You Can Take Large Whitetails by Hunting in the Snow and the Rain
You’ll find the very-best times to hunt in rainy weather conditions are just before the rain, during the first 30 minutes of rain, 30 minutes before the rain stops and within the first 2 hours after the rain. More than likely you will get wet hunting during these times. Therefore, purchase the best, most-comfortable, most-quiet rainsuit you can buy like mine made by Cabela’s. Remember, don’t try to dodge lightning. If you see lightning in the sky, get out of the tree stand and the woods. When in a tree stand, you can become a lightning rod. Also, when you walk around in the woods with a gun on your shoulder, you may become a target for a lightning bolt. Although I hunt in the rain, I never hunt when lightning accompanies rain. I use three different tactics when I know I’ll encounter rain on a hunting trip. I’ll…
- go anyway. If the TV weather monitor shows a line of thunderstorms moving into the area I want to hunt, I’ll still go into the woods to hunt, even though I realize I will get wet. I know during the rut the bucks will move the most right after a rain. To attract does and other bucks, the scrape must have fresh and readable information. Rain washes away the information bucks and does leave in a scrape, just like an eraser wipes information off a blackboard. For that scrape to be a signpost, the deer have to put the information back on and around the scrape as soon as the rain slacks off or ceases. If you’re in your stand when the rain stops, you’ll have a greater chance of seeing and taking a buck than if you go to the stand after the rainstorm passes. If you wait until the rain stops to move to your stand, you most likely will spook the buck you want to take. But if you go to your stand before or during a rainstorm, you will often have the opportunity to bag nice-sized buck when the rain slackens or eventually quits.
- stalk during the rain. A deer’s ability to see, hear and smell lessens to some degree during a rainstorm. Therefore, you can stalk on the edges of bedding areas with a much smaller chance of detection. If you hunt just before the rain begins, you will frequently see the bucks going to their bedding site. If you hunt just as the rain slacks off or stops, you may spot bucks coming away from their bedding region.
- hunt food sources. A hungry deer will eat regardless of the weather. I’ve taken stands in driving rainstorms before and seen bucks appear on green fields for absolutely no reason at all except that they’re hungry. I’ve sat in an acorn flat near a white oak tree while rain poured down and watched bucks come to feed. Although bucks don’t seem to like feeding in heavy rain, occasionally they will.
Hunting in snowy weather:
Snow affects deer differently in various areas of the country. In Alabama where I live, the deer bed-down when snow falls. If the snow remains on the ground for a day or two, and the deer move in it, they may come out on a green field with snow on it, take two steps out in the opening, turn around and then run back into the woods. I’ve seen other deer come to the edge of a field and run across it like the hounds of hell were chasing them.
Deer in the snow get spooked easily. They don’t know what to make of the white stuff, and they generally don’t like it. Often when they do move, they move only at night. The farther north you go, you’ll find the deer less affected by the snow. When I hunted on Anticosti Island in Canada, we had a whiteout, where snow came down so heavily we could see nothing in front of us. Luckily, the guide knew of a little outpost cabin where we found refuge from the storm. As soon as the storm stopped dumping snow on us, we immediately went back to hunting. In less than 30 minutes, we found fresh buck tracks in the snow. Fifteen minutes after beginning to trail the buck, I took a nice-sized 8 point. Fresh snow in the Deep South, I’ve found, makes deer hunting extremely difficult. Fresh snow in the North, where deer are accustomed to the snow, often results in ideal hunting conditions. Tracking deer in the snow is one of my favorite ways to hunt. In the North and the South, hunting just ahead of a snowstorm can produce results. In the North, hunting immediately after a snowstorm can and will pay buck dividends. But when hunting in the South, I really believe that after the first hour of new snow, you’ll do better to spend your time at the cabin.