MONITOR THE WEATHER
It was the second week of November and on the 6 pm news the Meteorologists said “The rain that has been in the area for the last three days should end about 5 am. The skies will begin to clear, the temperature will be dropping, the barometer will be rising and the wind will be light and out of the Northwest.” After hearing that weather forecast I knew that the next day would be great for hunting deer.
How did I know that? Because I can look at the data that I have collected and documented on deer movement over the past years and get an indication of when their movement is greatest. Some of this information that really stands out is the relationship associated with deer movement and weather fronts.
During my hunting career when hunting on days after a front has passed I have been fortunate enough to take many bucks and have seen an incredible amount of deer activity. So from the evidence of the data collected and past hunting experiences I know that good deer movement and weather fronts go hand in hand. In fact, excluding the time around the rut, my favorite time to hunt deer is after the passage of a front when the skies begin to clear, the temperature begins to fall and the barometer is rising. My records show that 68.24 % of all the deer that I have ever seen were under a clear sky. If the rut happens to coincide with these conditions I know that my chances of killing a mature buck will never be greater.
Ever autumn people who know that I have been recording data on the whitetail and their movement will call me or see me somewhere and begin asking questions about deer hunting. The questions will include, where should I hunt? When is the best time to hunt? How long should I hunt? Is tomorrow going to be a good day for deer movement? What type of weather is best for deer hunting? And so on.
Most of the time I will answer their questions from memory, while on some occasion I will look at my data and share the results with the inquiring individual. After observing my records the person has a good indication of when deer movement is greatest. I am always quick to point out the information that is associated between deer movement and weather fronts.
Weather and its changes have a tremendous effect on deer movement. One key ingredient that causes the weather to change is air pressure.
Air pressure also called Barometric pressure is defined as:
The pressure exerted by the atmosphere at a given point. It can be measured in Millibars, or inches of mercury. The weight of the air pressing down on the earth and ocean being aided by gravity causes air pressure. Atmospheric pressure can be a high or low pressure system which affects the weather and cause changes in it.
Generally a high air pressure system brings fair weather, cooler temperatures and a rising barometer. Where as during a low air pressure system expect foul weather, warmer temperature and a falling barometer. Two good examples of this are, on those very cold, clear December days the barometer will be very high. On the other end of the scale during a storm, tornado or hurricane the barometer will be very low. Also as a front approaches an area the barometer will be falling and when the front leaves the area the barometer will be rising.
Deer are very active and tend to feed heavily as a front is approaching. As the front arrives the barometer will be falling as foul weather is on the way. It is at this time as the front is approaching that deer movement and hunting can be really good.
Sometimes a light rain or drizzle may begin to fall and this has proven to be an excellent time to hunt as well. I know of many successful hunters that say their favorite time to hunt is during a light rain or drizzle.
When the front finally arrives and foul weather sets in deer activity will decrease rapidly. The deer will then hold up in thick cover and wait for the front to pass.
It is at this time when the front is leaving, the skies are clearing, the temperatures begins to drop and the barometer is rising that deer hunting can be at it’s absolute best. I like to try to time weather fronts and be in my stand when that last drop of rain falls as a front is leaving the area. It is at this time that I know deer movement can be outstanding.
A great example of good deer movement after a front had passed happen on our 2006 Illinois hunt. A cold front had just passed through and the rain had stopped about daylight. That morning I was seeing a lot of deer, so about 10:00 I called my Dad on the radio and ask him if he had seen anything. His reply was “I have lost count”. Deer activity was fantastic that morning and it was just after a front had passed. I always try to hunt and take advantage of the deer movement that occurs around weather fronts.
There are times and certain types of weather when deer movement is very poor. Such conditions include warm to hot temperatures, high humidity, and heavy rain, during these times the barometer may be steady. But, being aware of changing weather and fronts that are approaching will enable us to take advantage of the deer movement that will surly follow.
In order to be a more successful hunter it is good to monitor the weather and schedule our hunts to take place as much as possible before a front arrives and after the front has passed on. During deer season I am constantly watching the weather and I try to plan my hunts accordingly. When I am hunting out of state I monitor the weather as well. By doing this I can take advantage of the deer movement that occurs around weather fronts.
WHITETAILS IN THE WIND
TOMMY: The wind is the breath of the world. Without the wind there would be no changing of the seasons and basically the world would wither and die. For a whitetail hunter, the wind is of great importance because a deer virtually lives and dies by his nose. Understanding the wind and the role it plays in a deer's world is of vital importance.
If you have ever stood and watched the water in a clear stream tumble toward its destination, which is ultimately the sea or ocean, you can better understand the wind. As the water gushes downstream it encounters rocks, logs, islands, dikes, the bank and other obstacles in its path. Each osbtacle disrupts the flow of water, causing the water to swirl, often causing a backwash or a reversing of direction of the flow. Anywhere there is a good downstream current, there will be areas where there is a backflow. Have you ever seen a bottle, styrofoam cup or bobber floating upstream? I have many times and each time I get a better understanding of the water flow. Sometimes the water rolls from top to bottom or side to side in a whirlpool, where whatever is caught in the whirlpool says in its revolution until something happens to disrupt the flow.
The air currents act exactly like the flow of water as it blows across the topography of the earth. At each obstacle the air currents flow over, around and otherwise reacts to the shape, size and location of the object whether it is a mountain, cliff, hill, woods line on a field or thick stand of evergreens like cedar, pine and spruce. The air also reacts to temperature changes which create thermal currents with warm thermals rising and cool thermals falling.
The adaptable whitetail knows these patterns explicitly, though they might not understand them as we do, but they know exactly how to take advantage of them. This is why they know that a strong wind works against them and most of the time they curtail their activity in strong wind, relative to the area. I killed my biggest whitetail on a miserable, extremely cold, windy day, so you might expect me to jump up and hail the great benefits of hunting whitetails in the wind, but I cannot. The buck being on his feet in that exact place had more to do with the fact that the rut was in full swing and it was the first day of modern gun deer season with some hunter pressure in that particular area. One of my buddies killed another nice buck less than an hour later. His buck was trailing a hot doe and both of these bucks were killed after 10:30 a.m. and we were on the back side of a front where the barometric pressure was high and the sky crystal clear. Each of these aspects are addressed in Lynn's charts as is the wind. Normally, buck movement is not good on days with high wind and Lynn's documentation over thirty five years reflect that trend.
What is considered a strong wind in the south may not be considered a strong wind in the mid west. That's wny Lynn's chart on wind is applicable in every region, it does not go by wind velocity, but by what is average or normal vs that which is not normal or not average.