John’s Note: Sometimes, a buck will see you or hear you – and you’ll still get a shot. But if he smells you – he’ll be gone.
Most hunters agree that hunting with the wind in their faces, so that their scents aren’t carried into their shooting zones is critical to successfully bagging deer. The next-most-important question to ask is, “How do you determine wind direction?”
Dr. Robert Sheppard, longtime avid deer hunter and deer-hunting instructor, from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, has a methodical approach he employs to check wind direction in several different ways before he finally enters his stand. “The first thing I do every morning when I get up is to check my weather radio and see what the prediction for the wind direction is for that day. Once I know the wind direction, I next choose the stand where I will hunt. Each day I hunt, the wind dictates the choice of stands I have. I only will hunt out of the stands that face into the wind. I’ll have 10 to 20 stand sties in the woods with shooting lanes cut running from each stand in four different directions out to about 30 yards from each stand. There will be three or four of those stand sites that I can hunt in any wind direction on any given day. So, once I know the wind direction, I begin to narrow down my choice of stands. Another factor considered in my final decision of where I will hunt besides wind direction is how much time has passed since I’ve been to those stand sites. The two stand sites that I have hunted from the least in recent weeks will be my choices for the morning hunt. So, by analyzing the wind, I’ve narrowed my choices from 20 to two.”
Once Sheppard listens to the weather radio and has decided the stand he will hunt out of because of the prevailing wind, he says he doesn’t, “Turn my brain off. When I get into my car and head for the woods, I observe every chimney I pass. I have my compass on the front seat of the car and check the direction the wind is blowing the smoke out of the chimneys. If every chimney I pass has the smoke blowing in a different direction during the 15-mile drive that I have to make from my house to the woods, then I begin to wonder if I’m not hunting on a day when the wind will be variable and unpredictable and/or if there are thermals affecting the air current differently from what the weatherman has reported. By the time I reach the woods, if I determine that the wind is variable and won’t be blowing consistently from one direction during the time I plan to hunt, then I spend my time scouting.”
To get John E. Phillips’ eBooks and print books on hunting deer, “How to Hunt and Take Big Buck Deer on Small Properties,” “How to Hunt Deer Up Close: With Bows, Rifles, Muzzleloaders and Crossbows,” “PhD Whitetails: How to Hunt and Take the Smartest Deer on Any Property,” “How to Take Monster Bucks,” “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro,” and “Bowhunting Deer: Mossy Oak Pros Know Bucks and Bows,” or to prepare venison, “Deer & Fixings,” click here.
For information on making jerky from your deer to provide a protein-rich snack, you can download a free book from http://johninthewild.com/free-books.