I'll admit it. I have never once in my life been hunting. I have no personal instances where I have discovered which weather conditions are ideal for hunting whitetail deer.
With that being said, I also just spent five hours researching articles, thesis papers, and browsing climatological data all directly relaying information about weather and deer. So, let's get into it... What weather conditions should you look out for this deer season?
There are five weather conditions that impact deer movement for hunting days: temperature, pressure, precipitation, winds, and cloud cover. All have the power in aiding or negating deer movement. The more movement the better...
Barometric pressure impacts deer movement the most. Higher pressure equals increased deer movement. Jumps in pressure are also really good.
Based on a hunter's experience, many believe cooler temperatures are better. This is correct to a point. Studies have shown that temperatures near average are ideal. Which makes complete sense if you think about it. Obviously, PA deer can probably handle roaming around in slightly warmer temperatures than deer in Maine. This is relative to the state you live in. In general, afternoon highs need to be less than 60 degrees with overnight lows in the 40's or near there.
Precipitation is not only unpleasant to sit around in, but deer are also less likely to move around. There are some exceptions to this rule. A constant light to moderate rainfall makes it hard for scents to travel. Deer won't smell you, and they tend to keep moving in light rain (not downpours though).
Sustained winds above 8 mph or more have proved to be bad for hunting. On the flip side of that, lower winds mean deer can smell you from further away. With winds picking up, too many scents are traveling at one time. Wind gusts can be as high as 10-30 mph for good hunting conditions.
Cloud cover is unideal as well. Most hunters recommend "cold and clear" conditions.
Now with all that being said, let's also talk storms, which can also be extremely beneficial...
Just before and just after a cold front moves through creates a lot of movement. Although cold fronts have precipitation and clouds ahead of them, it is still changing pressure and bringing cooler temperatures. A pretty ideal time to hunt is right after a cold front moves through. Not only will the sky begin to clear up, but pressure quickly rises. This creates a TON of movement. Psst.. cold front essentially means storms.
On an unrelated note, deer tend to sleep from noon to 4 pm and are highly active at dusk. Everyone pretty much knows that in deer country because we have all hit one with our vehicle before.
There you have it! Weather and whitetail deer...
Meteorologist Jordyn Jenna