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.
Often there is a definite advantage hunting in a strong, blowing wind and a driving rain. Dr. Robert Sheppard of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is an enthusiastic deer hunter with all weapons. He gives this example of going to his stand one morning when the wind was at 20 knots, and there was a driving rain.
“Most people wouldn’t have hunted that day, but I went anyway,” Sheppard reports. “On the way to the stand, I spotted a buck 1/2-mile away standing in a bean field. I had three options for trying to take the deer. I could walk straight across the bean field and spook the buck for sure. I could circle upwind, and he would pick up my scent. Or, I could make the 1-1/2-mile hike downwind below the deer and try to come up behind him. Although the stalk would be longer, and there would be a greater chance for him to see and hear me, the stalk was really the only chance I had. With this option, I also knew with a favorable wind the deer wouldn’t be able to smell me because the rain was falling so hard, and the wind was really blowing. Also the sound of my movement would be masked by the storm. And, because everything in the woods was moving, I would fit in naturally, moving through the forest. When I approached the buck, he was about 50-yards away, facing the wind. For some unknown reason, he turned and walked right into the woods where I was and presented a 20-yard target. I took him.”
In Sheppard’s opinion, hunting with a favorable wind is the most-critical ingredient to bagging a buck, once you have determined in what area the deer is. Sheppard suggests the following:
* “Have several different stand sites facing various directions. Face most of your stands in the direction that the wind most often blows into your area. In my region, the prevailing winds seem to be from the northwest or from the south. For that reason, the majority of my stands face one of these two directions. However, I’ll have two or three stands that face north, east, south and west also. Let the wind direction determine which stand you hunt.
* “Understand the thermals. Know that you can hunt a stand facing in the wrong direction when you have little or no wind early in the morning. Late in the afternoon, if there is little or no wind, you are better off spending the least amount of time you can in your stand.
* “Realize that with a strong wind and possibly a rain you can stalk effectively to within shooting distance of your deer.
“An old wives’ tale is that deer always walk into the wind. However, if that were true, during the winter months when the cold winds blow from the north, by December all the deer in Alabama would be on the Canadian border. Deer walk where they want to, but they use the wind to bring them the scent of danger no matter in which direction they go.”
By using the wind to your advantage, knowing where the deer should show up and how to place your tree stand, you’ll hunt deer more effectively.
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.