How Far Do Deer Travel? Deer Herd Day & Night Movement (2023)


Determining how far do deer travel is one of the major things for every hunter. Tracking their pattern is essential to make the most of your hunting. It helps you to figure out where you can find deer in great numbers.

On a broader range, the average distance that deer can travel in a day is 1.9 to 23.6 miles. However, a deer is likely to travel 2 to 3 miles per day. Some might cover even more distances. Forests that have scant covers have a higher dispersal rate.

Deer travel in search of feeding or bedding areas in heavy vegetation and covers, respectively. They also change their location during harsh weather conditions to find safer spots. Sometimes these animals move to find their mating partner.

Do you wonder when, where, and how far do deer move? If so, check out the detailed guide based on our personal experience.

Deer Travel Patterns – How Far Do Deer Travel?

Deer are one of the most difficult animals to chase but, if you crack the secret code of their travel, things come in your hand. So, do they move more in the morning or evening?

Since they are nocturnal creatures, their activity is increased as the evening hours start and reduced in the daylight. Though they do travel when the sun is up, you have to determine where and how far do deer travel in a day.

A study on a whitetail buck revealed that it traveled around 300 kilometers (186.4 miles) within a passage of 22 days. The average migration rate, also known as, how far do deer travel daily then becomes 13.6 km (8.54 miles).

In simpler words, this distance equates to covering an interstate highway or crossing a large river nearly seven times back and forth.

This study was further verified by a couple of scientists who conducted a survey male whitetail deer densities. According to the study, the animal’s walkabout was recorded over 174 km (108.1 miles) longer than any other buck ever recorded.

Do Deer Travel Alone?

When it comes to locomotion, hunters wonder do deer travel in packs or all alone. You might rarely notice an adult or mature buck traveling alone from one place to another. Because these animals are always looking around for potential danger, they prefer moving with a group of deer including fawns and doe for safety.

However, as the rut season begins, doe moves separately for the season. That said, whenever hunters spot a small group of deer, they instantly know these are button bucks (slightly larger antlerless deer having a flat head from the top between ears).

Speaking of the whitetails, they also like to move with other deer around. Generally, a buck travels with three or more bucks. However, the possibility of this animal seldomly moving alone cannot be ruled out.

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The simple answer to the common question i.e., do deer travel in herds is yes. But, is it the case throughout the year? No. Deer daily routine of moving is impacted by different seasons, for example:

  • Summer: Some does give birth to young ones during summer. All deer including bucks, does, and baby deer stay and move together in large herds.
  • Autumn: Does in estrus might stay close in groups. Some bucks travel together to pursue the does in heat.
  • Winter: All deer will come together once again and migrate from one place to another in search of food.
  • Spring: This is the time when does begin giving birth and the process continues till summer. The females at this time of the year are separated from bucks temporarily and stay close to their younglings. Bucks however continue traveling in bachelor herds.

How Many Deer Usually Travel In A Group?

The number of deer in a herd keeps varying from season to season. When the buck and does travel in separate packs, there are generally 3 to 5 of them. One dominant male or female that is stronger than all the others in the group is the leader.

When does travel with their fawns, the number of animals in the herd can range between 40 to 70. However, when the entire deer community locomotes in social groups, there could be as many as 200 to 400 or even more. In this case, a large group of does and younglings is followed by another large herd of bucks that look after them and provide safety.

How Do Whitetail Deer Travel?

Whitetails also have an average migration rate of 2 to 5 miles daily. Hunters notice a slight increase in the travel patterns of bucks when they are searching for their female partners during the rut season. Therefore, pre rut and rut hunting is pretty common in Northern States of USA. Rattling antlers are used as bait to attract bucks and does towards ground blind or best hunting stand.

Do Deer Travel The Same Path Every Day?

A lot of hunters question how do deer travel once they find a route to their feeding and bedding areas. In simple words, the game animals stick to a particular path for days or even years if it leads them to their needs.

That is why tracking deer travel corridors using their trails helps hunters to determine their patterns. For that purpose, trail cameras are used. You can mount the cameras in a safe place such as a tree trunk and monitor the deer activity from your home, vehicle, or camp on your smartphone.

The best setup would be keeping the trail camera at a height of 3 ft. (deer’s average height) from the ground. To make these out of the line of sight from deer, mount them at 6 to 7 ft. above the ground.

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Make sure that it faces the North or else bright sunlight can cause unclear images. Leave the camera for at least a week to determine the regular deer travel patterns in that particular area.

Once you have understood the path, stay low in the area between deer travel corridors i.e., two places where these animals move to and from. This brings loads of possibilities of seeing deer every day since they won’t alter the route.

The factors impacting daily deer travel routes include extreme weather conditions such as thunderstorms, heavy snow, or high winds (check deer movement in wind).

Sometimes, when their feeding site falls short of vegetation, deer are likely to change their everyday route. They will search for another site to feed themselves and stick to it as long as it provides them with food.

Do Deer Move During The Day?

While deer are most active through the night hours, they sometimes move during the day as well. There could be some serious reasons that force deer to move in daylight such as, extreme cold, wind or rain, hunters around, or low availability of food. Understand habits of deer while travelling in rain

How Far Do Deer Travel During Rut?

During the rut, deer movement radius increases and they move slightly more than the regular days. If a buck covers a distance of 6 miles on a regular day, it would roughly travel 12 to 15 miles daily, during rut season.

How Deer Move With The Moon?

While moon phases are irrelevant to deer’s biology but do affect their movement. Bucks move more during a full moon night since it shines brighter. This is because they get better visibility even during full moon nights. In full moon, I have noticed an increased activity from male deer on trail cameras as compared to regular dark hours.

How Do Deer Move?

There are many interesting ways such as walking, trotting, running, and swimming.

  • Walking

They walk freely at a pace of 3 to 4 miles per hour if there is no danger detected around. A slight increase in the speed i.e., up to 10 to 12 miles per hour results in trotting.

  • Trotting

Deer would trot if they need to cross an area with potential predators. When moving at the same pace non-stop for an hour, these animals are likely to travel nearly 40 miles.

They mainly trot when sense hunting pressure in the area i.e., too many hunters looking to take down game animals.

It is just an estimation and deer won’t travel this much since their home is within a maximum range of one square mile.

  • Running/Galloping
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Speed a little high and the deer will start running, commonly known as galloping. They run as fast as 35 to 40 miles per hour. The jumps can sometimes be as high as 25 feet.

  • Swimming

Not many hunters know but yes, deer do swim and are pretty good at it. They usually cross ponds or rivers either to find food or escape danger. Deer have extremely powerful hind legs which help them swim with great power and stamina. That said, these animals can cover nearly 10 miles in one go.

Why Do Deer Gallop?

Galloping allows deer to move the fastest and they do it when they sense a solid danger around. This is usually when they see, hear, or smell humans, bears, cougars, or other predators.

Mule Deer Travel Patterns – How Far Do Mule Deer Travel?

Similar to the whitetails, mule deers are the most active right before dusk and after dawn. The regular travel distance covered by these animals is between 4 to 6 miles in one day. However, under high hunting pressure, mule deer would accelerate their travel distance and can cover about 10 miles in a day.

How Do Deer Travel Ridges?

You will never find whitetails or mule deer wandering on top of the ridges. They take the benefits of uneven terrains and would move about three-quarters (3/4) toward the downside of the ridge.


Hunting is an activity loaded with adventures that need an expert skill set and adequate knowledge. One of the most important things to understand before officially beginning hunting is how far do deer travel.

In simple words, deer will cover 1.9 to 23.6 miles per day based on stamina, age, and hunting pressure. Deer are likely to stay within their home range i.e., 650 yds. and travel inside this radius.

If you are learning how to hunt deer, make sure to understand the trail signs that deer leave and follow these appropriately to chase the game animal successfully.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>