Cheat the Wind to Kill More Public Land Bucks

Knowing the prevailing wind patterns, watching the forecast and learning how to hunt or maneuver in your area with different winds can make a difference in success or failure.

Playing the wind on public land is as important as it is on private land, but it’s easy for experienced hunters.

First, consider how deer themselves play the wind. They don’t walk into it. They travel perpendicular to it, which gives them full exposure to scents upwind. An unfavorable wind doesn’t necessarily take a promising spot out of a day’s picture. You can often cheat it by playing different angles.

If scouting and experience show that deer pass a certain spot traditionally from the west in the evening, for example, simply wait in a position from which a breeze carries your scent in a direction away from their usual approach point. It works as long as you can remain uphill from the approach point. If the wind forces you into facing uphill, you should probably hunt someplace else that day.

On the other hand, my experience shows that scent is largely a non-factor when hunting from the ground. I don’t use any kind of scent control, nor do I make particular effort to neutralize scent in my clothes. Quarters are so tight on the ground that by the time a deer smells a rat, so to speak, it’s already too late.