Do Deer Move in the Wind

deer hunting

do deer move in the wind

Hunting Deer In The Wind

A question I see every season when deer hunters hit the woods is do deer move in the wind. Much like the question in an article I recently posted. Whether deer move in the rain. This question has several answers as well. While there might be studies that show deer movement in the wind this account is one by a lifelong bow hunter and observations made over the years.

The answer to the question do deer move in the wind there are many answers really. Having hunted from Tennessee to Iowa and Missouri I have seen deer that move in the wind and those that don’t there are many situations that determine this and I hope to clear it up from a hunter’s perspective. The following topics will clear up some of your questions about wind and deer movement.

Deer Movement In The Wind By Location

I mentioned above the fact that I have hunted from Tennessee to Iowa and that is for the whitetail deer. I have also hunted Sitka Blacktail deer in Alaska where there is a lot of wind during the later half of the season. This article will focus on whitetail deer and windy conditions. This information also pertains to other species and this topic relating to location is probably the most important aspect of deer movement in the wind. Knowing how your deer react to windy conditions in your area can answer many questions about deer movement.

The one factor that affects deer movement in the wind that is constant and worth noting is where the deer live. It seems obvious maybe to people that hunt where the wind blows often. Places like Iowa and Kansas and other states are notorious for windy conditions especially during the deer season when the weather is constantly riddled with fronts that causes wind and often a lot of wind.

Deer that live in these windy areas of the USA will move almost normally throughout a windy day. They don’t have the luxury of waiting for a front to move through with anticipation that the following day will be less windy. They understand that it is likely to be windy for days and have learned, throughout eons, that they must carry on in the wind if they expect to survive.

As mentioned above locals to these states understand this as they too have learned that if they want to be a successful deer hunter they have to hunt in the wind. This topic comes into play if you plan to hunt any of these windy areas. Don’t be caught any time of the season holding up in your motel room or camper waiting for the wind to die down. It might not happen. Get in the woods to hunt deer when the wind is blowing because these deer will be active. Often these deer are oblivious to wind and will move normally throughout its range seemingly oblivious to tree limbs falling and trees creaking as they rub against each other in the wind. So having that out there I will explain now about when wind can affect deer movement.

When Wind Affects Deer Movement

When hunting an area where wind is not prevalent, like in the western states, there are windy conditions that can keep deer movement down. The reason that wind can keep deer from moving where the wind is not so constant is the fact that it distorts a deer’s senses. Wind can wreak havoc on a deer’s most vital senses that they are accustomed to using to escape danger. In states where the wind blows all the time deer have to move. They have possibly developed a few senses to help deal with the wind. But, even if they haven’t, they just don’t have a choice.

Deer that live in places where there is at least an even number of calm days to windy days then they have a chance to wait out a windy day or two because they know that the front will pass and they can move freely with all senses available to them. The senses affected by wind is sight, hearing and their nose. Here is how wind affects these deer senses.

Sight Affected By Deer Movement In The Wind

The thing that affects a deer’s sight during windy conditions. If you have ever watched a deer move through the woods on a windy day you’ll notice that they are nervous. Every squeak, tree-limb falling or leaf blowing crazily through the woods puts a deer on alert at least in areas where the wind is not constant.

In those western states that I have hunted I have watched deer move through the wood during windy conditions without a care in the world. This is not so in the South where deer have not had to get accustomed to windy days because they can wait it out.

Hearing Affected By Windy Conditions

Like the sight senses being affected by deer moving in the wind hearing is also affected. While the wind itself causes a tremendous sound throughout the woods, tree limbs and trees falling can keep a deer on alert. I have had several trees fall over near my treestand even when it wasn’t too windy. A giant treetop just broke off yesterday while I was hunting in the swamp near my home. The wind wasn’t even blowing that much but there was extra noises throughout the woods that’s for sure.

Another Deer Sense Affected By Wind Is It’s Nose

Obviously when the wind is howling there is potential that it will swirl. The lay of the land can cause wind currents to swirl in various directions causing deer to become nervous. Deer prefer a steady wind direction. This is why they prefer, especially bucks, to bed on ridges. They can use their eyes to cover one side while counting on their nose to detect danger from the other. If you do hunt in the wind and the deer don’t move there is an option. Still hunting ridge lines might be a good idea. Deer will bed up and out of the swirling winds that are prevalent in the low lands.

Deer Movement In The Wind During The Rut

Make no mistake. Deer will move in the wind during the rut no matter where you are hunting them. A buck might even like windy days during the rut. They always use the wind no matter how light to scent check known bedding areas in their range and beyond. Bucks seem to know that strong winds carry a doe in estrus scent a long ways. I have watched bucks cruising during high winds with their nose in the air. They are obviously searching for receptive does when the wind blows. Like I mention in any deer article pertaining to movement, the rut is a special time. The only advice I ever give for hunting during the rut is to be in the woods. As much as possible. No matter the weather. Deer will propagate no matter how windy it is.


Do deer move in the wind? My answer is always yes when it comes to deer movement. Deer will always surprise you but you have to be in the woods to see it. If you’re limited to when you’re able to hunt and you must pick the days then windy days would not be my first choice. However, as the article explains, certain times and locations deer don’t seem to be affected by wind. As usual my advice would always be to hunt when you can.

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About Ken McBroom 307 Articles
Ken McBroom is an accomplished outdoor writer and photographer. Growing up in Lynchburg Tennessee allowed him many opportunities afield as a boy and young man. Later in life, after Desert Storm, Ken’s wanderlust took him to Alaska to live and work and experience the last frontier. Married now with two beautiful children, Ken now calls Kentucky home where he continues to communicate our American outdoor traditions and the lifestyle it offers.

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