Why Do Deer Lay Down in the Grass?

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Deer lay down in the grass more often than not, and it may have interested you to know why they do so, so why do deer lay down in the grass? The most common reason why you’ll; find deer lying in the grass is they find it a good resting place. 

Another main reason why deer lay down in the grass is that they find it a bit secure to be in open places, rather than in the forests when resting. It is a strategic place where they can see their predators approaching and can be able to flee when needed.

Reasons Why Deer Lay down in the Grass

Source of Food

There are various reasons why deer may show this behavior. First, deer lay down in the grass to be near a food source. Deer feed on vegetation, and they would like to live in a place where they can eat a large amount of food very fast and get back to their bed for safety. 

Therefore, there is a great relationship between the feeding area and the bedding of the deer. The food supply determines the amount of time a deer will spend in the grass. If the food supply is adequate and the deer feels unpressured, they may spend more time sleeping in the area since they don’t like distances from food sources. 

To Rest

Mostly the deer will lay down in the grass to rest. Even though they will be relaxing, they don’t put their guard down. They make sure they position themselves so that they are alert well before the predators attack them. When you see deer laying down in the grass, know that they may be resting. This is also the best behavior that they display when they want to be in tune with whatever is going around them. It increases their chances of survival. 

When Giving Birth or Nursing New Births

Usually, one way in which deer give birth easily is when lying down. And if the place is safe, deer often come to the same place every spring to give birth. After giving birth, they usually spend time nursing the young ones for a few weeks. 

Deer Lay down in Grass during the Pre-rut and Search Phase

The rutting season is crucial for deer, for it is believed that they can forgo rest and food to look for a mate.  They rarely sleep when in search of mates. However, the male takes advantage of a doe when it sleeps to also rest for a short time. So, when you see a male and a female sleeping in the grass, it may merely indicate a full estrus period. 

Also, in the rut period, you may find a deer laying on the grass with their heads down. This is a resting position that they assume during the rut period, it takes heavy physical ding-dongs on the deer driven by the urge to breed. This position will help it to pick up the sounds of two or four footsteps approaching.  Besides, the eyes and ears remain very active. 

Make Use of Scent

Wildlife experts say that deer have nasal glands that lubricate the nose to help it function effectively, and when they are sleeping, they position themselves to the wind to detect danger from behind. Typically, deer can detect the enemy using its nose in advance of sight and visual cues. 

It is challenging for a hunter to stalk within a close range of a deer lying on the grass. Remember to check out our tips on how to keep your deer hunting clothes scent-free to keep deer from selling you.

Watch the Back Trail

Deer know that hunters and predators stalk them from behind. Therefore when a deer grazes and senses a predator but can’t see it, it may lay down in the grass to have a view of their back trail. Deer have very excellent eyesight that can quickly detect movements. The eyes are positioned near the head’s sides and give them a wider field of view, and having horizontal pupils plays a critical role in visual acuity. 

Researchers say that deer would like to sleep in free areas to monitor what is around them. They sleep for a few seconds to a few minutes, and their eyes can either be closed or open. You can never sneak in on a sleeping deer since their ears and nose remain alert. 


One of the places where they can effectively rely on their power of scent, sight, and hearing is in the grass. It will repeatedly use the spot that offers the best security. Deer prefer to spend their time in the open areas where they feel secure.

Chew Cud

Deer have 4 chambered stomachs, and thus ruminants. After spending hours feeding, they look for a secure place where they lay down to chew the cud. In most cases, the positions are open and safe for them. They could spend up seven hours a day chewing cud.

Could Deer Be Sleeping on the Grass?

Yes, it is possible that a deer could be sleeping when you see it lying on the grass. However, this is only possible if it is in its bedding area. Check out our article on Where Do Deer Sleep to understand the various deer bedding areas.

Do Deer Sleep during the Day or Night?

Research has it that deer are most active at night. It is, therefore, safe to say that they prefer to sleep during the day. Remember, they barely fall asleep, and a single step taken towards them will alert them, making them flee or attack you if there are fawns. 


Naturally, deer lay down in the grass to rest, while ensuring security. You’ll spot them lying in the grass when mostly in open areas or by the roadside.

One important reason that we shouldn’t forget is human activity that has seen the destruction of many habitats. As a result of this, many animals, including deer, have moved to people’s yards and even near food sources. 

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