U.S. Winter Outlook: Winter Hunting Forecast


Forecasters at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center issued the U.S. Winter Outlook in a press release, and it looks like La Nina is expected to play a bigger role in our winter hunting conditions this year.

La Nina favors drier, warmer winters for the southern U.S. and wetter, cooler conditions in the northern U.S. So if you’re hunting in the Great Lakes region, you might want to invest in some winter rain gear.

“This climate outlook provides the most likely outcome for the upcoming winter season, but it also provides the public with a good reminder that winter is just up ahead and it’s a good time to prepare for typical winter hazards, such as extreme cold and snowstorms,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “Regardless of the outlook, there is always some chance for extreme winter weather, so prepare now for what might come later this winter.”

Cooler weather is usually favorable for deer hunting, so hopefully we have a fruitful gun season if it’s going to be colder than normal. Nothing warms you up like cooking a meal that you harvested yourself.

The 2016 U.S. Winter Outlook (December through February):


  • Wetter than normal conditions are most likely in the northern Rockies, around the Great Lakes, in Hawaii and in western Alaska
  • Drier than normal conditions are most likely across the entire southern U.S. and southern Alaska.


NOAA Precipitation U.S. Winter Outlook
Image courtesy NOAA


  • Warmer than normal conditions are most likely across the southern U.S., extending northward through the central Rockies, in Hawaii, in western and northern Alaska and in northern New England.
  • Cooler conditions are most likely across the northern tier from Montana to western Michigan.
  • The rest of the country falls into the “equal chance” category, meaning that there is not a strong enough climate signal in these areas to shift the odds, so they have an equal chance for above-, near-, or below-normal temperatures and/or precipitation.
NOAA Temperature Winter Outlook
Image courtesy NOAA
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