Obviously as hunters we choose properties to hunt we know are going to have a lot of movement. But sometimes knowing the movement of the deer isn’t the only animal we should be familiar with. I started noticing when the foxes started making movement around the woods, shortly after the deer would start making movement as well. At first, I thought it was coincidence the first few times I noticed it. But then after a while, I realized it wasn’t. I realized that even though they are two completely different animals. The way they live, feed, and move are relatively the same. I was intrigued. I started to study the foxes behavior as well because I wanted to learn more about their habits and how thing work in the woods I hunt. Familiarizing yourself with other animals will not only make you more aware of the movement in your woods, but it will keep you on your feet. As a hunter, there is nothing better then that.
Weather can sometimes have an impact on hunting. But you can’t shoot a deer from your couch. So even if the weather may not be in your favor, take it upon yourself to challenge it. Jason told me one day that the wind wasn’t good for the area I was hunting, low and behold a huge monster 10 pointer made an appearance. He didn’t detect me whatsoever. Knowing the movement of deer in certain weather conditions WILL help you in determining if it will be good hunting. But don’t ever underestimate the deer. They tend to move sometimes even in the weirdest of weather conditions. Deer greatly dislike wind because it hampers all of their senses. They can’t hear because of the wind. Detecting the movement of a stealthy predator is difficult because everything’s swaying about. And, brisk winds greatly scatter scent molecules, making it difficult for deer to determine where smells are coming from, and how close the producer of a specific scent might be. As a result, deer often try to find shelter from the wind. The smart bowhunter will know where deer go to escape the wind and have stand sites ready in these locations. Look for thick, brushy areas or tracts of land with dense tree cover. I especially like to hunt where natural terrain features block the wind. While deer don’t move around much when it’s blowing, they will meander around small, sheltered areas while they wait for the weather to change. Most deer bed down and wait rain showers out. Heavy rains can send deer into thick cover, but it’s not unusual to find deer bedding in areas with good visibility too. Deer will depend more upon their eyes to detect danger when their ability to hear and, to some extent, smell are limited. If it’s raining lightly, many expert hunters suggest that the best thing to do is stick to your treestand. Deer will still move in a light rain, especially if the rut is on. If it starts to rain harder, you might just as well head home… or at least that’s what I do. Deer don’t move much at all in downpours. Rain does offer some opportunities for experienced still-hunters. It’s certainly easy to sneak through the woods when it’s pouring. But you still have to beat a deer’s eyesight… and that’s never easy. Snow storms typically send deer into thick cover. Light snow, on the other hand, may not affect deer movement at all. Still-hunting on a snowy day isn’t as easy as when the wind is blowing, but it can be easier than when rain is falling. Falling snow flakes can hide your movement in the woods. Of course, still-hunting at this time only works if the snow on the ground isn’t the type that crunches or squeaks with every step you take. Heavy snowfalls are difficult to hunt in because visibility is greatly reduced. This may hide you from the deer, but it also hides the deer from you. Inclement weather places another burden on the bowhunter. Wind, rain and snow almost always mean that it’s going to be more difficult to make a perfect shot or follow up on a shot. Rain can quickly wash away even the best of blood trails. It can also cause arrows to fly erratically. It’s not easy to shoot accurately with your bow being blown all over the place, especially if you’re in a tree stand. Snow usually means colder weather and heavier clothing, both of which can make it harder to execute a good shot. I want to be as certain as possible of my shot placement when the weather is nasty.
Knowing deer movement in different weather conditions (good and bad) is always key. But knowing movement of other animals in the area will make for a great hunt.