How Much Is Too Much For Deer Hunting?

Alex Ortiz
By Alex Ortiz 17 Min Read
17 Min Read
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Hey there, friend! 🌬️ Ever wanted to go deer hunting but got stopped by the blowing wind? It can be a total bummer, right? Wind can be super fun, but when it’s deer hunting time, it might just mess up all our plans. Let’s dive into the wind’s big role in deer hunting and figure out together what’s too much wind.

So here’s the scoop: When wind speeds get more than 15 mph, it starts messing with how deer move. And if it gets really crazy, like over 30 mph? Well, deer might just call it a day and chill out, not moving around at all.

Ever tried hunting in the rain and wind? Talk about challenging! Deer move differently because of the wind, and if they catch even a tiny whiff of us humans, they’re outta there! Zoom! Gone to the next county before we know it. Even if deer are usually out and about, strong winds can make them change their usual routes. Super strong winds? They might disappear from their favorite spots, making hunting super tricky for us.

But hey, don’t fret! We live in an awesome age where we can find solutions to just about anything, including this. 🙌 Even when Mother Nature’s blowing like there’s no tomorrow, with some smart moves, you can still have a rocking hunting session and maybe even snag that trophy buck you’ve been dreaming of.

Curious about how? Well, by understanding how deer behave in the wind and using some cool wind detector apps, you can still have a blast. Plus, I’ve got some tips and tricks up my sleeve that have helped me and my buddies score big, even during a super windy season in Urban Louisville, Kentucky.

Do Deer Walk Into The Wind Or With The Wind?

You ever wonder if deer prefer strolling with the wind or against it? 🍃 Well, let’s bust some myths and spill the beans!

The Big Myth:

Many hunters think wind just stops deer in their tracks. Nope! Winds make deer change their path, and sometimes even totally change their travel habits. But here’s a fun fact: Deers usually move WITH the wind, not against it. Surprised?

What The Experts Say:

Penn State University did this super interesting study to dig deep into this wind and deer thing. They grouped wind speeds into three:

  1. Calm winds: 0 to 1 mph
  2. Moderate winds: 1 to 15 mph
  3. Strong winds: 16 to 27 mph

The cool part? They found out that wind speeds affected buck movement a lot but didn’t really bother the does. The mama deers, or does, prefer to stay cozy and cuddled up, especially if they’ve got little ones with them.

As for the bucks, things got interesting. 🦌 Here’s what they noticed:

  • When it was super calm (less than 1 mph), bucks took their time, moving about 100 ft every hour.
  • Add a little breeze (1 to 15 mph), and they picked up the pace to 115 ft/hr.
  • But when the winds got wild (16 to 27 mph)? They were like, “Let’s move it!” and sped up to a whopping 213 ft/hr.

Important Factors To Know When Hunting In Windy Weather

Ready to conquer the wind while hunting? Well, strap in because I’ve got some juicy tidbits from the Hunting Manual and personal experiences with my hunting buddies to share. Especially when that wind hits around 15 mph, here’s what you need to know:

1. Deer Moves and Grooves 🦌💨

  • When it’s windy: Deer like to switch things up when the wind’s more than 15 mph. Think of it as them playing hide and seek during the day. And since they’re night owls (err, deer?), they’re even more active when it’s dark.
  • Midnight movers: Deer step out around midnight or dawn, but here’s the twist – they might take a different path than usual.
  • Buck’s big change: Bucks stop relying on their sniffing power and play “I spy” more. They might wander into unfamiliar areas, making it tricky to hide from those who want to hunt them down.
  • Pro Tip for hunters: Equip yourself with cool tools like rifle-mounted rangefinders and some camo. Remember, as wind speeds change, deer change their travel time. So, adapt and be prepared!

2. The Super Sniffer: Deer’s Sense of Smell 🦌👃

  • Sniffing superpower: Deer have a nose like a bloodhound. They can catch your scent from miles away!
  • Wind interference: Strong winds mix all sorts of smells. This confuses deer, making it hard for them to tell where each smell is coming from. Advantage: Hunter!

3. Deer’s Cozy Corner: Bedding Habits 🛌🌳

  • Wind-ruffled rest: When winds get more than 15 mph, bucks feel like their safety bubble’s been popped because their sniffing gets disrupted.
  • Seeking shelter: In windy times, deer like spots where the wind hits their back. This way, they know where smells are coming from. They also love thick, green places, like heavy bushes, to hide from strong winds and possible threats.

4. Shots in the Wind: Bullet and Arrow Paths 🌬️🔫🏹

  • Wind’s twisty turn: Picture this: You’ve got everything ready, you’re about to take the shot, and…missed! All because of the sneaky wind.
  • Close and personal: The nearer you are to the deer, the less the wind will push your bullet around. Even from close up, a wind can sway your shot a bit, so adjust your aim.
  • Bow hunters, listen up: Stay close to your target to reduce wind interference on your arrow. And a bow hunting rangefinder? It’s a game-changer. With it, you can measure distances accurately without harming the deer. Also, using a bow with a heavy draw weight is a good move. Why? A fast-moving arrow isn’t easily pushed around by the wind.

Understanding Wind Thermals 

Ever noticed that hunting in windy conditions feels a bit like playing chess? Every move counts. Let’s dive deep into understanding wind dynamics to boost your hunting game.

1. The Whirl and Twirl of Wind Thermals

Let’s chat about wind thermals. They’re pretty much invisible elevators for the wind. Instead of just blowing side to side, wind rises and falls, creating what’s known as a thermal column.

Here’s why thermals matter:

  • Swirling surprises: These thermals can mess with your hunt. How? When the wind swirls, it carries your human-y smell right to the deer, and off they go!
  • Timing is everything: Thermals rise during the day and drop as it gets darker. Your best bet? Hunt early in the morning. Why? Because thermals won’t be in full force, meaning your scent stays grounded. But when it gets warmer, your scent lifts off with the thermals.

2. Which Way is the Wind Blowing?

Knowing the wind’s direction is as crucial as having the right gear. It helps you keep your human scent away from those sneaky bucks.

A. Techy Tools: Wind Direction Apps

📱 For our Android buddies:

  • ScoutLook Hunting App: A treasure chest with tools for logging deer games, measuring areas, getting GPS property lines, and pinpointing global weather forecasts.
  • HuntWise App: This one offers land boundaries, a whopping 250+ map layers, 3D mapping, and even offline maps!

📱 For the Apple enthusiasts:

  • Wind Direction for Deer Hunting App: Offers wind speed, a GPS overlay for wind direction, a satellite view of terrains, and can save up to 10 hunting spots.
  • Wind Compass App: Measures wind speed, temperature, gives you a compass magnetic declination, and an arrow showing wind direction.

B. Trusty Traditional Tools:

  • Wind Detector Hunting Tool: Imagine a little plastic bottle filled with powder. Give it a squeeze, and the direction the powder drifts tells you about the wind. Kinda like nature’s perfume spritz.
  • Smoke Bombs: Not just for cool entrances! Light one up, and the smoke tells you where the wind’s heading.
  • Nature’s Guide: Milkweeds and Dandelions: These lightweight seeds dance even in a gentle breeze. Watch them to get clues about the wind’s direction.

How To Take The Best Advantage of Strong Winds During Deer Hunting?

Did you know that those roaring winds could be your secret weapon for deer hunting? Let’s discover how to harness the power of strong winds to your advantage.

1. Ditch the Trees, Embrace the Ground!

First things first: it might be time to say goodbye to those tree stands. Why? Because in wild winds, they’re a bit like shaky ladders – not super stable. Plus, imagine you’re up there, rocking back and forth. Not only does it feel like a wild roller coaster, but any deer nearby will definitely notice that tree dancing with you on top!

2. Mastering the Art of Stealth: Be Scent-Smart

Remember, deer have noses that make them the detectives of the animal kingdom. 🦌🔍 So even with strong winds, keep your scent game on point. Here’s how:

  • Windproof Wardrobe: There are special hunting clothes designed to block wind. Think of them as your superhero capes!
  • Smell Swaps: Use scent-reduction sprays and products. These are like camouflage for your smell.
  • Rubber Boots Rock: When you wear them, you leave less of a scent trail. It’s like walking on air!

3. Find Those Quiet Corners

Deers are like us when it comes to wind: they look for comfy, calm spots. So, on windy days, focus on:

  • Natural Windbreaks: Think swamps, dense bushes, or the side of a hill or tree that’s shielded from the wind.
  • Deer Safe Havens: Any spot that offers a mix of shelter from the wind and safety is a potential deer hangout.

4. Deer Tricks: Attract or Distract

Lure those deer to you! How?

  • Dinner Bell: Set up a food source plot. It’s like ringing a dinner bell for the deer.
  • Scents and Scrapes: These can act like deer magnets. And with the wind, they can carry the scent even further!

5. Night Owls Spot More Deer

After battling the winds all day, deer usually get super hungry. So, they head out for late-night snacks. Make sure to:

  • Watch the Feeding Zones: Especially near those calm, sheltered areas you identified earlier. As the sun sets, you might just find a buck or two looking for a bite.

Wind And Turkey Hunting

  1. Listen Up! A turkey’s gobble can be music to a hunter’s ears. But when wind intervenes, that music can become a distant whisper. Always prioritize getting close to where you suspect turkeys might be, so even if their gobbles are softer due to the wind, you’ll still have a chance to hear them.
  2. Visual Vigilance: On windy days, turkeys might rely more on their sight due to the noise interference. This means you’ll need to be extra stealthy and well-camouflaged.
  3. Seek the Shelters: Turkeys gravitate towards places that shield them from the wind, like dense woods or brushy areas. So, you should too!
  4. Call Them Close: While turkeys might be on edge, they’re still curious creatures. Employ a series of louder, aggressive calls to cut through the wind and pique their interest.

Wind And Duck Hunting

  1. Perfect Timing: Calm or slightly breezy conditions are generally ideal for duck hunting. Yet, strong winds can make this task challenging. Always be aware of the forecast before setting out.
  2. Migration Movements: Wind can significantly alter duck movement patterns. On gusty days, they’ll often seek out protected areas, so look for them in marshes, sheltered ponds, and leeward shores.
  3. Boat Safety: Always prioritize safety, especially when hunting in boats on windy days. If the water looks too rough or the winds are too strong, it might be best to hunt from the shoreline or postpone your hunt.
  4. Decoy Dynamics: On windy days, ducks might be more cautious and choosy about where they land. Ensure your decoys are set up realistically and in areas that offer some protection from the wind.
  5. Sound Strategy: The sound of your duck call can be easily carried away by strong winds. When calling in windy conditions, you might need to call louder and more frequently. Also, consider using calls with higher pitches that can cut through the wind better.


In the world of hunting, adaptability is key. Wind, like any other natural factor, is just another element that challenges and tests the skill and patience of a hunter. While strong winds can initially seem like a disadvantage, they offer unique opportunities if approached correctly. A hunter’s deep understanding of their quarry, combined with a knowledge of how wind affects animal behavior, can lead to an exciting and fruitful hunting experience.

From deer seeking sheltered areas to bucks becoming more reliant on their sight rather than scent, wind influences every facet of the hunt. Similarly, a hunter’s approach should also shift in response. Utilizing the right equipment, understanding wind patterns, and being patient can turn a windy day from a challenge to an advantage.

In essence, while strong winds may alter the behavior of deer and pose new challenges to hunters, they also present new opportunities for those willing to adapt and learn. With preparation and knowledge, one can harness the power of the wind and use it as a tool, rather than a hindrance, in the pursuit of the majestic deer.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much wind is too much for deer hunting?

It is generally recommended to avoid hunting deer in windy conditions exceeding 20 miles per hour. Strong winds can affect deer behavior, making them more alert and cautious. Additionally, gusty winds can impair your ability to accurately judge distance and make precise shots.

2. What are the signs that wind is affecting deer movement?

If you notice deer exhibiting skittish behavior, constantly looking in the direction of the wind, or frequently changing their paths, it is likely that wind is impacting their movement. Deer might also seek cover or avoid open areas to minimize exposure to strong winds.

3. Can wind influence scent detection by deer?

Yes, wind plays a significant role in how well deer can detect human scent. Strong winds can disperse your scent quickly and in unpredictable directions, making it harder for deer to pinpoint your location. However, keep in mind that deer have a powerful sense of smell, so it is always important to take precautions and use scent-control techniques.

4. Are there any advantages to hunting in windy conditions?

While hunting in strong winds can be challenging, it also offers certain advantages. Wind can help mask the noise you make while moving and provide better cover for stalking. It can also make it easier to approach deer because the sound of falling leaves or rustling branches can mask your footsteps.

5. How can I determine wind speed while hunting?

You can use various methods to estimate wind speed in the field. These include observing the movement of leaves, grass, or smoke, using an anemometer, or utilizing smartphone apps designed to measure wind speed. Being aware of the wind speed can help you make informed decisions about your hunting strategy.

6. Should I completely avoid hunting on windy days?

While hunting in excessively windy conditions is generally discouraged, it doesn't mean you should entirely avoid hunting on windy days. Moderate winds can still permit successful hunting, provided you adapt your tactics accordingly. Pay attention to deer behavior and adjust your approach to minimize the impact of wind on your hunt.

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