Wind Speed and Deer Activity

UTGrad

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Someone mentioned the wind this weekend and it got me thinking about my experiences deer hunting with wind or no wind. I prefer to have some wind moving in a steady direction on a hunt vs calm conditions or gusty winds. Ive sat in stand in the morning where there is no wind and deer sightings are generally low until the sun comes up and the air starts to move. On the flip side strong gusty winds slow down sightings as well.

What wind conditions do you all prefer? I have more confidence in seeing deer moving with intermittent or steady wind.
 

Ski

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Eh, I don't mind wind much except if it's blowing hard. Deer seem to get skittish if the wind is too strong. Otherwise I couldn't care one way or the other if the wind is blowing or dead calm.
 

mike243

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If you are a bow hunter you should hate the wind, coarse folks don't mind the rain when bow hunting either lol , when it blows hard I hunt hollows if I can, mix in cold and I think they go south ,
 

Urban_Hunter

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Wind can make for uncomfortable hunts, but I’ve seen lots of deer in strong winds. The most deer I’ve ever seen from the stand, was about 10 years ago in an absolute blizzard. 20-25 mph winds with gusts even higher. This was a family farm we’ve hunted for generations
 

Madbowh

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I prefer a very light breeze, but I will sit in almost anything. Any wind over 20 I won't get in a tree. Not thinking of anything but what I see on camera I have deer moving in all types of weather. I like to walk when it gets really windy have got really close to some deer on windy days
 

younggun308

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Cleveland, TN
For still hunting the windy days are excellent. Covers your sound and movement. Snuck up on a mountain half-rack 10-point in Virginia a few years back when the gusts were in excess of 20mph. He and some younger bucks were bedded in the mountain laurels enjoying the sunny breeze.
 

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Ski

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If you are a bow hunter you should hate the wind, coarse folks don't mind the rain when bow hunting either lol , when it blows hard I hunt hollows if I can, mix in cold and I think they go south ,

If you really want to hate the wind, read up on the venturi effect of wind. It not only causes wind direction to be dictated by terrain, but also alters atmospheric pressure and even temperature according to the terrain. Suddenly a south wind doesn't necessarily have mean south wind anymore. It all depends on where your stand is located. True story. Throw in some thermals & it really gets confusing.

A bow hunter can drive himself crazy trying to figure it all out. How many times have you heard a hunter griping because their hunting/weather app shows a west wind but it's actually blowing from the east? They blame the weather man for being wrong but the reality is that they themselves don't understand the nature of how wind interacts with the earth.

If you think of air in terms of water then it gets easier to understand. Just like a river's current is flowing steadily along, it swirls and changes direction as it encounters obstacles such as rocks, logs, depth changes, etc. The overall general flow is constant. But there are eddies & swirl pools, updrafts & downdrafts, cold or warm pockets all along the way. It's exactly the same thing with wind as it blows across the landscape. And just like the downstream side of a big rock or log often holds a big fish, the downwind side of a knob or finger ridge point often holds a big buck. The same way fish cruise an eddy for bait, bucks cruise backdrafts to scent check for does.

Wind is nothing to hate. The deer use it every day of their lives. The nature of their behavior is largely dictated by it. It's predictable & repeatable, makes them easier to hunt. If that buck was a trout and the wind was a flowing stream, where would you fish?
 

BSK

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I'm sure I've mentioned this many, many times (probably every time this topic comes up), but we keep extremely detail records of everything when we're hunting, and have for 35 years. Looking at wind speed and bucks seen while hunting (buck sighting rate [bucks seen per hunting hour]), as wind speed increases, buck sighting rates decline. Basically, the higher the wind speed, the fewer bucks seen. However, there is one interesting caveat, and that is extremely strong winds, the type of winds where it's frightening to be in a stand. In these conditions, buck sighting jump up dramatically. Yet looking at individual cases indicates these bucks are seen running through the woods, not walking or going about their daily routine. I strongly suspect these wild wind conditions, and all the violent motion in the habitat, spooks deer and makes them very jumpy, hence the observations of deer running.

When asked why increasing wind speeds would reduce buck movement, I'm not sure that is actually the case. I also suspect this is just a product of motion in the habitat. When the winds are dead calm, the human eye is quickly drawn to any movement of a deer through the woods. Yet when winds increase and all of the branches and leaves are moving, subtle motion of a deer slowly slipping through the woods is not noticed. So it may be that increasing wind speed does not alter deer movement, but it does alter the human eye's ability to detect it, hence reducing sightings.
 

BSK

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...but the reality is that they themselves don't understand the nature of how wind interacts with the earth.

If you think of air in terms of water then it gets easier to understand. Just like a river's current is flowing steadily along, it swirls and changes direction as it encounters obstacles such as rocks, logs, depth changes, etc. The overall general flow is constant. But there are eddies & swirl pools, updrafts & downdrafts, cold or warm pockets all along the way. It's exactly the same thing with wind as it blows across the landscape. And just like the downstream side of a big rock or log often holds a big fish, the downwind side of a knob or finger ridge point often holds a big buck. The same way fish cruise an eddy for bait, bucks cruise backdrafts to scent check for does.
This post by Ski needs to be in double-size font, bold, italics and triple underlined!

For anyone who hunts in ridge-and-hollow terrain, you MUST understand how wind reacts to blowing across ridge-lines. When wind crosses a near perpendicular ridge-line, it is going to produce an eddy on the lee (downwind) side. I call these "roll-over" winds, as the wind rolls over the ridge and actually goes directly back into the predominant wind direction as it rolls up the back side of the ridge. On the lee side, the predominant wind holds for the top third of the ridge, but then a transition occurs to the directly opposite rollover wind, which predominates all the way to the bottom of the ridge on the lee side.

Things get even more interesting if multiple parallel ridges exist. On the windward side of a second parallel ridge, the predominant wind direction only holds for the top half to 2/3rds of the ridge. The rollover (reverse) wind will dominate the bottom half to 1/3.

Have a wind cross a ridge-line at a 45 degree angle and things get really complicated, as the wind "spirals" up the valley on the lee side (imagine a barber pole lying on it's side in the valley).
 

JCDEERMAN

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This post by Ski needs to be in double-size font, bold, italics and triple underlined!

For anyone who hunts in ridge-and-hollow terrain, you MUST understand how wind reacts to blowing across ridge-lines. When wind crosses a near perpendicular ridge-line, it is going to produce an eddy on the lee (downwind) side. I call these "roll-over" winds, as the wind rolls over the ridge and actually goes directly back into the predominant wind direction as it rolls up the back side of the ridge. On the lee side, the predominant wind holds for the top third of the ridge, but then a transition occurs to the directly opposite rollover wind, which predominates all the way to the bottom of the ridge on the lee side.

Things get even more interesting if multiple parallel ridges exist. On the windward side of a second parallel ridge, the predominant wind direction only holds for the top half to 2/3rds of the ridge. The rollover (reverse) wind will dominate the bottom half to 1/3.

Have a wind cross a ridge-line at a 45 degree angle and things get really complicated, as the wind "spirals" up the valley on the lee side (imagine a barber pole lying on it's side in the valley).
Ski and BSK nailed it!
 

JCDEERMAN

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However, there is one interesting caveat, and that is extremely strong winds, the type of winds where it's frightening to be in a stand. In these conditions, buck sighting jump up dramatically. Yet looking at individual cases indicates these bucks are seen running through the woods, not walking or going about their daily routine. I strongly suspect these wild wind conditions, and all the violent motion in the habitat, spooks deer and makes them very jumpy, hence the observations of deer running.
I have seen this several times. Almost got run over one day by a spike. VERY windy day and I don't know why I was out. I sat up against a small cedar tree. Had a spike frantically run by my within 15 yards 3 times within a matter of 10 minutes. About 10 minutes passed, I was looking to my right and as I turned my head to the left, I saw something running straight toward me just 5-10 feet away. I immediately jumped back and rolled covering my head (probably screamed too 🤣). Nothing happened and I looked back up and that spike just kept running feet from me and continued on his way. I don't think he ever knew I was in the world.
 

Boll Weevil

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If you ever hunt in the plains/midwest where the wind blows all the time, deer don't care. I've hunted when it probably wasn't safe to be in the tree and killed deer.
 

tree_ghost

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mboro, tennessee
If you really want to hate the wind, read up on the venturi effect of wind. It not only causes wind direction to be dictated by terrain, but also alters atmospheric pressure and even temperature according to the terrain. Suddenly a south wind doesn't necessarily have mean south wind anymore. It all depends on where your stand is located. True story. Throw in some thermals & it really gets confusing.

A bow hunter can drive himself crazy trying to figure it all out. How many times have you heard a hunter griping because their hunting/weather app shows a west wind but it's actually blowing from the east? They blame the weather man for being wrong but the reality is that they themselves don't understand the nature of how wind interacts with the earth.

If you think of air in terms of water then it gets easier to understand. Just like a river's current is flowing steadily along, it swirls and changes direction as it encounters obstacles such as rocks, logs, depth changes, etc. The overall general flow is constant. But there are eddies & swirl pools, updrafts & downdrafts, cold or warm pockets all along the way. It's exactly the same thing with wind as it blows across the landscape. And just like the downstream side of a big rock or log often holds a big fish, the downwind side of a knob or finger ridge point often holds a big buck. The same way fish cruise an eddy for bait, bucks cruise backdrafts to scent check for does.

Wind is nothing to hate. The deer use it every day of their lives. The nature of their behavior is largely dictated by it. It's predictable & repeatable, makes them easier to hunt. If that buck was a trout and the wind was a flowing stream, where would you fish?
This needs to be a sticky somewhere. A wise bow hunter would screenshot this and intimately understand all aspects of this post.

EXCELLENT JOB SKI!
 

tree_ghost

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mboro, tennessee
I love wind it doesn’t bother me a bit. I’ve climbed down out of the tree in early October from fear of wind and hail on the front side of a storm that produced a funnel cloud, but I was extremely reluctant because there were 4 bucks in the 130-140 class feeding in the food plot without a care in the world.
 

Remington700

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West TN
I like a light wind that is steady from one direction. It covers some movement and noise. I do not like a strong wind because I typically do not see much. Also, what you do see is spooky and on alert. Like all kinds of hunting though, it depends. I have experienced success in both but prefer little to no wind.
 

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