TIP 5: LET THE WEATHER BE YOUR GUIDE
Food-source abundance, hunting pressure, the influence of the rut, and the moon will all affect the action on opening day. Nothing, however, will impact the timing of when you’ll see that action more than the weather. Most of us are deer-season weather watchers, but you’d better pull your best Al Roker if you want to get it exactly right.
What to look out for: A whirling mass of cool, dry air that generally brings fair weather and light winds.
How to Hunt It: This is what everyone plans for—seasonable temperatures, little to no wind, sunny days, clear nights. When the forecast calls for a stationary high-pressure influence, park your butt on stand or in a blind and sit it out.
The Wildcard Tactic: If temperatures are subfreezing, hold off switching locations until after the sun has melted the morning’s frost.
What to Look out For: Wind speeds over 20 mph. Know that there’s much more to whitetail hunting as it relates to wind than simply trying to stay downwind of a buck. Essentially, there are two different key factors to heed: wind direction and speed.
How to Hunt It: The stronger the wind speed, the quicker the barometric pressure will rise, and the time to be out is after it subsides—especially if the wind changes from east to west.
The Wildcard Tactic: This can be prime time to still-hunt or plan a drive.
What to Look out For: The lilting sound of droplets hitting the roof of deer camp. Rain on opening morning means more to hunters than it does to the deer. Precipitation will do little to slow down deer movement.
How to Hunt It: Grab your raingear. Bucks can neither hear you nor smell you. It’s a great time to go for a serious still-hunt.
The Wildcard Tactic: Wait out a deluge in a covered blind or watch the radar back at camp. When the tailing edge is an hour away, hit the woods.
What to Look out For: Your local weather forecaster predicting a snowmageddon.
How to Hunt It: Whether it’s a heavy snowfall or just flurries, snow makes deer hunting easier. Unless there’s a raging wind, you’ll be able to see animals better and, as with rain, they won’t be able to hear or smell you as well. Sit in a stand if you prefer, but snow is made for tracking. The Wildcard Tactic: The two hours prior to and the two hours just after are the absolute best times to hunt a snowstorm.
What to Look out For: Daytime highs above 70 degrees.
How to Hunt It: Whether it’s opening day or the peak of the rut, you’d almost be better off rescheduling—but, of course, you can’t. Whatever you do, don’t miss first and last light.
The Wildcard Tactic: Post in a stand near a water hole.