Do Deer Move In The Wind? Deer-lightful Weather Facts You Must Know

Shirin Biswas
Feb 16, 2023 By Shirin Biswas
Originally Published on Feb 21, 2022
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Niyati Parab
Deer eat leaves

We know that deer do not always walk into the wind, but how significant are winds for them?

If you have been wondering about the perfect weather for hunting deer, we have some facts which you shouldn't skip out on knowing. Read below to learn more about deer movements!

Do deer move in the wind? This is a question that has been asked by many people, and there is no easy answer. The truth is, it depends on the situation.

Deer are known to be very skittish creatures, so they will often move when they hear or feel something that they don't recognize. However, if the wind is blowing in their favor, they may not feel the need to move at all. Let's explore the different factors that play into whether or not deer move in the wind!

How does wind affect deer movement?

Understanding deer movements forms a huge part of hunting. Wind speeds are important to the people who hunt since it affects the efficacy at a huge level. Understandably, these majestic animals like to move around in certain weather conditions. Studies show that if the wind speed is very low, deer tend to move less.

In rain and wind combined, deer can either be calm and stand still or move in a certain direction. Hunters place themselves very strategically in order to make sure that the buck does not sense that someone may be nearby.

When outdoors, it is important to control the scent of the deer hunters. Scent affects a deer's movements since whitetails are very smart when it comes to identifying threats. When a deer hunter does not take proper precautions in terms of masking their scents, deer move away anticipating danger.

The level to which wind movement affects deer movement is a factor that has been researched. While the research is hardly conclusive, we cannot deny the fact that winds do have some effect on the degree of movements that the animals show.

If you have been wanting to go for a hunt or simply like knowing about the way deer hunting works, there are many things to know about the deer hunting season and when it is at a peak.

There is no definitive answer to this question of whether or not high winds affect the way in which deer move, as it depends on the situation. However, deer are very skittish animals, and they will often move when they hear or feel something that they don't recognize.

If the wind is blowing in their favor, they may not feel the need to move at all.

In general, deer prefer to move when the wind is blowing in their faces - this helps to conceal their scent from predators. When the wind is blowing in the opposite direction, it can be difficult for them to move without being seen or heard.

Additionally, if it's a cold day and the wind is blowing, the deer will be less likely to move than if it's a warm day with no wind.

So, do deer move in the wind? It depends on the situation! For the most part, they prefer to move when the wind is blowing in their faces - but if it's a cold day, or the wind isn't blowing in their favor, they may not move at all.

For example, when the wind is blowing in their faces, deer can smell better and predators have a harder time sneaking upon them. However, if it’s cold and blustery outside, deer are less likely to move than if it’s warm and dry.

White tailed Deer fawn leaping in field

Best Wind Direction For Deer Hunting

Some hunters swear that in the process of deer hunting, the way in which they place themselves is key.

A large chunk of hunters would absolutely refuse to go hunting on a day without any wind. Although, research shows that while there may be some light wind days, there is no such thing as a zero wind day at all!

We cannot completely debase the experience of such hunters who have been practicing their sport for years.

In their opinion, high winds are just as bad for deer hunting as light air movements. This is because a deer is a very nasal creature.

According to some, these animals seem to refuse to move around when the winds are too high, and at the same time, whitetails also do not enjoy moving around when there is no wind around.

The simple reason behind this would be that through air movement, they can assess their surroundings better and understand when would be a good time to run away. On a moderately windy day, the animal would be able to smell a predator or a hunter much better.

This is why the hunting season is placed very strategically in states like Pennsylvania and Maryland.

In this way, the scent of humans or predators becomes available to them. Understandably, skittish animals like deer would refuse to step out and run around on a day when there are higher chances of them being unable to put their olfactory nerves to use, therefore putting them at a greater risk of being killed!

Moderate temperatures and wind speeds allow hunters to be able to spot a deer and hunt it efficiently.

However, this too requires a lot of precision in terms of placement.

When hunting for animals such as deer who have great smelling abilities, hunters not only need to take cover and conceal themselves from the sight of the animal that is to be hunted, but they need to make sure that their scent does not come in the way in which the animal would move.

This requires the hunter to be standing behind a tree or bush that is in the downwind direction of the deer itself.

Deer hunting in wind is not nearly as easy as it sounds, but with modern technology, many types of equipment have come into existence, which has allowed proper protection in hunting-related matters.

Hunters often also become so engrossed in their profession or hobby that they begin to learn about the movement of thermal air currents and how they impact wind speeds.

While it is undeniably easier to take a look at some weather reports to assess the hunting situations at a particular time, it is also convenient to be able to understand the thermal currents so that rain and wind can be understood properly.

Research also shows that deer movement increases when rain takes place.

Movements also depend on the gender of the deer itself. Male deer (bucks) tend to move more than does in general.

How much wind is a lot for deer hunting?

If you are looking for the perfect weather to hunt for a whitetail, the simple fact is that whitetails are probably going to smell you and run away anyway. Research shows that these animals are calm when the air pressure and movement are moderate, meaning that scents can reach them quicker and much more efficiently.

If you are planning to carry your bedding out into the open and spend a night in the woods in the hopes of hunting a deer, research shows that this might not be the greatest idea.

While spotting a whitetail in the dark, with its glistening eyes looking back at you, can undoubtedly be thrilling, we cannot help but notice the graphs.

Research based on some collared whitetails shows that both the male and female whitetail would prefer to move around on a windy day, instead of on a windy night. Furthermore, the thermal air currents are harder to read at night time, which may prevent you from always being downwind of the whitetail you fancy.

Some professional hunters can definitely pull off hunting at night time since the temperatures are moderate and the hassle of taking cover is reduced manifold.

At night, it is also easier to step near the whitetail due to the difficulty in vision caused by the darkness.

Deer movements are also great when there is some rain. Male deer tend to move around less than female whitetails when it has been raining a little.

A calm breeze would mean that the wind has been moving with a speed of around 1 mph (1.6 kph). Mild or moderate wind speeds would be around 1-15 mph (1.6-24.1 kph).

This is ideal if you want to catch a buck. On the other hand, when the air pressure is radically different on the different strata of the Earth's atmosphere, or there is a difference in pressure between the area where the whitetail lives and the surroundings, high winds will prevail.

High winds are essentially wind speeds in the range of 16-27 mph (25.7-43.4 kph).

On such windy days, a whitetail cannot be expected to be calm enough to hunt. In fact, at winds higher than this range, research from Penn State shows that the deer may not move at all, which is no good news for hunters!

What weather conditions do deer like?

There are several weather-related factors that influence whether or not you should be stepping outdoors with the hope of having a great hunt. Deer are very skittish, and hence, they choose the right winds and rains in order to be out and about.

Generally, a clear sky is the most promising day to hunt, with bright, clear, cold days the most productive

It is important that before you start your expedition for catching a buck, make sure to understand wind direction and speeds.

It is believed by a large chunk of the hunting community that deer movements come to a halt with high wind. The best time to hunt for deer is when the temperatures are moderate and the winds are calm as well.

It would also be great if you considered investing in some rain gear since these beautiful-eyed animals like to step out in the rain as well.

Research held by a student of Pennsylvania State University named Leah Giralico shows that the male deer loves to step out during times of high wind and rain.

The graph, in fact, shows an increase in deer movements as the amount of rain and wind increases. This is also great from the perspective of the hunter since they would need to be less wary of the noises that their shoes and clothes make.

Giralico also found that in the case of females, the graph showed that rain had no substantial effect on their movements

There are other factors at play if you want to become successful at hunting deer. The most important one would be that in addition to concealing yourself adequately in the midst of tree cover, you also do not have any scents that can reach the animal.

Experts suggest the use of anti-scent sprays and bathing with scent-free soap ahead of a hunt!

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You


See All

Written by Shirin Biswas

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

Shirin Biswas picture

Shirin BiswasBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

With a degree in English from Amity University, Noida, Shirin has won awards for oratory, acting, and creative writing. She has a wealth of experience as an English teacher, editor, and writer, having previously worked at Quizzy and Big Books Publishing. Her expertise lies in editing study guides for children and creating engaging content.

Read full bio >
Fact-checked by Niyati Parab

Bachelor of Commerce

Niyati Parab picture

Niyati ParabBachelor of Commerce

With a background in digital marketing, Niyati brings her expertise to ensure accuracy and authenticity in every piece of content. She has previously written articles for MuseumFacts, a history web magazine, while also handling its digital marketing. In addition to her marketing skills, Niyati is fluent in six languages and has a Commerce degree from Savitribai Phule Pune University. She has also been recognized for her public speaking abilities, holding the position of Vice President of Education at the Toastmasters Club of Pune, where she won several awards and represented the club in writing and speech contests at the area level.

Read full bio >