What Wind Means to Deer
Trail Camera photos can drive a hunter to put in incredible amounts of work before, during, and after the season. But, all of this preparation can be for naught if you rush in to hunt a stand when the conditions aren’t right. All deer, especially big bucks, live by their noses. They approach food, cover, and even reproductive situations from downwind.
Playing the Wind
Knowing what we know about the importance of a deer's sense of smell, it’s important to try and keep all the odds in our favor. Scent control products have come a long way. Cover scents, odor eliminator sprays, and even ozone products can help to give hunters an edge. But, none of these products are 100% effective. The only sure way to beat a buck’s nose is to stay downwind of him. Stands should be placed accordingly along his travel routes. Many areas of the country can count on a westerly wind during the hunting season, most of the time. Weather and hunting apps like OnX have up-to-the-minute wind direction displays built into them. Check the wind direction repeatedly as your hunt draws near to watch for any shifts that might put your wind in a deer’s nose. Landscape features can alter wind direction. For example, if the weather forecast is calling for northwest winds, a hill or valley may produce local winds that constantly swirl, or come from a different direction entirely. The only way to know and plan for these intricacies is to be familiar with your hunting territory.
If you approach your hunting location, and you notice that the prevailing wind isn’t right, back out. Spooking a mature deer once could change his patterns and take away future harvest opportunities.