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Play the Wind: How the Breeze Affects Deer Hunting in Less-Than-Obvious Ways [PICS]

Rob Zabroky

In deer hunting, the wind can be your friend or enemy, but not all winds are the same. Each has subtle differences that offer unique opportunities to exploit.

Let’s look at some scenarios that challenge conventional thinking when it comes to playing the wind.

Getting Parallel

What happens when that bruiser buck always come down the trail with his nose into the wind and you can’t get a stand set up behind him?

Set your stand up as far off the trail as you feel comfortable shooting then wait for a consistent wind that parallels his trail. The big boys get big because they don’t take chances traveling nose-blind.

He’ll feel confident that he knows what’s up ahead, but if you set it up right, he’ll never detect your scent profile drifting by on his left or right.

Getting High


It’s possible to set your stand on the upwind side of deer, yet it is better to be so high up in the tree that your scent passes over their heads. In this case, being closer to the deer plays in your favor.

Think of it like a scent-free cone around your tree. If the deer get too far away and the wind isn’t strong enough, you’ll see whitetails and hear deer blowing as your scent falls to the ground near them.

Playing Thermals

No doubt you’ve seen turkey vultures effortless wheeling in the afternoon sky, riding the lift from thermals. Thermals are columns of rising warm air typically caused by a warm section on the earth’s surface.

Given enough energy from the sun baking down a piece of ground, like a glade, you might be able to set up on the upwind side of land that’s sending up a thermal and have your scent lifted up into the air over the wary nose of a whitetail.

Consider Topography


The weatherman and your smartphone app may be telling you the wind is coming from a particular direction, but they’re not accounting for the topography of your hunting location.

A prevailing wind can be redirected and channeled up a valley or even deflected off its course by a rocky outcropping or thick stand of trees. They say all politics are local; well, that counts double for wind direction. You have to know what’s happening on your land to make the best decision on how to set up for the wind.

Some of these ideas may be new to you. Hopefully they’re also new to the deer on your hunting ground this fall and they never smell you coming!

 Photos by Tim Kjellesvik

NEXT: Watch a GoPro-Filmed Clip of a Tough Running Shot on a Buck [VIDEO]

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Play the Wind: How the Breeze Affects Deer Hunting in Less-Than-Obvious Ways [PICS]