Do Deer Move When It’s Windy? Know the Easy and Surprising Answer!
I’ve already shared my experiences on how to hunt deer in hot weather and during rainy days. Another major weather condition that may affect your deer harvest is the wind speed in your hunting grounds.
Have you ever found yourself asking, “Do deer move when it’s windy?” I have, and research and first-hand experience allowed me to find the answer to this. Today, I’m going to share the surprising answer to this question, and then give you tips on the best way to hunt deer in windy weather.
Are Deer Affected by the Wind?
The quick answer is yes. The wind does affect the movement and daily routine of deer, but it may not be in the way you expect.
Scientific studies, like the Deer-Forest Study done by the PennState College of Agricultural Sciences, claim that male and female deer tend to move a lot during windy days but not so much during windy nights.
The PennState researchers conclude that deer move a tenth of a mile or more during wind speeds of at least 10 mph or above if it’s daytime, but often move less than a tenth of a mile if it’s nighttime, even in the same wind speed.
While I think this study has merit in it, I find that it may be incomplete. When I was still a new bowhunter, I have had hunts on windy nights where there were almost no deer around, and then windy days where deer are flocked in just one spot.
But how could this be? To understand this better, here are some facts you need to know about deer and how the wind affects them:
- Deer often move away from windy areas. It’s true that deer do move on a windy day, but more often than not, they’re moving away from the windy spot, not toward it. This means areas like wide grass fields, the lee (or sheltered side) of a ridge or woodlot, or even a flat swamps, where they can find more food.
- Deer feed more heavily on windy nights. During windy evenings, deer would most likely relocate to covered areas where they can feel safer from predators while they eat. For instance, rather than exposing themselves in an open field, they’d most likely transfer to environments with denser cover.
- Deer may be hungrier after an evening in harsh weather. When wind speeds become extreme and are coupled with rain or snow, there’s a bigger chance that deer would just take cover completely and wait it out until the next morning. When this happens, you may find a number of deer feeding heavily in the early morning to make up for the calories and nutrients they lost during the night.
Hunting Deer in Windy Weather
Hunting in windy weather may be a bit tricky if you’re a new bowhunter, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it. Here are two useful tips you may want to consider to increase your chances of deer harvest during windy weather conditions:
Know strategic hunting spots.
If you’re hunting on a windy day, opt to set up in a sheltered spot where the deer would most likely move to so they could feed better without the wind blowing in their faces. I recommend waiting at a ridge’s lee side or a flat open area that is less windy than their usual feeding grounds.
If you’re hunting at night, you may want to set up at covered areas with thick forage that deer would enjoy. I recommend looking for open hardwood spots and agricultural fields with some of the deer’s favorite plants and flowers.
Understand wind direction.
Deer have a sensitive sense of smell, which helps them avoid predators and hunters. Unfortunately, you cannot completely erase your scent, no matter how much you clean your body and clothes before a hunt.
When hunting deer, you need to learn how to read the wind and set up your stand so that you’re against it. This way, there are fewer chances for deer to sniff you out and pinpoint your location.
To help me know the wind direction in my hunting ground, I use a wind checker, like the Primos Hunting Wind Checker, to know which way the wind is blowing. You can also use a homemade checker, made with a small bottle and some cornstarch.
To use the wind checker, just squeeze the bottle lightly to allow some powder to escape—the powder will most likely flow toward the direction that the wind is blowing.
Now that you know how deer move when it’s windy, you can make more accurate predictions on where they’ll be and make the necessary preparations to have a successful hunting game.
It is important to know the ideal hunting spots because there is a bigger chance that deer would gather in these places to escape the wind. You also need to understand wind direction and use this to hide your scent from your game.
To help you with this, you can either make your own wind checker or buy a quality brand like the Primos Hunting Wind Checker.
Did this article help? Got any more tips on how to hunt deer when it’s windy? Share them in the comments’ section below. Sharing is caring!