Tips For Bow Hunting In The Rain – Informational Guide

| Last Updated May 15, 2021

A lot of hunters avoid going out in the rain. After all, it’s cold and wet. But some people claim the best time to hunt is after heavy rain.

So, is hunting in a downpour worth it? And what are the best ways to do it comfortably and safely?

Let’s get into it. 

Bowhunting in the Rain Tips

First, let’s start with a TL;DR of our tips for hunting in the rain and why they help:


Why It Helps

Pack Rain Gear Essentials

Keeps you prepared ahead of time with basics that keep you warm

Keep Covered with a Hunting Umbrella or Blind

Allows for overhead coverage and mobility on extended hunts

Stay Out of Trees and High Places

Keeps you safe from lightning 

Keep Extra Clothes and Towels in the Car

Keeps you dry and comfortable on the drive home and prepared for unexpected rain 

Waterproof Everything

Protects your equipment and saves you money buying new waterproof gadgets 

Leave Electronics Inside

Keeps your devices from being ruined and lightens your load

Take Selective Shots

Makes losing blood trails to the rain less problematic

Know How to Track In the Rain

Helps you know the best locations for hunting in the rain without losing your target 

Hunting is Better (and Safer) With a Friend

Makes tracking easier and faster and keeps you safe in case of accidents 

Get Out There and Hunt

Lets you take advantage of fewer hunters, less scent, and less noise 

Tips For Bow Hunting In The Rain

Bowhunting is hard enough in itself. So what should you do when the rain pours down? Check out these detailed tips to help you prepare for bowhunting in the rain.

Pack Rain Gear Essentials

If you want to bowhunt in the rain, you need to have a few essential items. You should look for rain gear that is durable, water and wind-resistant, breathable, and packable. 

You want to wear clothes that will keep you warm and dry, but won't have you sweating during prolonged hunts. We’d advise you to choose clothes that can easily be carried with you in surprise weather changes. Gloves and hand warmers can also help. 

Look for lightweight rain suits. Bulky clothes get even heavier when it rains and can restrict your movement and ruin a shot. Wear two layers of socks and boots that you can fit at least one layer of your pants into. 


  • You’re prepared ahead of time for unexpected rain.

  • Packability ensures you can bring your gear with you without having to use it every hunt.

  • Having these basic precautions will keep you warm and make sure you don’t get hypothermia. 


  • Some hunters find rain suits are loud and crinkle when you move; this noise can potentially scare away your prey. 

  • Clothes designed for rain can sometimes make you hot after wearing them for lengthy periods, leaving you sweaty. 

  • These products don’t provide overhead coverage, which means you will be soaked if you’re out long enough. 

Best For

Any hunter looking to hunt in the rain should at the least bring these fundamental items. Having water-resistant clothes, gloves, and extra socks will keep them dry and protect them from getting hypothermia. 

However, if you plan on hunting for extended periods in heavy rain, you’re going to need to take extra precautions. No matter what you wear, it will eventually get wet, and this can be both uncomfortable and dangerous. 

Keep Covered With a Hunting Umbrella or Blind

A blind is a structure that conceals hunters while giving them the freedom to move. A tree stand umbrella attaches to trees with special hardware. These products provide the overhead coverage you need for prolonged hunts. They come in different shapes and sizes and often use camouflage material to help them blend in with your surroundings. 


  • These items provide cover that keeps you dry for lengthy periods, even in heavy rain.
  • Blinds provide a fantastic mobility factor for people who have trouble sitting still or get antsy after sitting for a long time.

  • Having overhead protection means you can bring electronics with you without worrying about ruining them from water damage. 

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  • Some people find prey sees them if they open too many windows in their blind or if their umbrella creates a silhouette. 

  • You may struggle to see well inside a blind because it can be very dark with the windows closed; this problem can be challenging when rain clouds block the sun. 

  • Umbrellas can make shooting while standing up tough if they are set too low on the tree or if you’re relatively tall. 

Best For

Hunting blinds and umbrellas are fantastic for anyone who wants to hunt in heavy rain. They may be unnecessary for short hunts or light rain, but extended periods will require something over your head to keep you dry. 

These products work well for hunters who have trouble sitting still and want to bring electronics to keep them entertained while waiting. If you have poor eyesight or prefer standing to shoot, blinds and umbrellas might not be the right choice for you. 

Stay Out of Trees and High Places

You put yourself in danger if you hunt in trees or at high places in a storm because you increase your chance of getting struck by lightning. Research shows that being underneath a tree is the second most common cause of being struck. 

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Height, pointy shape, and isolation contribute significantly to how likely lightning is to hit an area. These factors make mountains ideal targets. You do not want to be high up in a tree or on a hill or mountain top during a thunderstorm. 


  • This practice will keep you safe and keep you from getting struck by lightning. 

  • You avoid tree bark and stands that become dangerously slick and slippery when wet. 

  • While umbrellas are out of the question, you can still utilize a blind to keep your head covered. 


  • In a thunderstorm, the safest option is to go home. 
  • Deer love to move in lighter rain, and abandoning your stand may mean missing out on the action. 
  • Lower areas can make tracking, which is already tricky when it’s raining, nearly impossible. 

Best For

Anytime you see lightning, you should follow these practices. Sure, you might miss out on some great hunting opportunities. But your safety is critical. Being in a tree or a high place dramatically increases your chances of being struck. Not even a monster buck is worth risking your life. 

Keep Extra Clothes and Towels in the Car

The longer you hunt in the rain, the more likely you’ll get wet either from your clothes soaking through or from sweating. Keeping extra clothes and towels in your car is ideal. Taking this step can keep both you and your seats dry on the way home. 

Plus, having extras in your car will prepare you for unexpected showers. Having an extra jacket handy can be an excellent solution for not being able to afford a water-resistant one. 


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  • Towels and extra clothes will keep you dry on the way home. 
  • With an extra jacket to keep you warm, you can hunt longer while staying comfortable.

  • Keeping these items handy will prepare you for sudden downpours. 


  • Dashing to your truck to grab extra clothes can be time-consuming. 

  • Some hunters find this practice is an unnecessary extra step. 

  • You may prefer carrying these items with you in a backpack for easier access than leaving them in your vehicle. 

Best For 

Keeping extra clothes and towels in your car is fabulous for hunting in the rain. This step will make your drive home much more comfortable. Plus, it will prepare you for sudden weather changes. 

However, if you plan on sitting for prolonged periods, you may prefer carrying these items with you in a backpack. Having them on hand will help keep you dry during the hunt and prevent a panicked sprint to your truck. 

Some people find this step unnecessary. You’ll have to decide for yourself whether you think it’s worth it or not. Consider how long you plan on hunting and how much you dislike a soggy trip home. If your vehicle has heating that works well, this precaution may be less necessary for you. 

Waterproof Everything

Some of your hunting gear might not be water-resistant. Instead of buying new equipment, consider getting some waterproof spray. Applying this product to your gear will help protect it from water. 

The magnificent part about using these sprays is that they can also protect against other things, like dirt and oil. This way, you can keep your equipment safe, dry, and effective. 


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  • Waterproofing your gear will keep it safe from water damage. 
  • You can save money by waterproofing a regular jacket rather than buying a more expensive water-resistant one. 

  • These sprays protect equipment from multiple factors, not just water. 


  • Some of these products have strong chemical scents, which can scare away game. 

  • Fabrics may darken or discolor after applying these sprays. 

  • The materials you can use these items on vary; for example, you cannot use some sprays on plastic. 

Best For

These sprays work well for hunters who already have equipment that isn’t waterproof. You can also use them if you can’t afford more expensive products that are water-resistant. 

But, keep in mind that not all of these products will work well for hunting. Avoid sprays that have a strong scent or can discolor fabrics. Fabric discoloration can make your camouflage less effective, and chemical smells will scare away prey. 

Leave Electronics Inside

It’s no secret that water isn’t suitable for electronic devices. Bringing electronics on a rainy trip is just asking for trouble. Leaving these items in your vehicle will prevent damage and make sure they don’t stop working. 

Consider leaving things like cameras and range finders at home. It’s unlikely you’ll need them, and the rain will only ruin them anyway. For hunts like these, only packing the essentials is the smartest move you can make. 

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  • Leaving these items at home or in your vehicle protects them from being ruined by water. 

  • This practice will save you money because you won’t have to replace damaged equipment. 

  • The less you carry with you, the lighter the load, which is ideal when water and extra clothes are already weighing  you down. 


  • Lengthy hunts can be pretty dull when you don’t have any electronics to distract you. 

  • Not bringing your phone with you can be a fatal mistake if you have an accident while out hunting. 

  • People who have trouble sitting still may find going without electronics challenging. 

Best For 

You must follow this precaution if you have expensive equipment that you don’t want to get ruined by water damage. Using your GPS for one hunt isn’t worth not being able to use it ever again. However, leaving every electronic device at home may not be the best option. If you find yourself bored or having trouble staying still, consider bringing one or two devices in a waterproof bag to keep yourself entertained. 

Having a way to contact someone in case of an emergency is vital. If your phone isn’t waterproof, consider investing in a waterproof case or pouch. If this solution isn’t an option, consider bringing a friend with you instead of going alone. 

Take Selective Shots

A risky shot is even more dangerous when it’s raining. Rain already washes away blood trails, which makes tracking game incredibly difficult. A lousy shot only makes this factor worse.

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In these situations, you should only take the most effective shots. Ideally, you want to drop your target in sight. Having to chase after it may mean going on a wild goose chase.  If you have any doubts, don’t shoot. 


  • Taking selective shots will make tracking easier. 

  • You will take down your prey quickly and efficiently. 

  • Rain negatively affects accuracy, and being careful about what shots you take will help combat this problem. 


  • Even experienced hunters have a hard time shooting accurately in heavy rain. 

  • Riskier shots are possible in lighter rain because the blood trail will last longer. 

  • How risky your shots can be, depends on the area you’re hunting in; open terrain where you can see your game for a long way as it runs off poses fewer issues. 

Best For

Every hunter should be cautious about what shots they take when it’s raining. Washed away blood trails make risky shots even riskier. However, some situations may allow for more complex shots than others. 

If you’re an experienced hunter and the rain is light, this precaution will be less paramount. You can also make riskier shots when hunting in open areas where you can see a long way. 

Know How to Track in the Rain

Rain can be detrimental to tracking game. In heavy downpours, the blood washes away in minutes. To locate an animal you shot, you’ll need to know tips for these situations ahead of time. 

When possible, you should hunt with a heavy cover overhead. This coverage will help preserve blood trails. Plus, this is where deer hang out when it rains anyways. You should also know the area you’re hunting ahead of time so you can avoid certain areas. Shallow areas can have ankle-deep water that makes tracking impossible. 

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Keep in mind how hard it’s raining and where you’re at. Don’t take a shot in heavy rain when you’re deep in the woods and know you won’t be able to see where your target runs to. 

You should also consider purchasing a blood tracking flashlight. While they are expensive, they're worth it to make trailing much easier. But, you should always read the reviews to make sure you’re buying a high-quality product. 


  • Following these tips will help you avoid losing game after you shoot it. 

  • Your chances of bagging a buck on a rainy day increase by knowing what locations are best for trailing in specific conditions. 

  • Knowing what shots are worth the risk makes you a better hunter. 


  • Hunting with heavy cover can be dangerous in a thunderstorm. 

  • Your options of when and where to hunt will be limited. 

  • Knowing what practices to follow can be confusing because it’s very situational. 

Best For

If you plan to hunt in the rain, you need to follow these tips. Tracking in the rain is already challenging, so if you don’t know what you’re doing ahead of time, you won’t find your kill. 

If you don’t like being limited in when and where you can hunt, you might have difficulty following this guide. However, hunting how you want, won’t make a difference if you lose a blood trail to the elements. Keep in mind, some of these practices aren’t always safe. You should not hunt under heavy cover if there’s lightning. Your safety is the most crucial factor. In this situation, consider hunting in an open area where you can see where an animal drops instead. 

Hunting is Better (and Safer) With a Friend

Bringing a friend hunting with you is always a good idea, especially when it’s raining. If there’s an accident, having someone with you can be the difference between living and dying. Plus, more eyes make tracking much more manageable. 

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Even if you completely lose the trail, you can spread out and walk in the general direction you saw the animal take off in. The more area you can cover at once, the better your chances of finding your kill, and the faster you can do it. Speed is key when you’re battling the rain washing away the blood. 


  • Having more people means having more eyes for trailing. 

  • Increased speed means less chance of losing the blood because the rain washed it away. 

  • Friends can get help if one of you gets injured. 


  • The more people you have with you, the more noise you’ll make.

  • Having friends around can make you easily distracted from the task at hand. 

  • Hunting with other people increases the chance of game smelling you. 

Best For

Bring a friend with you if you want to hunt in the rain and don’t trust your ability to track anything you shoot. Blood trails give even the most experienced hunters trouble in these conditions, so having help is a good idea. 

You should follow this tip if you plan on leaving your phone in the truck or know you’ll be somewhere that doesn’t have good service. Sometimes accidents happen. The last thing you want is an injury in the woods with no way of contacting help. 

This tactic may not be the best solution for you if you are easily distracted. Don’t bring a person you know will get you off task or will be exceptionally loud. 

Get Out There and Hunt

The most prominent hurdle hunters face when it comes to rain is getting out there. No one likes being cold and wet, and many people think hunting in these conditions isn’t worth it. 

The truth is, rain offers unique opportunities. In drizzles, deer don’t slow down, but hunters do. So, being one of the few people willing to still hunt means you could be the only one in the woods. 

Sure, animals may hunker down when rain gets heavy. But when it lets up, they’ll start moving to find food and water. This increased activity will be fantastic for you if you’re willing to stick it out through the weather and mud. 


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  • Fewer people will be hunting.

  • Animals will move more after heavy rain. 

  • A little rain won’t slow down the game, so it shouldn’t slow you down either.


  • Hunting in the rain can sometimes be dangerous. 

  • You will get wet, which can make you cold and uncomfortable. 

  • You will need to bring extra gear. 

Best For

Any hunter can go out in the rain. As long as you bring the right equipment and know what you’re doing, you can take advantage of some fantastic opportunities. If you hate being cold and wet, this type of hunting may not be for you. 

Is It Good to Bow Hunt in the Rain?

Maybe you’re still wondering if bow hunting in the rain will benefit you. The answer is yes. Let’s talk about why. 

Rain Doesn’t Slow Deer Down

Unless there’s a heavy downpour, deer will still follow their regular habits. So don’t let it slow you down! You could kill a monster buck just by enduring a little rain while other hunters hunker down inside. 

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Fewer Hunters Means More Movement

In addition to not being slowed down by the rain, deer may even move more in light rain. Why? There are fewer hunters in the woods to scare them away. 

Many people hate getting wet and don’t think braving the weather is worth it. If you’re the only hunter in the woods, that’s less noise and less scent. 

Rain Reduces Noise and Scent

Maybe you don’t like trudging through the sludge rain creates. The wet, muddy ground may be harder to walk through, but it means you make less noise. Plus, the wind that often accompanies this weather will reduce your scent. So you’re less likely to scare away your target. 

Safety Tips for Hunting in the Rain

Hunting in the rain is an excellent opportunity, but you must follow safe practices. No trophy buck is worth getting injured for. Let’s discuss a few tips:

Be Careful Climbing Into Tree Stands

Tree stands can become very slippery when wet. You need to take extreme caution when climbing into one when it’s raining. Make sure your shoes have a good grip, go slowly, and use a safety harness. 

Take Hypothermia Seriously

Hypothermia is no joke. Remember, it doesn’t only happen in the freezing cold. Rain can easily cause this condition if you aren’t careful. Make sure to wear appropriate clothing and stay as dry as possible. 

You should also watch out for warning signs of hypothermia. Early symptoms include nausea, dizziness, slurred speech, or confusion.

If you experience any of these indicators, get out of the rain and seek medical attention immediately. 

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Check the Forecast Before Hitting the Woods

You should always check the forecast ahead of time. Knowing when meteorologists expect hefty rain, thunderstorms, or freezing temperatures will help keep you safe and out of the woods when it's too dangerous to hunt. 


Ultimately, bow hunting in the rain can be a fantastic opportunity. You’ll have fewer hunters to compete with and less noise and scent scaring off the animals. However, you need to take the proper precautions. 

Make sure to pack the essentials, keep extra clothes and towels, waterproof your equipment, protect your electronics, take selective shots, and know how to track in the rain. You should also consider bringing a blind or tree umbrella for extended hunts and bringing friends to help you track your kill. 

Remember, keep yourself safe from lightning, hypothermia, and slips and falls. Now get out there and dominate the woods when no one else will!

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People Also Ask

So, you still have questions? Well, we have the answers!

Is it Bad to Get Your Bow Wet?

Getting your bow wet is fine as long as it’s properly maintained. You should always thoroughly dry it after hunting in the rain. Make sure to wax your bow regularly. 

How Do You Stay Dry When Hunting in the Rain?

Methods for staying dry in the rain include wearing water-resistant clothes, wearing extra clothes, and using blinds or tree umbrellas. Keep in mind that you will never stay 100% dry, especially when hunting for lengthy periods. 

Does Rain Wash Away Human Scent?

Rain can affect how long a scent lingers. On cool, wet days, smells may stay longer on or near the ground. However, when wind accompanies the rain, odors are carried away. Heavy downpours can wash away your scent, but light rain won’t.

My name is Caleb and I am obsessed with hunting, fishing, and foraging. To be successful, you have to think like your prey. You have to get into the mind of your target - and understand Big Game Logic. If you have any questions, or just want chat about your latest hunting score or big catch, you can reach me at Read more about Big Game Logic.