Mike Ukrainetz's Link
Now does any hunter really believe that weather, most of all, doesn’t have an effect on deer movement?! Or even moon phase? I can simply drive around at first light after a full moon night and see very few deer out in the fields and then do it after a dark moon night and the difference in deer numbers is drastic. Never mind a cold day compared to a warm day. Am I missing something here? Or are all these scientific studies flawed somehow?
Phil Magistro's Link
Phil Magistro's Link
This fall, as I was tied up at home with baby, I remember a number of times texting friends, like "Oh big storm coming tonight is the night" or right after a storm, and after checking in with a number of hunters it never really rang true. It was killing me to be at home during the season so I was working the phones like a madman to hear anything hunting. Just never happened. The night I shot my huge buck this year was a bluebird, beautiful October day. And he came out to feed way early. No reason whatsoever to do that. First deer out in the winter wheat. As much as I have believed it over the years because of what I've read it has never translated in the field for me.
As far as weather is concerned I tend to disagree with them. Generally, these studies show that deer move about the same regardless of temps. This may be true but I think you see more daytime movement when cold. They still might move as much when hot but it is more nocturnal.
I hunted whitetails for 32 days this year and the more I hunt the more I realize I still have a lot to learn.
I know from checking my trailcams that on certain days there will be a lot of deer activity. You can see that trend by the amount of activity on each cam on that day. For example, I just looked in my vid library and Oct 26 had a fair amount of buck movement across several cams. Take it for what it's worth....
In my area of KS/MO I agree with seeing less daytime movement this year, and I attributed it to a really unseasonably warm weather pattern we have been in. I guess I might be wrong.
In 2011 I sat in a ground blind over a 4 acre milo/bean plot as a predicted snowstorm started 2 hours before last shooting light. 40 deer piled in and ate all of the milo heads off over two nights. The food was readily available above the 8" of snow. Maybe weather doesn't affect patterns most of the time, but 30 years of bowhunting I think it does enough to have upped my odds at times.
I'm with you, I think those studies are a bunch of nonsense. When you actually live in deer country and observe their habits every day for years it becomes obvious how moon and weather conditions change their patterns.
Hunting time for me is limited due to work and family stuff and that's life. I just hunt whenever I can regardless of weather or moon phase, etc. I know one absolute truth; if I'm in the woods I have a chance, if I'm not in the woods I have zero chance.
I don’t need a study to tell me that!
For example, we recall the time we hunted before or after a storm and saw a ton of deer or shot a big buck, and our brain locks in "that condition is primo". It's possible no one in a 20 mile radius but you saw much action - you had a good day, theirs was not.
We remember the extremes and often not the averages... And the research is looking at averages, often.
That said, at some point one of those Penn State papers noted next to no difference in buck or doe movement in rain if it was drizzle/mist or a steady rain, but heavy rain lead to little movement at all. Similar with snow as I recall. I'm going on memory so I'm not recalling it precisely.
Point being, if you read a paper and the average is X, there were high's and lows that contributed to the average. When you are looking for a one off "exception" of an event (you in the same space as a wild animal you aim to shoot), maybe the averages aren't as meaningful as the exceptions.
It's interesting stuff. I'm sure not "skipping" a hunt because the moon says it will stink though, when you can go, you go...
Even scientists sometimes will focus on how their own research is flawed when it doesn't support their proposed model, rather than follow the findings.
Humans are human and flawed in their logic and conclusions. Research is imperfect, but when done well its a lot better than anecdotal evidence. When done poorly it's pretty worthless.
As said above- hunt when you can hunt. For those who claim to have it all figured out, you should also have them fill you in on when the fish will bite and what makes a woman tick too.
I live on a timber covered bluff that overlooks a grassland valley and a creek bottom. I don't need a GPS to track the deer movements in my neighborhood because I can literally watch them every day from my back porch. Here are some of the patterns I've observed:
The deer mostly feed in the lower grasslands, at night. As daylight approaches they move up closer to my bluff before bedding down. On days that aren't too windy, too cold, or too hot, they will often bed in deep cuts that spider down from my bluff. On cold, windy, or extremely hot days, they move further up into the timber around my house for cover and/or shade. On dark moon nights in the fall their morning movement is later, often bedding down around 8-9am On bright moon nights, they move earlier, and are often bedded by sun up or shortly after. During the nastiest snow storms, they usually won't leave the cover of my bluff until the storm subsides. Sometimes that can be a few days in which they vary from their usual patterns.
I can usually predict where my deer will be at almost any day depending on the above parameters. Of course, when the rut kicks in, those patterns often go out the window, especially buck movement. The does will usually go about their business as usual unless they are hot and being dogged around by a horny buck, or three.
These are Mule deer around my place, so perhaps whitetails are a bit different, but I doubt it. If anything, I think whitetails are more predictable than mulies, based on my experiences of hunting both species for years.
I don’t need a study to tell me that!
Experts don't know everything. They just found out that mule deer and antelope migrate in Wyoming and locals had known it for years.
Full moon... next morning they are all resting from the nite light being on all evening.
I may have mentioned before... a full moon on a Friday or Saturday evening is a bartender's worst nightmare. scentman
November 7th in SE Nebraska. Sunny and breezy with a high in the mid 70’s lows in the 50’s. The 7th is one of the best calendar days I have had over the years. I seen a buck that day but it was at last light.
The next morning lows were in the 40’s and the wind switched from SW to NNE The forecasted highs we’re going to be 10 degrees cooler which we’re still 5 degrees above the average. I seen 12 different bucks that morning alone and 13 for the day.
Same pinch point. Just 2 different stands for 2 different winds.
I agree with everyone. We hunt when we can hunt. But if I am on an out of state hunt I am looking for those handful of better weather days to get my opportunity and then it’s on me to make it happen.
I’ve never had a lot of luck with falling pressure. Temps haven’t been an issue either as long as it’s not so unseasonably warm it affects everything. I just have better hunts when the moon isn’t full or close to it and, high pressure moves in after a stint of low pressure. Not having one or both Will not keep me out of the woods. But, having both sure makes my woods time more eventful.
This is all based on experience, talking with other hunters and outfitters who live with the animals daily.
Seems as accurate as anything else, but it’d be pretty ridiculous to assume that Only One Thing is the One Thing that matters.
I will say that I have generally found it to be pretty near correct for fishing purposes, and it makes sense that that kind of a rhythm would persist throughout an evolutionary time scale…
So it makes sense to me, but maybe I am just allowing myself to indulge in a little confirmation bias.
JMO… Get out whenever you can; stay out for as long as you can; have as much fun out there as you possibly can… Because a day spent indoors working is a day in the field that you will never get back…
When I have a minute, I will go up and read those articles… It seems to me that putting GPS collars on otherwise undisturbed animals would provide a massive and (as nearly as possible) unbiased data set.
And with that said, I have hunted out here in the suburbs enough to notice that the animals seem to time their movements around things like the school bus schedule, our commute times, etc. They know our patterns better than we know theirs… That’s for sure!