You do not have to believe in global warming to know that fall weather can be crazy in the Northeast. Unfortunately, unpredictable weather often means an unpredictable hunting season. If summer heat lingers into October or it snows early, then the feeding patterns and movement of the deer are going to be affected.
While hunting gets harder in certain weather conditions, understanding how the deer react to these conditions can help you to stay one step ahead of them when hunting season rolls around. The key to finding deer in all conditions is knowing when and where they feed in the fall months.
Deer and Hurricanes
What do Northeastern deer and East Coast hurricanes have in common? More than you think. The heat, wind, and rain that push west after a hurricane can make hunting impossible. That’s why it’s important to watch the news and do your hunting before and after hurricanes have passed. Deer sense the approaching weather through changes in the barometric pressure and will feed aggressively the day before and approximately two days after a storm hits. That’s when you’ll want to be in your stand, staking out their food sources. Two days after the storm is especially active when cool weather follows warm.
Hunting with the Harvest
Because you’ve got to follow the food source to find the deer, it’s important to plan your stand location around harvest season. If it’s a wet fall, then harvest will likely be late which means you’ll want to set up near standing corn. If it’s hot and dry, then expect harvest to be early. That means the deer will be in the woods when hunting season starts, so that’s where your stand should be too.
Studies have shown that acorn crops are unrelated to the weather. Instead, a number of acorns produced in any given year are cyclical. That said, you’ll have to pay close attention to mast numbers and the weather. That’s because a boom year for acorns means that deer can feed anywhere and everywhere. A warm fall also makes them less likely to forage during the day.
The best hunting seasons typically occur when the weather is cold and acorns are scarce. While it’s hard to predict what the weather will be this hunting season, you can take a walk in the woods and see what the acorn crop looks like. If it’s lean, then all you have to do is locate one good supply of them and set up nearby, and you know the deer will follow.