Even if you’ve got the most high-tech scent control and gear on the market, don’t forget how wind can affect your hunt.
Most hunters observe all the basics of staying inconspicuous in the woods, from wearing camouflage to using scent control. However, many often forget that scent control won’t do much good if you don’t take stock of the direction of the wind every single time you head out to hunt. Wind can impact your hunting potential in a lot of ways. Bow hunters learn from a young age to plan their shots based on the direction and force of the wind; rifle hunters often do the same, but to a lesser extent. However, wind has other consequences that some deer hunters often don’t consider – namely in regards to odors and how animals track scent through wind.
The fact that scent control is a widely-accepted hunting accessory tells us that most hunters understand that deer and other animals have exceptional acute senses of smell. With that in mind, the direction of the wind should be one of the first things any hunter considers after heading out the door; not because it will skew the direction of your bullet or arrow, but because it could be the difference between an animal that smells you coming from a mile away and one that stays woefully ignorant of your position until you have it in your sights. Even a slight wind can propel your scent toward the animal you are hunting—alerting it instantly to be on its guard. In other words, you should make sure you are standing downwind of the animal you are stalking, never the other way around.
Chances are that mature buck you are looking to bag has learned how to use the wind to his advantage; you will have to use it to yours as well if you are hoping to get anything close to a kill shot. Most mature deer move downwind, taking note of a scent as a means of protecting their backs while scanning back and forth for any predator that may be in front of them. If you are upwind of the deer, he or she will catch your scent even if you are using scent control. If you are downwind, the deer will not be able to smell you at all. Watching the weather forecast for the day will help you decide how to move or where to set up camp, while a device that measures wind speeds might not be a bad purchase. However, the most important thing is to train yourself to be sensitive to wind directions and shifts in currents. Being aware of the wind direction will in turn, impact nearly everything about your hunting routine, from how you approach the wooded area where you like to hunt, to which deer tracks you decide to follow.
Featured photo via Flickr