Where do deer go during the day?
They normally hide in dense cover throughout the most of the daylight hours. This explains why you can have an area where roe deer can be seen at dawn and dusk, but during the day, the area seems devoid of them. But they will not be far away…
Roe deer are crepuscular, which essentially means that they are most active during the twilight hours. They are also quite active at night, but in their natural, undisturbed state, they are rather less so than many people think.
They are active during the day (albeit less so than at dawn and dusk), but roe deer are very sensitive to disturbance. So, repeated interference during the same time of the day, will see them adapting their behavior accordingly, hence that’s why they can be seen more reliably in some areas when it’s dark.
But where are they when they’re not actively, moving about?
Their hiding spots
There are two basic areas where the deer go to during the day; inside woody/bushes areas and laying down in long grass or crops.
These are their favourite spots to rest up in. Even though there are no natural predators of adult roe deer in the U.K., there are lynx and wolves on the continent, so they must remain hidden for much of the time.
So, when the light levels are at their highest (which would help a vision aided predator), the deer instinctively retire to the inside of bushes and woody areas.
The colour of a deer’s coat enables them to visually blend in with the stems, twigs and branches. And with all that camouflage surrounding them, they can be difficult to spot, even from a relatively short distance.
Baby deer (very young fawns) have a spotted pattern on their coat, which is particularly effective at hiding them in the dappled light of trees, bushes and long grass. Concealment is particularly important to very to the young deer since they don’t have the speed, strength or the physical coordination to flee from danger.
However, roe will also hide themselves away during the day by laying down in an open field.
During the warmer months of spring and summer, the vegetation in the open expanses can easily be long enough to cover the upright profile of an adult buck, so it will certainly provide an effective refuge for any roe deer when they lie down.
And this is exactly what happens when the grass/crop remains uncut in a farmer’s field; the deer will create a comfortable couch amongst the myriad of stems, to discretely sleep, ruminate and generally rest, during the daylight hours.
Given the choice though, they have a preference for dense, woody areas for concealment; it’s a key determinant in the quality of roe deer’s habitat.