Cold Front Coming? Get In Your Stand
When the weather changes so do the deer patterns. Bob Robb gives you the changes to look for.
October 21, 2009
For most deer hunters the rut is the center of attention. We watch and wait all year, anticipating that one big moment when that bruiser buck lets his guard down and puts his nose to the grindstone. But if you keep a look out for subtle changes in deer behavior caused by weather, you might just blindside that trophy before he's even thinking about chasing does.
Renowned bowhunter and whitetail chaser Bob Robb knows this first hand, and he's noticed a timely turn of events that have seen some monsters fall already this season.
“There’s a huge cold front coming through the country right now," he said. "Most guys have been conditioned to think that they don’t want to hunt before the rut starts, cause you know, the big bucks don’t move."
Not true, says Robb, there are a few things to look for when deciding whether this October's temperature change will get those big boys moving in your neck of the woods.
Through the years, numerous studies show that whitetails move and feed the most when the barometer is between 29.8 and 30.29 inches. Researchers have also found that deer are more active when the barometer is moving rather than steady. Rising pressure is often a result of colder, denser air moving in behind a cold front. "Go to the weather service or whatever you do to find out local weather patterns," Robb said. "If the weather is going to drop anywhere around 10 degrees (normally 15 degrees) colder than the average temperature, I promise you, the deer are going to move. That’s why there’s been a bunch of big deer already smacked."
What drives deer movement at all times of year? The answer is food sources. We all know that rut activity affects that big buck’s sensibilities the most during that time, but he's chasing does and those little ladies usually hang around food. In most places, weather changes coincide with and/or are a factor in acorns falling. When this occurs, bigger bucks often move to seek high-calorie acorns under the treetops. "Around early October I try to find a group of acorn trees to hunt," Robb said. "Early in the morning or late in the evening the deer are going to move. They've got to find something to eat and stay warm when the cold front hits. Acorns are usually their best bet."
"If a guy has the opportunity, is flexible enough and is aware of what effect a cold front can have on deer, he can be successful this time of year." Robb said. "If you know there's a cold front coming you better get your behind in a tree and stay there. Do whatever you have to do to get in the tree—before work, after work, on the weekend or whatever —but they’re going move and you need to be in the woods."
When the weather changes so do deer patterns, and when those habits change every serious hunter must change with them. Monitor acorn trees and find a white oak with an average of 12 to 18 acorns per branch or a red oak with 16 to 24 plus and set up your stand. Also, keep checking the forecast and when that temperature drops or a cold front is on the way, get in a tree and stay there.