How Fast Can a Deer Run?

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Very thankful for your business.

There is no way of telling how fast the deer you are hunting will run, as it wholly depends on the deer itself and the kind of situation. On record, the speed of the fastest running deer is about 30 miles per hour.

When hunting any animal, you must know the strengths and weaknesses that they have. Hunting deer in its habitat is challenging as they are born speedsters. Every deer relies on speed to outrun its would-be predators such as the coyotes, wolves, among others. However, speed is not the only survival instinct a deer has. Deer can also leap and spring as quickly as possible to escape whatever danger that is on their way.

Unlike other animals that would get tired running for its life, a deer is able to maintain its speed for an extended period. When running away, the deer runs in a zigzagging motion accompanied by fidgeting impulses. It is a defensive maneuver that enables most deer to sense and avoid predators that are also fast from catching up and attacking them.

A deer is sometimes witty and can use its environment to camouflage. The deer can blend with its habitat and hide after creating distance from its attacker which makes them good at interpreting danger and how to escape without expending lots of energy. 

Besides running fast and hiding, another defensive trick that the deer often uses is jumping or leaping high into the air. As excellent jumpers, the deer can jump as high as seven feet from a standing position, and more than ten feet when the deer is running and at high speed. It is easy for a deer to create distance in any direction as they can cover as much as 30 feet in one leap.

How Long Can A Deer Run?

Deer are quite fast and can sometimes reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. As excellent swimmers, they are also fast in the water and can reach top speeds of up to 13 miles per hour. Because of the whitetail’s long strides, they can jump distances of up to 25 feet.

Is A Horse Faster Than A Deer?

If you have been to a racetrack then you have witnessed how fast horses are. They seem like animals moving on wheels and engines as they are fast and agile. There is hardly another animal that can compete with a horse except for a few. Unfortunately, deer is not one of them and hence a horse is faster than a deer. Though both sets of animals have different uses of speed deer are much swifter but less fast. 

Horse Speed

The horse is a speedster because it has four gaits that it can choose from. It has a four-beat walk that can average at least four miles per hour. The horse can also settle for a two-beat trot, that averages around eight to ten miles per hour. 

The three-beat gait is called a lope or canter or lope and can average up to 12 to 15 miles per hour. The last is the gallop and it is the fastest as a gallop average between 25 to 30 miles per hour, however, when a horse sprints it kicks at higher levels and can easily reach speeds of up to 55 miles per hour or more.

Deer Speed

As much as the whitetail deer can reach maximum speeds of over 30 miles per hour it is challenging to maintain the same pace over longer distances. As a bonus to their speeds deer is also a great jumper and can leap high into the air. A deer can easily clear a 7-foot height from a standing position and get to 10 feet when running.

Tips on Hunting Running Deer

If you don’t know, the whitetail deer is the most abundant in the US, and therefore it is probably the most sought after. Now that you understand some basic facts about the deer instincts, it follows that you should also know how to hunt a running deer. 

It is not a challenge you can overcome easily, and some people may even find it impossible however it is feasible. All you should do is follow these tips:

Unfortunately, if you are hunting deer without hunting dogs then you may not be able to outrun or catch up with a running deer. Running at the same speed as the deer for hours on end is next to impossible. You have better chances of hitting a moving whitetail deer with lots of practice and knowing where to aim once you get a good position. You can either sit, kneel, or stay in a prone position. Another advantage is using a rifle that can hit and kill its target even at faraway distances. 

Always aim at the deer’s back of the head so that you can hit its neck or the shoulder as it is fleeing. But you must be able to judge the distance and speed it’s moving at to make an accurate shot. One mistake a rookie hunter makes is to aim at the broadside of running deer. There are limited chances of hitting a running deer when you aim at its broadside. 

How Long Will It Take You to Outrun Deer?

If the information on how fast a deer runs has given you an impression of how challenging hunting one is then let’s now focus on how you can outrun one. Under the right circumstances, let’s consider an example of a large herding group of deer. If deer are running in a large group, you can selectively choose your target and outrun the old ones.

However, it is only possible if you can maintain speeds of six to seven miles an hour. There is no definitive time or way to outrun a deer.

Things You Need to Consider When Hunting Deer

Deer run fast and once you spook them you know you are in for a challenging hunt. However, you can avoid chasing a deer in the woods for hours if you know how to approach it. I believe it is in every hunter’s interest to have a successful hunt without the possibility of a missed hunt after hours of pursuit. 

That’s the reason it is essential to focus on how you need to prepare before a hunt rather than going at it blindly.

Eliminate all Scents

The human odor is one of the giveaways that deer senses and stays on alert. Before going for any deer hunt consider taking a shower with a scent-free soap. Your odor can spook deer, and you should try not to contaminate your hunting gears with other scents as well. 

Washing your body is not merely enough, if you do not have a scent eliminating spray, you can seal in your hunting clothes inside a plastic bag with leaves, dirt, and other natural debris around your stand. It helps your hunting gear to take on the natural scents around your hunting area.

Maximize on Concealment

The trick of a successful deer hunt is when you spot it first and it never spots you until it hears the whooshing sound of your bullet before it lands. Total concealment is good, and you should consider getting a tree stand blinds to help you fool the wary eye of the deer. Tree stand blinds also give you a better shelter from the wind that might help carry your scent away.

Stealth is Everything 

Deer have terrific senses and you should always be sure-footed when tracking one through the woods. If the sound of a broken twig does not bother a human as much, the deer responds quite swiftly to it. If you accidentally make an unusual noise when in pursuit, try standing still on that spot as long as possible especially if you feel the deer is close.  

When you are against the wind the deer may stand and stare at the direction of the noise and if it cannot see or smell you, there is a chance it will go back to feeding. 

Taking Quick Repetitive Steps

However unlikely it sounds, deer usually get alerted to human presence by the noises we make when walking through leaves. Therefore, you should take quick steps in short sprints for about 10 – 15 yards or more. Stop, then repeat while keeping your footfalls as light as you possibly can.

I’m pretty sure that you will be very surprised at how much your steps sound like those of a squirrel that is scrambling through the leaves. This way, you will effectively reduce the chance to alert the deer.

How Does Deer Manage to Escape?

Regardless of the deer species, you are hunting, you must understand a deer is not a dumb animal that waits around to be caught. As much as deer is a naturally curious animal, they also have an instinct and can plan their escape routes in advance. 

When deer frequents an area, it becomes familiar with that area and starts to form trails that are full of twists and obstacles. It helps the delay or confuses a predator that is hot on its heels.  

There is also the obvious case of speed. In contrast, with such a vast difference between the speed of man and that of deer, it is no wonder that deer is always getting away. Therefore, as a hunter, you should also familiarize yourself with the area and know the terrain to avoid all the escape antics deer has set. It helps when a deer escapes as you can have another shot at coming across it again.

In Conclusion

If you are new to deer hunting then you must take time to study ways you can control your movements in the woods. You must also take lots of shooting practice, especially shooting at running targets. While shooting at running targets is essential to ensure that you understand deer movements as well so that you know what to expect when you spook them and the direction they will run.

There are also many other ways you can improve your hunting success but it all depends on who sees who first. When a deer is in sight, you should ensure that you are completely hidden, scentless, and soundless.  It is the only way of becoming a skilled hunter.

Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc, or its affiliates.

Scroll to Top