Using Wind & Barometric Pressure to Your Advantage | Deer Hunting Tips & Strategy
By: Dylan Hayward
It’s no secret that hunting mature whitetails can be a big challenge. Throughout the season, it constantly feels like a chess match between you and the deer, and a lot of the time, it feels like they have the upper hand. There are several factors that can help you make the most out of each of your deer sits, but perhaps none are talked about more than wind and barometric pressure. I have guided several people on hunts that look at me like I’m crazy when I stress how important wind is, and even more so when I mention barometric pressure. However, the proof is in the pudding as they say, because the studies speak for themselves.
Utilizing the Wind When Deer Hunting
A whitetail deers greatest defense mechanism is by and large its nose. A whitetail deer will always rely on its nose in order to stay alive, and the wind plays a huge role in that. A buck, especially a mature buck, will pay close attention to the wind direction, making sure to travel with the wind in his face (at least for the most part) and anything in the path of that wind, will surely be detected by the buck.
It’s important to always check the wind direction before hunting, and make sure to choose your treestand based on the current wind. Not only that, but while you’re in the stand, it's important to monitor the changing winds, either by using a wind detector, a piece of cotton, and my personal favorite, milkweed. Monitoring the wind on your specific property can help you set up a strategy for how you hunt. For example, if I find a primary scrape during the rut, and I am confident that a buck is going to be cruising and scent checking that spot, I will hang a stand about 20 yards downwind.
While playing the wind is an absolute crucial part of hunting, whitetails are extremely unpredictable and even if you plan out everything perfectly, they aren’t always going to stick to the script. Because of this, I like to be as cautious as possible with my scent control. Making sure to treat my clothes with scent killer, spraying down before I get into a stand and even while I’m in the stand, as well as utilizing the power of ozone.
Checking Barometric Pressure For Deer Hunting
When looking at conditions that affect whitetail deer movement, you’ll probably hear a lot about barometric pressure. If you look at all of the famous and well known deer hunters, the tend to put a very large emphasis on the importance of barometric pressure on deer activity. As a general rule, high barometric pressure equals high deer movement, at least according to avid hunters.
There was a 2010 study done by Mississippi State University, and the results found that there wasn’t enough evidence to support the direct correlation between barometric pressure and deer movement. However, when we take a look at what barometric pressure tells us, which is a measure of atmospheric pressure, a high barometer reading generally means there is high pressure, resulting in a clear day. Whereas a day with low pressure would indicate that the weather will be cloudy and rainy. Looking at this, we can typically predict severe weather fluctuations based on the pressure, which could have an impact on deer movement.
Wind, Pressure and Other Factors For Deer Hunting
While we know that weather factors have a huge impact on how deer move, I believe there are certain factors that play a more important role than others. For example, I think it’s a good idea to consider barometric pressure when hunting, although I think wind is a more important factor to look into. Luckily, there are several apps out there that will take all of these factors into consideration to determine the best days for hunting, so that you can ensure that you’re making all of your hunts count.