'Weather' or Not You'll Bag a Buck

From wind to rain to temperature, we often always have an excuse of why we are having a “tag sandwich.” But you can't kill them sitting inside. In the end, most research indicates that average weather elements have little effect on deer movement overall.

There might not be any worse weather element I hate hunting in than wind. Whether it’s because I can’t hear anything else other than the wind, or because I’ve never had success when it’s windy, the bottom line is when wind is in the forecast, I cringe. I almost feel defeated before the hunt even begins.

For me its likely more superstition, than it is actual truth. Although a large percentage of Pope & Young harvests have been taken when winds fall from above 20-30 miles per hour to around 5-10, according to some data I dug up. Some hunters can’t stand to hunt in “still” conditions, as they believe deer are too spooky and tend to be harder to kill.

So is there any real link to weather and your chance at tagging a buck?

Some recent research in Oklahoma on GPS collared bucks showed that very few conditions affected deer movement overall. In fact, the most influential was humidity. The more humid it was, the less deer moved. It makes sense, I mean whether it’s the heat of summer or the dead of winter , moving around in humid conditions is not fun.

Now as a biologist and hunter, I find it hard to believe temperature does not affect movement. If we hit 70 degrees in the North during December, deer are not going to move a whole lot. It would be like us running around with a full wool suit on … not very pleasant. The only time I can see bucks doing this is during the rut, when they have their minds on other things.

A lot of hunters hate cold, rainy conditions. I’m the complete opposite. Although my senses may be dulled, it is my experience that some of the biggest bucks move during these times. Whether it is because scent is washed away, hunting pressure is non-existent, or just because they like to move during these conditions; I have no clue. But I have encountered some absolute giants during cold rain.

In fact, just a few weeks ago I was in Kansas bowhunting. I sat all day only to have a wicked cold front blow in the area. I could deal with the temperature drop into the high 30s and even the cold rain, but like I said above, I hate wind! So when the sustained 25-plus winds hit, I was ready to call it quits. Of course, I just got to my vehicle when my cellular trail camera a few hundred yards away sends me a picture of a nice buck, cruising by.

Really!? But that’s been my luck all year, however, why that deer moved in those conditions blows my mind. He wasn’t with a doe; he just was out for a stroll in cold rain with 40-mile-per-hour gusts.

We will all continue to look at the weather and visualize how the hunt will go. Even 7-10 days out, we start to predict the success or failure of a hunt. However, in the end, the deer will do what they want and we can only play “weatherman” for our hunt. I’d say there’s a 50-percent chance you’ll shoot a buck next time out, and a 50-percent chance you won’t.

Recommended for You


MLF Pros: What's Your Go-To Lure?

G&F Online Staff - May 20, 2019

When all else fails, here's what these pros tie on.

Other Hunting

New Gear: MidwayUSA Competition Range Bag

G&F Staff

Perfect for competition or a day at the range.

Fishing How-To

Why You'll Lose Your Next Big Bass

Larry Larsen

Now that you know you might screw it up the next time a big fish bites, let's fix it.

See More Recommendations

Trending Stories


10 Best Long-Range Cartridges Ever Made

David Hart - January 14, 2015

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? There's more to successful long-range


5 Ways To Catch Catfish on Lures

Keith Sutton - September 16, 2015

As most catfish anglers know, blue cats, channel cats and flatheads will eat darn near...


Upon Further Review: 70-Year-Old Catfish Record Voided

G&F Online Staff - May 22, 2019

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish.

See More Stories

More Whitetail


Ground Zero: West Virginia's Record Bucks

Larry Case - February 16, 2019

Fayette and Kanawha counties are the place in West Virginia for big bucks if you are up to the...


Ground Zero: South Carolina's Record Bucks

Terry Madewell - February 15, 2019

Put the odds of tagging a big buck in your favor by hunting this four-county area in South...


Crossbows: The Lane Bailey Buck

Tracy Breen

If you think you may have only one shot, pick up a crossbow like this hunter did.

See More Whitetail

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.