John's Journal...

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

Day 5: Using the Wind to Your Advantage Is Critical to Taking a Buck

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 ViewOften there is a definite advantage to having a strong, blowing wind and a driving rain when you’re hunting deer. Dr. Robert Sheppard, an avid deer hunter, gives the example of going to his stand one morning when the wind was at 20 knots, and there was a driving rain. “Most people wouldn’t have hunted that day, but I went anyway,” Sheppard reports. “On the way to the stand, I spotted a buck a half mile away standing in a bean field. I had three options for trying to take the deer. I could walk straight across the bean field and spook the buck for sure. I could circle upwind, and he would pick up my scent. Or, I could make the 1-1/2-mile hike downwind below the deer and try and come up behind him. Although the stalk would be longer, and there would be a greater chance for that buck to see and hear me, the stalk was really the only chance I would have. With this option, I also knew with a favorable wind the deer wouldn’t be able to smell me, because the rain was falling so hard, and the wind was really blowing. Also the sound of my movement would be masked by the storm. And because everything in the woods was moving, I would fit in naturally moving through the forest. When I approached the buck, he was about 50-yards away, facing the wind. For some unknown reason, he turned, walked right into the woods where I was, and presented a 20-yard target, and I bagged him.”

In Sheppard’s opinion, hunting with a favorable wind is the most-critical ingredient to bagging a buck once you’ve determined in what area the deer should be. Sheppard suggests the following.
“* Have several different stand sites facing various directions. Have most of your stands facing into the direction that the wind most often blows into your area. In my region, the prevailing winds seem to be from the northwest or from the south. For that reason, the majority of my stands face one of these two directions. However, I’ll have two or three stands that face north, east, south and west also. Let the wind direction determine which stand you hunt.

“* Understand the thermals. Know that you can hunt a stand facing in the wrong direction when you have little or no wind early in the morning. Late in the afternoon, if there is little or no wind, you are better off spending the least amount of time you can in your stand.

“* Realize that with a strong wind and possibly a rain, you can stalk effectively to within shooting distance of your deer.”

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewAn old wives’ tale is that deer always walk into the wind. However, if that were true, during the winter months when the cold winds blow from the north, by December all the deer in the South will be on the Canadian border. As Sheppard mentions, “Deer walk where they want to, but they use the wind to bring them the scent of danger no matter which direction they go.” By using the wind to your advantage, knowing where the deer should show up and how to place your tree stand, you should be able to effectively take more whitetail deer this season.

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.

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

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Entry 741, Day 5