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How to Hunt the Wind

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Sometimes you can fool four senses of a big-game animal, yet you’ll rarely beat its sense of smell. With elk, the mantra is: They’ll hear you three times, see you twice, but smell you once, before spooking. That’s an oversimplification, of course, yet elk are large, noisy animals that typically live in herds where movement may be caused by another wapiti. Maximizing their sense of smell, they often bed in places where winds swirl, allowing them to scent-check 360 degrees. Whitetails have incredible noses — so powerful that many deer may scent your presence and change direction long before you see them. Even the scent of your footsteps may send them reeling. Will Brantley proposes several strategies for beating the wind in this video-enhanced Realtree post.

6_2[1]You can’t ignore the wind. Period. You can often get away with a little noise. A deer might even stick around if it catches you moving. But if it smells you, the game is over, every time. Learning to hunt the wind is among the most fundamental skills for a deer hunter to learn.  This video, from the staff at Whitetail Properties, will help you. These guys know their stuff when it comes to killing big deer, so take a few minutes and listen to what they have to say. And afterward, remember these three things: Plan your hunting wind. Check and re-check the forecast wind direction for the day you’re planning to hunt. When you’re on stand, your wind cannot be blowing toward where you expect deer to come from, nor can it be blowing toward where they’re going. This can seem problematic when you’re set up between a feeding and bedding area, but keep in mind, the wind doesn’t have to be in your face to be favorable. A stout crosswind blowing your scent into a “dead area” near your stand is often best.

Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.