John's Journal...

White-Tailed Bucks on a Cold Day

Watch for Breaking Weather

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Italked with Dr.Larry Marchinton, well-known deer researcher who’s now retired as a professor of wildlife at the UniversityClick to enlarge of Georgia, who explained, “I don’t have any scientific research to back up this theory. However, I do know from my own experience that I see fewer deer moving on extremely-cold days than I do when the weather’s more stable. The day a cold front moves in isn’t as productive a day to hunt as the day before or after a cold front hits. Although deer do have to move in cold weather, I don’t believe they move as much on the coldest days as they do after the weather stabilizes.”
To have a successful deer hunt, hunt deer immediately after severe weather. Hunters in the know can’t wait for a rainstorm to happen because they realize that the deer usually will bed-down, which results in terrible hunting. However, if they go out into that rainstorm and climb into their tree stands just before the storm ends, they’ll often have very-good chances of seeing numerous bucks. After the storm, bucks will travel to freshen-up their scrapes and licking branches and look for food. Hunters will find the first hour after the rain stops one of the most-productive times to hunt.

Until I hunted on Canada’s Anticosti Island some years ago, I never realized that I’d have the most sucClick to enlargecess hunting the first hour after the snow stopped. Norman LeBrun, our guide, and Tony Zappia of New York and I hunted together. Snow started falling with the flakes growing bigger, thicker andmore numerous. I felt as though a white sheet had wrapped itself around me, and I couldn’t see out of it. “This is a whiteout,” LeBrun said. “I know of an old trapper’s shack about 100 yards from here where we keep food and dry wood in the shack just for these types of weather events. If we can get there, we’ll wait out the snow storm.” Click to enlarge

For 4 hours, we remained in the shack, ate and rested but could see nothing but white through the windows. LeBrun explained, “The bucks are doing what we’re doing – bedding down and holding tight to the cover. But just like us, when the snow stops falling, they’ll be on the move.” 
When the snowstorm ended, we returned to our truck and started riding woods roads white with snow. We spotted a deer track crossing a road. LeBrun stopped the truck, looked at the track and announced, “This track has been made by a buck that’s about 15-minutes ahead of us. Get your gun and we’ll go gets him.” I asked LeBrun how he knew a buck had made that track, and he smiled and answered, “The track is big, the hooves are wide apart, and the buck is dragging his back hooves.” I accepted LeBrun’s explanation but then asked, “How do you know the deer is only 15 minutes from us?” With a frown on his face, LeBrun looked up again from the track and said, “The snow stopped falling 15 minutes ago. Since there’s no snow in this track, I know that the buck is walking nearby. Are we going to stand here all day and discuss tracks, or are we going to go take this buck?”

Tomorrow: Locating Deer After the Snow

Check back each day this week for more about "White-Tailed Bucks on a Cold Day"

Day 1: Deer on Cold Days
Day 2: Watch for Breaking Weather
Day 3: Locating Deer After the Snow
Day 4: Hunt the Coveys
Day 5: Use a Dirty Trick


Entry 542, Day 2