Have you ever noticed the refreshing, invigorating feeling that overcomes you during the first cold front of the season? When hot, humid summer temperatures finally break, it is a welcome relief to feel the crisp, coolness of fall. If you think this feels good, you're not the only one. You may notice animals frolicking about, enjoying the cooler weather as well, but it's not just your household pets or livestock that may get a little perkier; the same cool weather appreciation extends to whitetail deer.
A big part of your hunting arsenal should include appropriate weather, but how many of us truly pay attention to the big picture as far as weather is concerned and how it applies to whitetail deer in Missouri? It is most common for people to do a quick weather check and decide whether or not to call the game, but there is more to weather choices than a 30 second glance at your news meteorologist's predictions. For instance, what about humidity? If it is oppressively humid outside, it isn't just you that's going to want to find a place to kick back and relax; deer may be behaving similarly, waiting for humidity to drop below 50% before getting out and moseying around.
Something else to consider is weather history. It matters what the temperature is on a given day, sure, but what about years past? Breakage of records of annual highs and lows from years past can be good indicators of when to hunt. If it is warmer this year than in years past, it might be a good day to occupy yourself elsewhere than in the field. However, if it is cooler this year than years past, that is another story. Getting out on days when the temperature drops below the norm very well may prove fruitful as deer begin to move about.
The presence of a hard freeze can also be indicative of deer movement. When temperatures drop below freezing for several consecutive days, feeding becomes more of a priority. This means deer moving in search of food, especially on or near food plots. Sometimes a hard freeze is not even necessary for this behavior to occur; a few days with temperatures close to but not quite below freezing can have the same affect. Similarly, temperatures that closely correlate with the dew point could make deer more prone to movement.
Photo: Outdoor Channel
Above all else, it is important to consider the impact of weather on behaviors. When the weather is warm, human nature is to stay in the shade, relax, and sip on beverages. In much the same manner, deer are likely to take cover, bed down, and keep close to water source. Since colder weather requires consumption of more calories to survive, calories which may not always be readily available, deer will set out in search of a meal. Movement also generates warmth, so when temperatures decrease, moving about increases.
In addition to monitoring the temperature overall as a whole, making it a point to watch for temperature changes will help you in your hunting. Most notable is that when a cold front rolls into Missouri early in the season, it is time for you to roll out into the field.
Do you find that any particular weather observations have aided you in a successful hunt? Are there weather phenomenons you swear by for deer sightings or instead swear to avoid? Let us know in the comments.