Deer Drives: Go With or Against the Wind for Success?

Bucks may hold tight and burst forth at the last second or slip away at the first sound of drivers pushing through brush and woods.

When it comes to the wind and how it relates to planning a push, a wide variety of opinions are pontificated from bar stools and deer camp easy chairs every year. Do I push with the wind at my back or in my face? Should posters be upwind (where deer like to go but also can smell you) or downwind (where deer are less likely to go but can’t smell a waiting hunter)?

I keep things simple. On rare autumn days when wind is nonexistent, you can ignore the concern altogether. When the breeze is at gale force, it’s pretty much a non-factor, too, because deer can’t use it anyway. It’s those fickle, erratic winds in the middle that get perplexing.

At these times, whitetails often escape by heading into the wind, where they can smell upwind danger. Place a poster downwind and to the side of a crossing. However, I have seen many bucks (they seem to do it more than does) run with the wind, using their eyes to look for danger ahead and their nose to keep track of pursuers behind.

I usually push into the wind, especially if I think I might get a shot. On the other hand, pushing with the wind spreads your scent ahead of you and moves deer toward posters. Pushing cross-wind is always an acceptable compromise.

As you can see, I don’t worry to death about the wind factor when hunting with rifle, slug gun or muzzleloader. The firearms’ range erases many of the mistakes that might be made. And while it is good strategy to consider the wind when planning a push, whitetails often don’t follow the rules anyway.