Weather Variables

Weather has a big role in mature buck sightings. During the pre-rut and rut bucks will be on the move no matter what, however cool crisp mornings with moderate to low winds only enhance the rut experience in a tree stand.

Temperature: Preferably the cooler the better. Whitetails seem to move more frequently on cool crisp mornings. Cooler weather gets deer on the feet in the early season, improves rutting conditions, and extremely cool temperatures can be the difference between seeing and not seeing a mature buck in the late season. The general rule of thumb is therefore the colder it is the better the hunting should be. Extreme cold temperatures in the late season may cause deer to move during the middle of the day if temperatures have been cold long enough.

Since cooler temperatures are the preference. It follows the extreme heat tends to lead to poor hunting. If extreme heat is in the forecast water holes are a primary location to hunt. Otherwise the hunting can be difficult and mature bucks are more likely to move after dark.

PrecipitationThis may perhaps be the X factor in seeing mature bucks. Rainy days in October and November can get bucks on their feet during daylight. If a storm stops just before a morning hunt or evening hunt that can be the perfect time to ambush a mature buck. Hunting during a storm can be hit or miss. At times it may produce big dividends, but a wet hunt may be all the hunter experiences. The danger of hunting during major storm is tracking becomes extremely challenging.

Snow doesn’t always get big bucks moving in the same way rain does, but snow storms in the late season certainly cause deer to feed more veraciously. The deeper the snow pack the more likely additional snowfall is to get mature bucks on their feet during shooting hours. Combine snow with cold temps and you may have a recipe to get a buck moving.

Wind: The wind is a major factor in hunting mature bucks. Wind direction is always of utmost importance and neglecting wind direction is costly mistake. The rule of thumb when playing the wind is to do whatever possible to stay downwind of where the deer are expected to be. Do whatever possible to keep the deer from getting downwind; this should prevent getting winded by the deer.

Generally speaking 3-15 mph winds can be the best hunting conditions. If the conditions present no wind at all this can be a bit tricky. With no wind present whitetails are able to hear extremely well. Mature deer, specifically bucks are going to be weary when they can hear everything moving. It is critical to sneak into a stand nearly silent when there is no wind at all.

High winds of 15-30 mph can be tricky to hunt. The ability to hear goes out the window the faster the wind speed. This is true for both the hunter and the deer. Often deer will stay bedded in high wind conditions, but this doesn’t mean hunting should be called off. Sometimes mature bucks may move in high winds and it may be worth hunting.

Regardless of wind speed it can be very important to use wind detectors to see what the wind does in a given area. Hunting in low spots can cause the wind to swirl and move in strange directions. Test the wind using some form of a wind detector and adjust accordingly. Some hunters will actually avoid hunting in low spots all together because of the tricky nature of wind in these locations.

Thermals: On calm mornings the warming of the air will result in an updraft or rising of air. This will send scent from the lower part of a hill to the top. The opposite can occur in the evening. As the air cools this results in a downward draft, pulling scent from the top of a hill to the bottom. Consider the effects thermals can have on hunting. Wind may be blowing one direction, but thermal currents may in fact have more of an impact on the direction scent is moving. Simply being aware of this fact can prevent error from just playing the wind alone, thermals must be considered when hunting hilly areas.


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