How Weather Affects Whitetail Deer in the South
Weather greatly affects activity levels for all game, including whitetails. It’s no surprise that constantly changing weather conditions in the South require deer hunters to study a variety of patterns on the dime. Sunny, calm, warm skies can give way to cold wind and rain by the afternoon, so understanding the basics and behavior of whitetail deer based on weather can be a valuable tool in your arsenal.
Basic Weather Patterns in the South
While weather forecasts are never 100% accurate, there are specific patterns that deer hunters in Alabama can use to their advantage. Weather in the South typically moves from east to west, and cold fronts generally move in from the northwest. Before the cold front arrives, wind will generally come from south or southwest. After the cold front moves through, air temperatures and rain will decrease and winds will begin to change direction again.
Wide, wild temperature swings often halt daytime deer activity. That’s especially true during extreme heat, making this already nocturnal species even more of a night owl. Even in high temperatures, deer tend to follow an evening feeding pattern, but activity is increased when temperatures dip below average.
Weather extremes can spur whitetail movements before and after each event, especially intense rain or snowfalls. Blizzards, heavy rains, high winds, and other weather extremes also hinder deer activity. Deer often feed heavily just before snow storm systems move in and then again after they break, so such conditions force whitetails to seek cover, making the hunt more difficult. Strong winds in the north are much different than 30-40 mph winds in the Southeast.
As a general rule of thumb, the second day after the cold front passage in the Southeast will be the coldest morning. The winds will decrease, and the sky will clear. Cold, frosty mornings are arguably the best time to be in a deer stand. Cold winds, rising barometer, and cold temperatures will have deer on their feet. This isn’t the same for deer hunting in the North. It’s typically uncommon to see such deer activity during a freeze. In the South, hunting during a cold front brings consistent success, especially during September and October.
Barometric or atmospheric pressure is a measurement of air pressure being applied to Earth’s surface. Low pressure generally produces clouds and precipitation, while high pressure means nice weather and clear skies. The influx of hot and cold winds alter atmospheric pressure creating a falling and rising of temperature, and this is when deer will be moving. During higher pressure, deer activity increases, especially when the barometer is rising and passing 30.
Deer Hunting Tips | Big Buck Bounty | Mississippi and Alabama
Whether you’re hunting deer for the first time or have several seasons under your belt, you’ll enjoy more success if you understand how weather affects deer activity. Use this to get started or to adapt new insights into your hunt. No hunting system is perfect, but with more accuracy, you can match barometric readings to deer activity and gain consistent results. Read more deer hunting tips and learn how to participate in the 2022 Big Buck Bounty here.