Deer Hunting Ahead of the Front
Dr. John Woods 01.06.20
Moving into the fall white-tailed deer hunting seasons and deer behavior phases is also the time of year when weather changes can be quick and volatile. One day it is a nice balmy 60 degrees and often virtually overnight, it all changes. How do you prepare and react?
You wake up the next morning and it’s 26 degrees outside with a stiff wind. There is a thick frost on the ground with a slight mist in the air. You check the weather reports and in a few days a new front is moving in. When do you go hunting to maximize your efforts?
There are many theories and research studies offering advice with details on the impacts of fluctuating atmospheric pressures on game populations. We are pretty sure that the white-tailed deer definitely react to changing air pressure as weather fronts approach. This is the time all hunters should monitor weather constantly to know when to head to the woods.
Lowering atmospheric pressure indicates that rainy and stormy weather is developing. As the pressure goes down from moderate pressures of 30 to 30.5 or fair weather to a 29 that indicates storms, deer will start to be on the move. Movement seems to indicate that deer will be up on their feet trying to feed before rain or storms hit.
Similar to farm livestock, when cows are seen browsing around in the pasture, then deer will act accordingly as well. As the pressure is going down is the time to be in the tree stand, ground blind, or shooting house. It would be a good time to do some slow and deliberate still hunting. This would mean moving slowly down deer trails, woods lanes and plot edges watching closely for deer moving. Always work into the wind.
Once the air pressure bottoms out it will either be pouring rain or in full scale storm conditions. During this phase deer tend to lock down hiding out in cedar thickets, deep woods, or below ridge tops out of the wind and rain. As far as hunting is concerned, this is the time to be sitting by a raging fireplace with a good cup of coffee. Relax while the weather plays out.
As the nasty weather winds down, and storm clouds clear out, this is again the time to start gearing up to get back into stands. Having hunkered down for a spell deer will be anxious to be up and moving again. Be there ready for them.