'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.

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