John's Journal...

Be Wise about the Weather and the Wind to Take White-Tailed Deer

Day 4: Use Thermals to your Advantage When Hunting Deer

Editor’s Note: Sometimes a buck will see you or hear you – and you’ll still get a shot. But if he smells you – color him gone.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger View“A hunter can also use thermals to his advantage if he has a very slight wind of 5 miles an hour or less,” Dr. Robert Sheppard, who conducts and teaches at deer-hunting schools each year, explains. “If you are hunting in the morning, you may can hunt from a stand with the wind at your back. With a slow wind and a rising thermal, your scent will be carried upwards above the deer. Then you can hunt out of a stand where the wind is blowing in the wrong direction. I’ve proved this point to myself before. One time I was in my tree stand early one morning and spotted a fine 8-point buck. The deer would have scored about 110 or 120 on Boone & Crockett. I could visualize him mounted on my den wall. But since I saw him coming from downwind of me, I felt sure he would pick up my scent. However, the weather conditions were right. It was early morning, and there was a very, very slight breeze, so my scent was rising.

“I watched the big buck come-in under my scent. Right at the point he should have winded me – he didn’t. He continued to move into the zone where there was no doubt that he would have winded me, except for the rising thermal and the slight wind carrying my scent over his head. The buck came on in my direction right under my scent. At 20 yards I drew and released the arrow. But, not only was I lucky that day – the deer was too. I just flat out missed, and the deer went on his way.” If you understand thermals, you often can hunt with the wind direction that normally will carry your scent to the deer.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewTo know what’s happening with thermals when you’re in a tree stand, use a small piece of string to tie onto the end of your broadhead. According to Sheppard, “In the morning, thermals will cause the thread to lift up and settle back down. In the late evening, the thread will hang straight down if there is no wind. To test this theory, light a cigarette in late afternoon with no wind, and watch the smoke settle to the ground. In early morning, you can watch cigarette smoke with no wind rise. The way the cigarette smoke goes is the same way your scent travels.”

For more deer-hunting tips, get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro,”How to Hunt Deer Up Close: With Bows, Rifles, Muzzleloaders and Crossbows,” and “PhD Whitetails: How to Hunt and Take the Smartest Deer on Any Property.” Too, you can go to, type in the name of the book and download it to your Kindle and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Tomorrow: Using the Wind to Your Advantage Is Critical to Taking a Buck

Check back each day this week for more about "Be Wise about the Weather and the Wind to Take White-Tailed Deer"

Day 1: What Hunters Know about Deer and Their Sense of Smell
Day 2: Beating the Wind to Take Deer
Day 3: Understand Variable Wind Conditions and Thermals to Take Deer
Day 4: Use Thermals to your Advantage When Hunting Deer
Day 5: Using the Wind to Your Advantage Is Critical to Taking a Buck

ALL CONTENT PROTECTED UNDER THE DIGITAL MILLENIUM COPYRIGHT ACT. Content theft, either printed or electronic is a federal offense.


Entry 741, Day 4