Here we are beginning the last week in October and I’ve yet to see a deer from stand. I’ve got plenty of deer pictured on my trail cameras but, save for a doe and two fawns none of them has shown up during daylight hunting hours.
For almost four weeks, the weather here in the southern tier has not been conducive to good deer hunting. My wife, a golfer is thrilled about the warm weather and clear skies but, me not so much. Temperatures in the high 70’s to the low 80’s seem to have deer waiting until after dark to move from their resting spots to feed. In addition, I’ve found several scrapes that indicate bucks are active at night and my trail cameras have confirmed that observation.
Last night, a beautiful Hunter’s Moon appeared like a celestial orange pumpkin rising over the hills near my home. The sight was something to behold but, quite frankly, I’ve never had much hunting success when the moon was full. I keep a daily journal of each day I deer hunt and while others may disagree, I’ve found temperatures above 60 degrees and a full moon clearly suppress deer sightings.
Hopefully, all that is about to change this week because our local weather people say the barometer will be rising and temperatures will be in the low to mid-50’s with overnight lows much cooler. While my comments are not based on science, they are based on what I’ve seen while hunting deer with a bow and arrow for more than 50 years. Essentially, warm weather is bad for hunting while cold weather is good and an abrupt change from the former to the latter is best.
I also pay close attention to the barometer and whether it is rising of falling. It seems I see more deer when the barometer is rising especially after a storm has passed through the region. I also pay attention to a falling barometer especially after a period of clear, warm weather. Deer seem to have a built in sense that tells them when foul weather is about to arrive and they seem to time their feeding activity to take advantage of the calm before the storm. I would much rather to hunt deer when the skies are grey and dark than when they are clear. In my opinion, a light misty rain is ideal for seeing deer while a heavy rain keeps them sheltered and me at home. However, after a period of heavy rain ends, I try to get out to one of my deer stands because over the years, I’ve found this to be an excellent opportunity for seeing deer.
Wind is another matter. If the wind was predicted to blow above 20 miles per hour and I used to think it wasn’t a good time to hunt. I’ve since changed my mind about that. A strong steady wind doesn’t seem to bother deer too much and I’ve found them to be about as active as they are when the winds are calm. In fact, I killed the biggest deer I ever killed in New York while a strong west wind blew hard and the tree I was in swayed. When the big buck appeared, he didn’t seem to be concerned about the wind and, with all the noise, I had no problem picking up my bow and making the shot. What does seem to bother them however are gusty winds that constantly switch directions.
When it comes to predicting the effect weather has on deer behavior each hunter has his or her own opinion of course and it’s hard to argue one way or another. My experience is purely anecdotal, but it is based on what I’ve seen and recorded in my log book for more than 30 years. Others may disagree but, when temperatures drop, I’ll be in my stand with the confidence I’ll be seeing deer, especially bucks.