Deer hunters! The weather you need to bag that big buck this year

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) — Not only is it that time of year for pumpkin spice lattes and turkey dinners, but more importantly, its buck season!

Archery season has been in full swing since October 1st and rifle season kicks off this coming weekend, but your chances of filling your hunting tags and bagging that elusive big buck are going to weigh just as heavily on the weather as they will on your aim!

For starters, temperatures and temperature changes can greatly affect deer movement. During the day, when temperatures are warmer, deer will often halt their movement and bed down for the day. In contrast, cooler temperatures will sometimes allow for more movement. Deer are generally most active around dawn and dusk, which makes sense. For example, as the sun sets at dusk and temperatures begin to decrease, deer will become more active and begin to feed, creating a very narrow window before dark to take your shot.

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A large drop in temperatures of 10-20 degrees F can also greatly increase deer activity.

This will often occur during a frontal passage or as a storm system comes through. However, cold fronts and storm systems can have a lot of different effects on deer movement depending on the weather variable you’re looking at!

Winds will often accompany frontal passages. Gusty conditions may prompt animals to move more, especially if they’re not used to the wind! Deer across the southern plains are more acclimated to windy conditions compared to their eastern counterparts along the Atlantic coast or in New England.

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Wind direction is also hugely important…as many seasoned hunters will likely already know! Hunters always want to try to be downwind of the deer they’re hunting, because sitting upwind will likely spook the animal if they are able to get a good ole whiff of you!

Changes in barometric pressure as a storm system comes through will also impact deer movement. As the pressure drops prior to the storm, deer will often hunker down, however as the pressure begins to rise afterwards, deer will be on the move again.

And of course…precipitation, which can often make a hunter miserable out in the woods (if they don’t happen to have an enclosed hunting blind or hut), but light rain or snow can also potentially make for some great hunting!

During light rain or snow with light winds, deer will likely still feed and can sometimes become less nervous and more unpredictable. This is beneficial for hunters because scents and sounds are dampened down and don’t travel nearly as far as they would in dry weather. Especially for archery hunters, this can create a nice advantage, because the wind direction won’t matter nearly as much and allows hunters to become a bit ‘stealthier’ in the tree stand.

If it’s raining or snowing too hard though, and the winds are gusting quite strongly, you might as well just kiss your hunting chances good-bye! This isn’t fool-proof, but heavy precipitation & high winds often make it too hard for deer to distinguish predators, especially in an open field, which will cause many to simply bed down until the ugly weather clears. Plus, most hunters don’t want to get soaking wet in the rain and chilled to the bone anyways!

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So it should be clear by now that no matter what the weather may be, you can’t just grab your rifle or bow and head out to hunt without checking your weather forecast first!

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>