When Deer Hunting, Use Weather Patterns to Your Advantage

By Cody Larrimore


All hunters like to be in the woods as much as possible during the hunting season. Hunting weather can be a mixture of good, bad, comfortable, uncomfortable, wet or dry conditions. A hunter must be willing to brave the elements to get as much time in the woods as he can to improve his chances of harvesting a whitetail. Knowing how to hunt in and how deer are affected by different weather conditions can be valuable knowledge to any deer hunting enthusiast.

The best way to pattern deer using the weather is to begin by keeping records of the weather every time you head to the woods to observe, track, scout, and hunt in your favorite areas. Make this part of every trip for deer and you will be able to zero in on harvesting your next trophy.

Science has confirmed that weather effects wildlife in a variety of ways and whitetail movement is no exception. While experts will occasionally disagree on its effects, nothing can dispute your own observations. Many will debate on which is more important: Wind or temperature? Do deer move more on a rising or falling barometer? Do atmospheric conditions such as rain, cloud cover, fronts or fog really matter?


This type of weather condition is fairly clear, as just like high temperature inhibits our movements, high temperature inhibits deer movement as well. With increased heat comes sweat, and with sweat comes odor. As all hunters know, odor is not a good thing to be producing when challenged by the exceptional ability of a deer’s nose. Low temperature stimulates movement and activity. Remember that extremes on either end of the temperature scale will inhibit movement and activity. Usually temperatures above 60-65 will begin to slow down movement and activity. No matter what time or day or season. Be sure and adjust this for your area of the country. The farther north you go the upper temperature range will slide lower. There will surely be some cutoff temperature above which daytime whitetail movement is curtailed. This is where your field notes will identify what works best.

Atmospheric Conditions

Atmospheric conditions such as rain or the lack of, mist, fog, and whether you have clear skies, cloudy
skies and partly cloudy skies will again help you anticipate deer movement. The data you have collected will help you pinpoint the fact that the grungier the sky, the better the deer will like it, even up to but not including heavy rain. A good ground fog, with a light misty rain provides the best of all hunting situations. This goes to show that when you head into the woods you have the right gear for every sort of weather condition you can expect that day.

I don’t know many hunters that enjoy hunting in the rain, especially heavy rains which seem to limit deer movement and usually only send a hunter home drenched and disappointed. A lighter rain is less of an obstacle for a willing hunter and it can be a good time to get some use out of your ground blind to keep you nice and dry.

Rain is a bowhunters worst enemy. Although deer may be on the move, tracking a wounded deer becomes much harder as the rain will wash away a blood trail rather quickly. Many a well hit deer has been lost due to the lack of a good blood trail to follow. A bowhunters gear is also very vulnerable to mistakes when drenched (release slipping, added unproportioned arrow weight, etc.). It is advised to use discretion when thinking about bowhunting in heavy rain.

However, an advantage for a hunter is that human scent doesn’t travel as well in the rain, making it much harder for a deer to detect at longer ranges.


Most outdoorsman pay close attention to the barometric pressure as an indication of general activity no matter what sort of game they may be after. This is the number one weather indictor to pay attention to and check regularly when heading to the woods. While it can be a complicated topic, whitetails seem to favor a moving barometer to a stationary one. A rising barometer (such as high pressure moving in after a storm) verses a falling one and a steady high barometer verses a steady low one seems to promote the best activity. You may want to invest in a barometer for your deer lodge or camp so you can track your specific area verses the one your get from the TV weather man, sometimes 100 miles or more from where you are.

A barometer in your deer camp or home will give you the ability to accurately anticipate the amount of deer movement you can expected on your next hunt.


Many will debate if the moon is weather but we feel that the phase of the moon does affect whitetail behavior. It may be the light it emits, or a gravitational pull effect, but tracking the moon phases when you are in the woods will help you identify best times for activity throughout the day.

Your database will yield information over time to which period of the open season has the greatest likelihood of producing the most sightings per hunt. It is not surprising that the best period of activity and movement is at the peak of the rut.

Using a something as simple as a notebook to get started is a great way to begin. Also there are many good computer hunting log books available that will cross reference input data for you automatically as you add more and more data over the years. Some of the good programs even combine this information with topographical maps or aerial photos.

A simple logbook/database will give you the real answers to your questions about when deer move in your area. Your information will replace superstition, old hunters’ wives tales, long standing myths, or guesswork, and provide you with the evidence to find more trophy opportunities.

Wind Force

Wind direction matters only indirectly concerning whitetail deer movement. The given wind velocity will affect deer movement directly. Wind speeds over 20 miles an hour seem to slow down movement and activity. But deer where wind speeds are regularly higher will adapt to any sort of wind conditions in order to survive. Below 20 miles an hour the speed seems to have no effect. They move as freely in a 15 mph breeze as when it’s dead calm.

The nature of the wind is more important than the velocity. Some deer will like strong, steady breezes and dislike gusty, direction-switching breezes because it makes them nervous about their areas they are in. Paying attention to and recording wind force in your area will let you know how the deer in your area react to various wind conditions.

Knowing what deer do under different weather conditions can be the difference between a good or bad day of hunting. There will always be better days to hunt, especially if you know your limitations.

Via: All Outdoor

Category: Hunting, Fog, Heat, Mood, Rain, weather, Wind


Charles is the editor for 248 Shooter a midwest based gun news and gear review site as well as Online Content Director for On Target Magazine. He is an avid student taking classes from top tier trainers around the country. Charles shares his love for training as well as experience and opinions on some of the most talked about gear and products used by competitive shooters, military, leo and civilians.