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Home >> Hunting >> Deer >> Weather & Whitetails << Back

Weather & Whitetails

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The best way to pattern deer using the weather is to begin by keeping records of the weather every time you head to the woods to observe, track, scout, and hunt in your favorite part of the great outdoors. Make this part of every trip for deer and you will be able to zero in on harvesting your next trophy.

Science has confirmed that weather effects wildlife in a variety of ways and whitetail movement is not exception. While experts will occasionally disagree on it's effects, nothing can dispute your own observations. Many will debate on which is more important: Wind or temperature? Do deer move more on a rising or falling barometer? Do atmospheric conditions such as rain, cloud cover, fronts or fog really matter? When looking at weather conditions be sure and factor in the hunting pressure on your neck of the woods as well.

Temperature

This type of weather condition is fairly clear as just like high temperature inhibits our movements, high temperature inhibits deer movement as well. Low temperature stimulates movement and activity. Remember that extremes on either end of the temperature scale will inhibit movement and activity. Usually temperatures above 60-65 will begin to slow down movement and activity. No matter what time or day or season. Be sure an adjust this for your area of the country. The farther north you go the upper temperature range will slide lower. There will surely be some cutoff temperature above which daytime whitetail movement is curtailed. This is where your field notes will identify the "Activity Zones"

Barometer

Most outdoorsman pay close attention to the barometric pressure as an indication of general activity no matter what sort of game they may be after. This is the number one one weather indictor to pay attention to and check regularly when heading to the woods. While it can be a complicated topic, whitetails seem to favor a moving barometer to a stationary one. A rising barometer (such as high pressure moving in after a storm) verses a falling one and a steady high barometer verses a steady low one seems to promote the best activity. You may want to invest in a barometer for your deer lodge or camp so you can track your specific area verses the one your get from the TV weather man, sometimes 100 miles or more from where you are.

A barometer in your deer camp will give you the ability to accurately anticipate the amount of deer movement you can expected on your next hunt..

Atmospheric Conditions

Atmospheric conditions such as rain or the lack of, along with the amount of nature of cloud like rain, mist, fog, and whether you have clear skies, cloudy skies and partly cloudy skies will again help you anticipate deer movement. The data you have collected will help you pinpoint the fact that the grungier the sky, the better the deer will like it, even up to but not including heavy rain. A good ground fog, with a light misty rain provides the best of all hunting situations. This goes to show that when you head into the woods you have the right gear for every sort of weather condition you can expect that day.

Wind Force

Wind direction matters only indirectly concerning whitetail deer movement. The given winds velocity will affect deer movement directly. Wind speeds over 20 miles an hour seem to slow down movement and activity. But deer where wind speeds are regularly higher will adapt to any sort of wind conditions in order to survive. Below 20 miles and hour the speed seems to have no effect. They move as freely in a 15 mph breeze as when it’s dead calm.

The nature of the wind is more important than the velocity. Some deer will like strong, steady breezes and dislike gusty, direction-switching breezes because it makes them nervous about there areas they are in. Paying attention to and recording wind force in your area will let you know how the deer in your area react to various wind conditions.

Moon

Many will debate if the "Moon" is weather but we feel that the "Phase" of the moon does affect whitetail behavior. It may be the light it emits, or a gravitational pull effect, but tracking the moon phases when you are in the woods will help you identify when you spot movement and activity throughout the day.

You database will yield information over time to which period of the open season has the the greatest likelihood of producing the most buck sightings per hunt. It is not surprising that the best period of activity and movement is at the peak of the rut.

Using a something as simple as a notebook to get started is a great way to begin. Also there are many good computer “hunting log books” available that will cross-reference input data for you automatically as you add more and more data over the years. Some of the good programs even combine this information with topographical maps or aerial photos.

A simple logbook/database will give you the real answers to your questions about when deer move in your area. Your information will replace superstition, old hunters wives’ tales, long standing myth, or guesswork, and provide you with the evidence to find more trophy opportunities.

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