When Do Deer Sleep? Sleeping Habits!

Learning about a deer’s sleeping pattern is crucial if you are a hunter. This is because when a deer falls asleep, it is nearly impossible to find it.

Contrary to popular belief, a deer is more accessible to hunt when moving. This is why hunters need to carry out extensive studies on a deer’s sleeping habits.

As a hunter, I’ve spent years finding an answer to the complicated question, “When do deer sleep?”

Table of Contents


When Does A Deer Sleep?

A deer would usually sleep during the day rather than the night. This is why deer are considered nocturnal animals. Deer typically sleeps 12 hours daily, broken down into dozes from 30 seconds to a few minutes, followed by a short awake alertness.

In the period of awareness that follows a deer’s sleep, the deer usually scan their location for potential threats, relocate to find water or urinate.

It isn’t easy to recognize whether a deer is asleep because deer can sleep with both their eyes open or closed.

Where do deer sleep?

A deer doesn’t have a fixed sleeping spot and is constantly relocating between naps throughout the day. This is to avoid predators.

A deer will generally fall asleep in any place that it considers safe. The 3 main things a deer looks for while looking for a bedding ground are:

Where do deer sleep?


To camouflage itself so that potential predators cannot find them.

Clean area:

A place with a lack of predators and an abundance of food and water.

Accessible entrance and exit:

A deer will sleep in a palace where, if it is discovered, it can quickly run away in any direction.

A deer in meadows and fieldlands often looks for tall grass and foliage to sleep in.

A deer in woodland and forest often looks for low-hanging trees to sleep beside. This is to prevent visibility.

They also curl up and hide amidst thick bushes and weeds while sleeping in woodland and forests.

Deer’s bedding grounds are usually close to water sources and in places with good food availability.

Deer sleeps in both groups and alone.

Deer’s bedding grounds change based on season, hunting pressure, and birth stages.

Deer Sleeping Position

Deer sleep with their heads upright and occasionally move around in various positions to confuse predators into thinking they are awake.

While asleep, deer curl up their legs like a cat; they can keep their legs tucked under their body or on their sides. This is especially seen in the case of baby deer called fawns.

Deer sleep with their eyes open and sometimes closed, so it is tough to tell whether a deer is sleeping.

Change in Deer Sleeping Patterns

A deer’s sleeping pattern constantly changes. The factors that cause a deer’s sleeping pattern to change are:

Time of the day:

As stated previously, deer tend to sleep during the daytime. During the day, deer sleep in areas containing tall grass and 3 to 5 feet tall foliage.

This is because while sitting, they can be covered entirely, and standing, they can have a clear view of the open field.

Thick areas where they can make a bed of weed amidst bushes are also ideal places for deer to sleep in during the day.

During the daytime, deer also sleep in the open places, on high ground and ridges. This kind of place gives the deer good visibility of the surroundings.

A deer doesn’t have good eyesight but has a keen sense of smell and hearing. This is why deer prefer to sleep in downwind places, as they rely more on their sense of smell.

Deers have good night vision and prefer moving around at night and sleeping less during this time. They tend to sleep a little during the night in dark places.

Deer mainly sleep at night to conserve energy. They might even spend the whole night there if they find a comfortable place to rest,

Hunting Pressure:

Most European countries have lost their natural predators for deer, but they are still available in Western countries and Africa.

Despite the lack of large predators, deer remain extraordinarily cautious, and this caution is reflected in their sleeping behaviour.

Deers have shattered in the middle ground of human territory and the wilderness, putting them under threat from both man and beasts.

Deer have adapted to human hunting practices over time. Humans don’t hunt at night, so deer living in areas where humans are actively pursuing tend to sleep more during the night.

When a deer does sense predators, it will hide and alert other deer and animals in the area by snorting.

This helps other deer avoid bedding in the hunting grounds of predators.

While resting in places where the deer knows predators lurk, they implement a few set strategies.

Deer tend to position themselves on high grounds with edges and bushes, which are usually downwind.

This allows them to sense predators around them while not overexposing themselves while resting.

Deer also sleep between trees and fallen logs with a ton of leaf litter around them. This is so that if a predator does walk up to them, they can hear the leaves crumble and be alerted about nearby treats.

Lastly, deer will sleep next to mast-producing hardwood trees and shrubs. This allows them to efficiently run away and break the line of sight with the predator if it is sensed approaching.

Where the deer sleep


As the seasons change, so do the sleeping patterns of deer.

During the spring and the summer, deer tend to sleep in windy places and downwind. This is to feel the cold air and breeze so that they can sense nearby water sources and animals.

But when winter approaches, deer start moving deeper into woods and forests but not so thick to conserve their energy while resting in bushes with direct sunlight for warmth.

Final Word

A deer’s sleeping pattern may be complicated, but if you notice the set designs, you can identify when to go hunting for them.

To be a good hunter, you must first know how a deer keeps itself safe and about its resting places. That way, you will be best prepared and can adapt and improvise on the go.

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