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Weather Conditions: Best Time to Deer Hunt

Heath Wood

hunting in the rain

There is nothing more crucial when deer hunting than that of the weather. Weather affects almost every aspect of deer hunting in multiple scenarios. The weather determines the clothing that will be worn while hunting. Depending on the temperature, the need for a moisture-wicking, fast-drying deer hunting clothing could be needed in warmer situations. Yet, if cooler temperatures are in the forecast, the need for insulated clothing is more significant. The weather forecast also plays a substantial role in the location of the hunt on most occasions. The forecasted wind direction is the main reason for specific treestand locations. A hunter often prefers to have the wind direction in their face or to the side to avoid being smelled by approaching deer. Weather from previous days also should be a factor when considering where to hunt; suppose the weather has been dry for an extended period, then hunting near a water source is an excellent place to start. Whereas hunting in the bottom of a ravine would be ideal if the weatherman is predicting high winds. 

Many variables determine where to hunt and how to dress while doing so. However, hunters are not the only thing affected by the weather. The animals we hunt also determine their daily routine based on the climate. Deer movement has been forecasted for years based on cold fronts, thermals, and moon phases. Hunters have relied on weather predictions and hunting forecasts as the basis for when they hunt. Often, hunters will not hunt if the conditions are not in their favor; others hunt no matter what. The question is when trying to harvest mature bucks, can one hunt anytime, or should they hold off until conditions are favorable?

The number one reason I hear from hunters who say they hunt whenever is those who hunt on a limited schedule. I can relate to that logic; I have spent most of my adult life working close to 50 hours a week. My wife and I have added raising our little boy to our already busy schedule for the last three and a half years. When hunters say I only get a few days to hunt a year, I am hunting when I can, I feel their pain. However, I still determine my hunts on when the conditions are in my favor.

DeerCast weather app

Over the past 15 years, I have spent most of my time hunting with calling in coyotes. One of the best tips I have come across for predator hunting is quality over quantity. Instead of making numerous calling stands, focus rather on the quality of each stand. When I began making better stands, I killed more coyotes. I have now adopted that same thinking into my deer hunting efforts.

Currently, I have been using the popular DeerCast app from Drury Outdoors. I have religiously relied on their predictions and wind directions to determine when and where I hunt. 

The DeerCast app has taken what veteran hunters have been doing for years and predicts the best times to hunt based on different weather, wind directions, thermals, and experience. It has been made into an effective app that is simple for hunters to use. Even with limited hunting days, I have encountered better quality hunts that produce better results while following this app's advice. 

To ensure that a hunt takes place on better forecasted days, hunters should pay attention to the weather forecast and use an app such as DeerCast. With the ability to see ten days in advance to what days are predicted as better days to hunt, one can schedule days off from work to make the best of precious time. The best days to hunt may not always be on a cool and sunny fall day based on deer movement. It is essential to hunt when the wind is right and deer movement is high. Sometimes, there may be slight rain or even a drastic change in the weather that sparks deer movement.

cold weather hunting

If the hunt takes place on a colder day, hunters must have insulated clothing or clothing that will help them keep warm such as ScentLok's BE:1 Reactor Heated Vest. The Reactor Vest is equipped with three different heating elements powered by a small power bank to keep the hunter warm throughout even the most brutal conditions. Other essential garments include rain gear to help keep one dry and wind-resistant clothing to keep the hunter warm. The goal is to be comfortable and ready to hunt when the time is right.

hunting deer in snow

When hunting mature bucks, details are what equals success. Many aspects come from scent control, wind direction, and stand locations. Then there are, more importantly, details that determine when to hunt or not.  The end reward is worth it if one will only hunt when the scenarios are suitable for a better-quality hunt.

Mossy Oak Deer hunting gear

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