Keefer Kill Factors | Cold Weather Hunting Whitetails
Cold weather, it is the primer that can often bring Mother Nature to life. It doesn’t matter what animal you are chasing, changes in barometric pressure accompanied with sharp drops in temperature begin to trigger movement and behaviors in wildlife species that can often play to the hunter’s advantage. Putting the wildlife aspect aside, most hunters would tell you that when the mercury falls, you get that feeling something is about to happen. From the day before the cold front arrives to the days directly following, those few days can create some of the best opportunities the whole year.
When it comes to whitetail hunting, especially during the rut, cold fronts can be something that a hunter can live and die by. Weather is one of the most critical factors when it comes to putting a big mature whitetail on the ground, and if you can understand and predict what the deer will be doing based upon the forecast then you are certainly taking the first step in setting yourself up for success.
The Kill Factor – Cold Weather
Out all of the factors that we have termed “the kill factors”, the weather is certainly the wild card. In the world of whitetail hunting, a deer hunter can control almost every other factor that leads to a successful hunt, with the exception of weather. Weather is the ultimate driver in nature, will often cause deer to change their behavior based on whether you are experiencing a warm front or a cold front. Certainly, both will cause a whitetail deer to react, just typically in different ways. This places the responsibility back on the hunter to utilize their Reconyx and every other tool that they have available to them to build what we refer to as “historical knowledge” as it pertains to the deer activity on the properties you hunt. In other words, using Intel compiled over the course of many years to understand how cold weather affects the movement and patterns of the deer on the farms you hunt, in order to put yourself in a great position to put a Bloodsport behind the shoulder of a mature buck.
Rival Wild | Season 3 Episode 10: Chris’s Kill Factors
Deer Behavior and Cold Weather
Successful whitetail hunting is really all about persistence and staying ahead of the game. You have to dialed into the tendencies and “personality” of your hit-list bucks you are chasing. The best way to accomplish this is to simply spend as much time as you can scout, running trail cameras and learning all you can about the ins and outs of the property you are hunting. There is no such thing as too much Intel, all of which will help you make informed decisions about when and where you hunt especially during a cold front.
So, how does cold weather hunting scenarios result in as far as deer behavior? Well, the answer may not be as simple as you might think. It really depends on the time of year, and what is currently going on in the world of the whitetail. Currently, the rut is in full swing across much of the Country. Bucks are on their feet and are actively looking for hot does. As they locate a doe in heat, they tend to become “locked down” and can be very hard to locate and hunt. It has also been unseasonably warm for most of the fall, across much of the Country, but according to the National Weather Service, that looks like it is about to change for the first time this fall. The strongest cold front of the year is beginning to make its way down from Canada and across the Midwest. Temperatures are predicted to plummet, and you can bet this change in pressure and temperature will have the deer up and moving.
Cold fronts come in many different shapes and sizes, and can often lead to varying degrees of movement in the whitetail world. When a strong front like the one that is predicted to occur takes place, whitetail deer cannot help but to move, meaning the cold weather hunting directly after the hunt could be successful. Cold fronts trigger movement in whitetail deer for many reasons, primarily it is to actively seek out food and cover. With the rut currently underway, this strong cold front could have those mature bucks that are currently locked down, up on their feet and may provide a hunter with an excellent opportunity to catch a big on one the move, providing you the opportunity to bring the PSE to full draw!
Cold weather hunting is all about maximizing your opportunities. This is often why deer hunters, more so than any other group of hunters go out of their way to outfit themselves with the best gear and equipment. From the ScentLok and Realtree camo the wear down to the Buck knives they carry, whitetail hunters know that when it comes to harvesting a mature buck, you usually only get one chance. The same can be said of the weather, and cold fronts. They are few and far between, but when they occur you need to be ready to take advantage. Keep your eye on the weather this fall, and when the weather man tells you to bundle up, you better find your way to a deer stand because something magical is bound to happen!