How to Hunt with Wind
This week’s tips on hunting the wind come from Kirt Connelly, a six-year veteran of team Redmond Hunt. Kirt’s been chasing critters in the hills and wetting lines in streams for as long as he remembers. Besides his family, the outdoors is his passion and what he loves and lives for. It led Kirt into the outdoor industry early in his career where he worked as a hunting consultant for ten years and owned several outdoor companies. He brings this same passion for the outdoors to customers through Redmond’s quality deer mineral products and hunting services.
Wind is the four-letter word of hunting. It’s the mumbled cuss word and invisible enemy that can ruin your day in the stand or even foil an entire whitetail season. Wind is fickle and contrary, and wise hunters learn to play by its rules or go home empty-handed, without the buck you’ve been banking on all summer.
You’ve probably had it hammered home to hunt with the wind in your face and stay downwind of your target. Sound advice. But simply hunting into the wind and hoping for the best isn’t enough. Success requires strategy. Here’s why.
Whitetails’ Sense of Smell
Whitetail deer are extremely territorial. They also have an incredibly keen sense of smell and can detect anything unusual on the wind. They know their area, its sights and smells, inside and out and can pick up scents a quarter mile away or more.
When deer come into a baiting or mineral site, they’re on high alert—and usually only 10-20 yards from your tree stand. That’s close enough to sniff the ChapStick you put on that morning. If a wary buck gets even a subtle whiff of your scent and doesn’t like it, he’ll be gone, and there goes your chance to harvest—potentially for the season.
6 Tricks for Hunting the Wind
Once you learn to respect wind, you can outsmart it and your target. Countering wind when hunting really comes down to planning, preparation, and minimizing your scent. Check off all these steps to counter wind before and during your hunt and you’ll be cranking.
1. Good Site Location
This is the step before all others. Set up your tree stands and baiting sites with wind in mind. Having at least two stands at your hunting site will help accommodate for wind coming from different directions. When you’re ready to hunt, choose a stand that’s downwind and works to your best advantage based on wind condition.
If the wind throws a curve ball and comes in a direction that doesn’t suit either stand, a mobile climber stand comes in handy. Keep one stowed in the back of your truck for flexibility to change your hunting strategy on the fly. A climber stand will allow you to hike into another area more suitable to wind direction, and saves money if you don’t want to spring for multiple stands.
2. Use Weather Apps
Technology can also help you prepare. There are some great weather and hunting apps (like AccuWeather or Weather.com) that predict accurate forecasts and wind direction. Once you’re at your site and before you trek to your stand, make sure the wind is still moving the way it was forecasted and you planned for. If it’s shifted, rethink your game plan.
3. Minimize Your Scent
You can never eliminate all your scent went hunting. It’s impossible, and anybody who says otherwise is lying. Your body is always producing scent from hot spots on your head, hands, feet, and armpits. Just breathing produces scent not normal to an area. You can, however, minimize your scent.
Here’s a checklist of things to reduce odor before you head into the woods. I do every step before every hunt. No buts. Seem a bit OCD? Sure. But added together, each one amounts to points in your favor for nabbing your target.
- Wash your hunting clothes in scent-free detergent.
- Place hunting clothing in a scent-free bag or locker (like Scent Crusher) to transfer to your hunting location.
- Shower with scent-free body wash and shampoo and use scent-free deodorant and other self-care products.
- Dress in hunting clothes at your site, outside of your vehicle, and before you hike into your stand.
- Wear a facemask, gloves, and calf-high rubber boots to control scent.
- Spray your bow, hunting pack, boots, etc., with a scent killer.
4. Use Field Spray
Let’s say you’re sitting in your tree stand and the wind shifts. What now? You can’t climb down and you can’t redirect the wind. Redmond Apple or Cherry Bomb Spray is truly the bomb for moments like this. It’s a high-powered, sweet-smelling field spray that covers scent and draws deer in—and can be used several ways.
When I’m within 50 yards of my stand, I begin spraying Cherry Bomb in my boot tracks to cover scent. If I’m already in my stand and the wind shifts, I squirt it in the air to both mask smell and entice deer in.
Tip: Bomb is super effective, but deer will avoid smells that are strong or strange—even if they’re enticing. That’s why you should only use Bomb spray if you’ve previously used it or Redmond Cherry Bomb deer attractant and deer are familiar with the scent.
5. Try an Ozone Generator
There are arguments whether this next scent management tool is legit, but at Redmond we use and support it—and some of our Hunt team swear by it. I’m talking about an ozone generator like these from Ozonics.
It’s an in-field device that attaches to the tree above your stand and breaks up scent molecules in the air. The science says it creates a stream of ozone above your head that destroys scent so deer and other animals can’t tell you’re there—regardless of wind direction. Is it worth the $300-$500 sticker price? Your call.
6. Know When to Say No
The last tactic for hunting wind may be the hardest for hunters to swallow—and follow. Know when to say no and take a day off. It takes control not to sit in your stand because of a swirling or strong wind you can’t predict. But patience pays off and waiting often wins the day—and your target. Remember, it’s better to ground yourself for a few hours than risk an erratic wind that blows out that big buck.
You’re now ready to take on the wind! Just remember to respect and work with it by planning ahead and carefully managing your scent. Good luck and remember, in the case of wind, it’s truly the sum of the parts that matters. Doing each of the steps discussed will help you hunt the wind intelligently and may ultimately be the difference between a busted deer or snagging the buck of a lifetime.
Need a sweet cover scent for your upcoming hunt? We’ve got you covered. Click below to purchase super effective Cherry or Apple Bomb field spray and attractant.
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