If you want a chance to kill a big buck on a day that your mistakes as a hunter are negated to the full extent, don’t hunker down inside on windy days. It’s a favorite time to hunt for Jeremiah Cottle of Bandana, N.C., and it’s paid off for him on several occasions.
“You can do a lot of things wrong and still have success when the weather is bad. I’m not talking about hunting with a 5-mile-an-hour wind blowing in the wrong direction. I’m talking about hunting when the trees are swaying and limbs are dropping. Twenty, 25 mile-an-hour winds are perfect times to hunt. Some deer will lay low during these winds, but some move around a lot more boldly than they normally do, and they lose the advantage of hearing and smell, and of sight when leaves are raining out of the trees and everything is moving with the wind,” said Cottle.
“You can sneeze, you can move, you can eat crackers, you can cough, you can do just about anything and everything that you can’t do under normal weather conditions,” he said.
Cottle suffers from chronic back pain that he attributes to several spinal surgeries he’s had performed on him in the past 10 years. It makes it impossible for him to sit still for long periods of time, and unless he’s in a completely enclosed blind, that’s a bad thing for deer hunting.
“I’d much rather sit in an open blind. Sitting in an enclosed blind gives me the feeling that I’m not really in the woods, and being in the woods is a big part of why I hunt. And I like to be able to look all around me instead of being confined to a few holes to look through when in a fully enclosed blind. But I squirm around so much because of back pain that I probably usually shoo deer away that I don’t even know about, which I believe is why I see far more deer when the wind is blowing like mad. Everything is moving when it’s that windy, so my squirming doesn’t look any worse than anything else,” he said.
Cottle said that under such windy conditions, he’s more comfortable in a climbing stand than a ladder stand.
“The climbing stand is just connected to the tree, so it’s going to sway along with the tree. A ladder stand attached to a tree is going to fight against itself. The legs want to stay put but the part attached to the tree will want to sway. It just makes it uncomfortable, and I think more dangerous than a climbing stand when it’s so windy,” he said.