Went out for opening day of rifle season and three of us got zero deer!

Property had 11" of snow three days prior to opening day. I thought the deer would reduce activity while the snow was deep, and then come out around the third day as they got hungrier and the snow depth was reduced.

Boy was I wrong! I saw one buck, and the other two guys only saw one doe each. I frequently see herds of does on opening day. Further, we usually hear 10-15 shots from other properties. This year we heard only two.

The snow had started to melt with some sunshine and some days over 35. On opening day it was 20F at 6AM and the snow was about 4-6" deep where I was walking in. However, the snow had a very thick melt/refreeze crust on the top. I sounded as loud as a marching band with every single step.


1.) How do deer respond to snow cover? (Especially in places where the snow cover will probably disappear in 1-5 days.) Do the deer know they no longer have any camouflage in their coats and are now easily visible to predators?

2.) When the deer know they will be making lots of noise on "crunchy snow", will they wait for more silent conditions to move?