Why you should hunt during rainy, windy conditions

storm
Hunting along the outer bands of a storm can mean success for deer hunters.

Hunters on outskirts of Dorian can take advantage of wind

No hunter should ever put their life at risk in the pursuit of deer. And we would never encourage anyone to do so. So hunters in the path of the worst of Hurricane Dorian’s wind and wrath shouldn’t be sitting in a tree stand this week. However, for hunters farther inland, where it will be rainy and more windy than normal, but not dangerously so, the next few days will be great for hunting.

Jeremy Snow of Darlington said when it comes to deer hunting, windy and rainy conditions have always been friendly to him.

“I’ve always killed quality deer during windy conditions. And I think the reason is because it neutralizes so much of a deer’s natural advantages. It makes it harder on them to see anything when leaves and branches are blowing all about. And their smell is also impacted negatively in storms that have the wind blowing so strong and shifting constantly.

“Hunters make a lot of mistakes that they never even realize. Moving at the wrong times, coughing, sneezing, standing up to stretch in the stand. A lot of times, we do that never knowing that a deer is seeing our movements or hearing us. I know I’m guilty of it. But in really strong winds, the deer can’t figure out what movements are natural and what aren’t,” he said.

Snow has always believed that deer move more during windy days, but he said that’s probably because he sees more during windy days. And he said that’s probably because they can’t see him making mistakes so easily when the wind is whipping.

Don’t hunt in deadly wind, but some wind is okay

“I’ve read all sorts of studies on deer moving in the wind. And I’ve observed a lot of it because I just like hunting when the weather is like that. And where I live, we have a lot of bad weather due to hurricanes during deer season every year. Fortunately I live far enough away (from the coast) that what we get is usually just some bad wind and rain. It’s bad enough to keep most hunters home, but I love hunting in that as long as it isn’t life-threatening.

“But 25 and even 30-mph winds, man, I’ll hunt in that all day long,” he said.

Between what he’s observed in the stand, through trail cam photos, and studies he’s read, Snow believes that during long periods of sustained high winds, deer move very little at night. But they move just as much, if not more, during daylight hours.

“I’m sure it’s tough on them to get around at night when the wind is blowing that bad. Just like it would be for us to move around in the dark with everything blowing everywhere. So they hunker down in the dark. And during the day, they have to move. Now I know deer are smarter than most give them credit for. But let’s face it, they are not smart enough to think that if they just hunker down for 48 hours, the storm will pass and they can get back to grazing. They have no idea how long the weather will last,” he said.

Snow does make some changes in his approach when a big storm is going on.

Let the swaying help you

“My favorite stand is a ladder stand. I have it ratchet-strapped to a big oak tree. The stand is 12-feet high and it overlooks a big clearing with a small food plot in the middle of it. There’s one layer of tall, thin pine trees between me and the clearing,” he said.

“When I see a storm like Dorian brewing, I go in there a few days before it’s supposed to hit my area. My stand has removable sections of the ladder. So I take it down, and put it back up so it’s only 6 feet high. I put it back on the same tree. Now all those thin pine trees are going to be swaying like mad between me and the clearing. The tops of them sway real bad and can make it difficult to get a shot off. But me being 6 feet high, that part of the pines are more steady.

“Now there’s all sorts of swaying going around all around me. Branches, limbs, short trees swaying. Leaves blowing all over everywhere. I can do pretty much anything I want. I could dance in the stand and a deer wouldn’t notice me over all the other movement.

“The wind is my friend”

“And the deer — it’s like they know they can’t tell what’s what up in the trees. They spend all their time eating and keeping their eyes on what they are able to see, which is just ground level,” he said.

Snow said he doesn’t get much support from other hunters in his windy hunting endeavors.

“They tell me I’m crazy for being out in that wind. But I always kill good deer in those kinds of conditions. I’ll be honest with you, I think it’s because I’m not really a very good hunter. I make way too many mistakes when the weather is ideal. But when the wind comes in and takes away a deer’s defenses, I can make those same mistakes and they won’t notice. The wind is my friend,” he said.

Click here to read about another deer hunter who loves hunting during adverse weather conditions.

Brian Cope
About Brian Cope 1379 Articles
Brian Cope of Edisto Island, S.C., is a retired Air Force combat communications technician. He has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina and has been writing about the outdoors since 2006. He’s spent half his life hunting and fishing. The rest, he said, has been wasted.

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