make sure you catch the bucks either in the bed on their way to the bed.

Excluding the rut hunting season, whitetail deer spend around 70% of their time in the bedding areas, so been excellent at hunting demands understanding the whitetail bed and what transpires there. Whitetail deer sleep is characterized by nodding and dozing off within seconds to couple of minutes as aforementioned. In doing so, they get to rest while smelling and using their ears to listen for threats of predators in the bedding areas.

When do deer sleep

The whitetail deer bed in a manner that they are able to 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 deer is sleeping, it lays down, typically with its leg folded upwards next to it, sets its head erect to enable it smell, as well as hear as much as possible. During the rut hunting season, bucks usually bed with their head straight, all because they are visibly tired from chasing doe.

The whitetail 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, they bed and start the same cycle all over again.

The Sleeping and the Bedding Deer

That a whitetail is bedded does not imply that it is sleeping. A deer walks and moves around a lot in the woods, nevertheless, it cannot keep to such routine always. To escape from hunter and predators, deer move to get several places that interests them, not exactly for fun.


Bedded deer chew their cud, groom themselves or rest and sleep. As ruminant animals having four chambered stomach, whitetail 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 deer.

As much as bucks can be seen several times bedded down, it is quite rare to see a deer sleeping. They are smart, simple animals that spend most moments 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.

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 certain strategic advantage over humans and predators, especially when they are alone.

They want a place where they can employ their senses’ maximum potentials, to sense a coming predator, see, hear or smell them as they walk in the woods. As earlier mentioned, deer are animals of habit and once they feel secure in a particular spot, they will keep returning to same spot almost for the entire year, e whitetail deer, especially the buck tends to change habits at the onset of rut every year.

When do deer sleep

The way whitetail deer may rest when it rains is no different from any other wild animal. 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 steady rain, with very little or no wind, bucks usually feel safer while making movement, as the moisture on the vegetation allows them move without noise through the woods. They also smell things better in the rain.

Deer possesses characteristics that help them adapt in the rain. They are covered in thick fur, which keeps them warm even in extremely cold and harsh weather conditions. This allows them to, like almost all other large wild animals, not be move by the rain. The rain boots their senses and confidence and as such,

Are there Differences between Buck and Doe Bedding Areas?

Doe is considered to do better at bedding than buck. Doe usually beds in large numbers all year round and more of the deer bedding together implies more nose, eyes and ears, as their number is of a better advantage. Things different between buck and doe bedding areas are usually quite obvious.


The buck always takes strategic positions and makes less signs on the ground in their bedding area, even though there might be obvious rubs around the area. Whereas the doe cares less about strategic positions and their bedding areas are usually noted by tons of indents on the ground, signifying a group of does or a doe having fawns.


On very normal circumstances, whitetail deer sleep daytime, when the woods are relatively bright. At daylight hours, deer might be seen sleeping in areas where there are bushes and shrubs of up to 5 feet, where they can be hardly seen by predators and hunters. Also, areas that are thick, make good beds of grass as well as weed are considered to be just right for deer bedding or sleeping during the day. These places are chosen to keep them hidden from hunters and predators.

A deer typically has bad eyesight during the day and good eyesight during night hours and uses it as a guard against predators. Deer sleeps very little at night and when they do, they sleep in dark areas, unlike the day time.

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 .

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

Deer often leave their safe zones to forage at these lowlight hours than other times during the day. At night hours, they are usually more active, much more than during the day and they treasure feeding in the safety the night provides.

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 .

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

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 .

Bottom Line

Deers are notable for their alertness, even while sleeping. It is almost impossible to find a deer while it is 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 hunters. 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, and they basically use the dark of the night and the silence that accompanies it as a defense against all forms of predators.

Although, whitetail deer can be seen laying in their beds most of the time, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are sleeping all the time. They spend some season and periods grooming, chewing their cud, and socializing. Deer sleeps for about 30 to 45 minutes at a time, before making sure they are safe and then resume the cycle again. One thing the deer does hold in topmost priority is their safety and self-preservation.

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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