All hunters like to be in the woods as much as possible during the deer hunting season. Deer hunting weather can be a mixture of good, bad, comfortable, uncomfortable, wet or dry. A hunter sometimes must be willing to brave the elements to get as much time in the woods as he can to improve his chances of harvesting a whitetail. Knowing how to hunt in and how deer are affected by different weather conditions can be valuable knowledge to any deer hunting enthusiast. Here are some tips and information on hunting in different types of weather.
Windy days have a big effect on deer and deer hunters. Light winds effect deer less and tend not to change regular travel patterns. They are still quit alert and seem to act calmly. Hunters must still be very cautious about their scent as even the slightest breeze can carry their scent quickly to a deers keen nose.
As the wind begins to climb above 15 mph deer start to become skittish. Their sense of smell and hearing and sight are somewhat compromised. They have trouble pinpointing or detecting scent and with the leaves, trees and shrubs blowing around in the wind the eyes begin to play tricks on them. Deer will also be inclined to limit their travel patterns to trails and areas sheltered from the strong winds and will be more apt to bed in areas like hillsides that are also sheltlered from the wind.
For hunters, treestand hunting can be tricky in high wind conditions, and safety issues must be addressed. It is best to hunt from a stand set in a larger diameter tree for greater stability. Bowhunters may have trouble with arrow flight and holding a steady bow. Calling deer or rattling may be less effective due to the deers reduced range of hearing. Hunting in lower wind areas like ravines, gullies, and sheltered hillsides may increase your chances of seeing deer on windy days.
I don't know many hunters that enjoy hunting in the rain, especially heavy rains which seem to limit deer movement and usually only send a hunter home drenched and disappointed. Light rains actually aren't that bad and deer for some reason seem to still be on the move and relatively calm. It is possible that low light conditions are what keep them active. A lighter rain is less of an obstacle for a willing hunter and it can be a good time to get some use out of your ground blind to keep you nice and dry.
Rain is a bowhunters worse enemy. Although deer may be on the move, tracking a wounded deer becomes much harder as the rain will wash away a blood trail rather quickly. Many a well hit deer has been lost due to the lack of a good blood trail to follow. It is advised to use discretion when thinking about bowhunting in the rain.
Another advantage for a hunter is that human scent doesn't travel as well in the rain, making it much harder for a deer to detect at longer ranges.
Heat can be looked at a couple ways. One is that it can be much easier to sit in your treestand on a nice warm sunny day, but for some as the temperature rises so drops the level of comfort. With increased heat comes sweat, and with sweat comes odor. As all hunters know, odor is not a good thing to be producing when challenged by the exceptional ability of a deers nose. Dressing lightly and paying attention to good scent control can help overcome the effects of hunting in warmer weather.
I'm kind of torn on hunting in the fog. Deer still seem to move in the fog, again maybe because of low light conditions, but heavy fog makes it hard to see deer before they see or smell you. I have seen less deer movement during heavier fogs, but that might just be because visibilty is extremely limited. I am convinced that deer have just as much trouble seeing in even light fog as you do, and like in rain, human scent tends not to travel as well through the moisture of the fog.
It is important for a hunter to know what is beyond his target at all times and even more so during fog when visibility distances are greatly reduced.
There are not may hunters, if any, that don't get excited about a fresh snowfall. For me it's like being a kid at Christmas time. Deer hunting in the snow is a time where the hunter can gain a distinct advantage over is whitetail adversary. It is one of the few times that you know when and where deer are moving, even without seeing a deer. Hunting for me is always best after an evening of light snowfall, where the snow stops before morning. With the new snow comes new fresh tracks and makes for a good day of tracking.
Still hunting or tracking deer in snow can be difficult when the snow becomes crunchy... treestand or blind hunting are much better ideas during crunchy snow days. The crunchy snow will also make it easier to hear approaching deer.
Heavy snow drives deer to bed down, sometimes under the canopy of a tree with low lying limbs or hemlock woods where the snow can not get through as easily. Deer tracks will disappear under a blanket of new snow which makes tracking difficult and because deer tend not to move during heavy snow storms, treestand and blind hunting is less desirable as well. Light and moderate snowfall doesn't seem to stop deer movement and can be a good time to be in the woods.
Another advantage of having snow is the ability to follow a wounded deer more easily. It is very hard to lose a wounded deer in snow. Even if the deer stops bleeding you will have its track to follow.
Knowing what deer do under different weather conditions can be the difference between a good or bad day of hunting. Safety conciderations must be given to bad weather hunting. There will always be better days to hunt especially if you know your limitations when trying to combat mother nature.