View Full Version : Min and Max temps to hunt in?

September 25, 2007, 03:50 PM
Do you set rules for yourself of min and max temps before you'll even go out to hunt?

After freezing my rear off 2 years ago, and getting eaten up with mosquitoes and sweating last year, I decided to set some firm blanket rules:

If the forecast high is above 75 F, then I'm gonna do something else that weekend. Hunting is a cool/cold weather sport and is just flat out miserable when it's hot in the afternoon, and you have on camo covering your whole body. If you have on bug spray, the deer will smell that. If you don't, the mosquitoes will get you and the game will see you swatting at your face. If you sweat, the deer will smell that. I will make an exception, increasing this up to a forecast high of 80 deg, IF there's already been one hard freeze that year, to reduce the mosquito population, OR there's a strong wind forecast pretty much continuously for the whole weekend, to keep the bugs off, keep cool, and keep the deer from scenting my sweaty self.

If the forecast low is below 15 F, then I'm gonna find something else to do for the weekend. With better cold weather gear, I may lower this to 10 or 5, but somewhere in there, it gets pretty darned rude sleeping in the camper overnight on nights like these, and besides, if it gets too cold, the deer quit moving too.

Any similar rules?

September 25, 2007, 04:14 PM
Yeah, when you're in a friggin' blizzard, you might as well go home, because the deer are going to bed up and stay put, and the only crazy animals who voluntarily expose themselves to the blizzard will be crazy hunters. :D

September 25, 2007, 04:29 PM
Not yet, but I have noticed some of my older (+65 yrs.) hunting friends are starting to back out of hunts or stay in camp if it's too hot or cold & rainy. Hunting (& fishing) is suppose to be fun. If your not comfortable your not going to enjoy yourself and might end up giving it up, which isn't good. I think your idea of putting limits on what you want to endure is pretty smart. Just my $.02

September 25, 2007, 04:53 PM
Oh yeah. I learned this one the hard way last season:

If it is a cold morning, then you had better set up in in an area that will get some sun and warm up. Because if you plant yourself in a cold valley with lots of shadows, you won't see anything because (surprise!) the deer don't like hanging out in a cold area in the morning when they could just as well be in a warmer area that gets some sun.

I know that this would seem obvious, but I wasted about 4 hours sitting in a cold, damp valley-area last season without seeing any deer before I realized how cold I was, and what the problem was. Guess you learn some seemingly-obvious stuff the hard way, right? :(

September 25, 2007, 05:42 PM
Yep, BTDT (sitting in a cold sunless dry creek bed on the coldest day) - hee hee, sometimes it just takes common sense. Deer are like people - if it's cold they want to warm up; if it's hot they want to cool down.

As for rain, I'm different on that. I don't necessarily LIKE getting wet, but I always try to hunt in the rain - I get fired up and hunt a lot on those days - that's when it's easiest to sneak up on stuff. If it's pouring, no. But a standard light to medium rain, yes, with appropriate rain gear (note to self: get some frog toggs).

This can't be a *good thing* that I'm being likened to 65+ yr old guys - ouch. :p

I mention this stuff because next Monday is Oct 1, the start of fall deer & turkey archery seasons, but around here, Oct is usually still hot until maybe the last week - this stinks! I'll just stay home and practice my bow in the backyard instead until the cool front hits, and keep getting all my clothes scent-free and getting ready to go - I will go scout some in early Oct, but then want to let the woods "cool off" for 2 weeks or so before I'm hunting in earnest. I could go and focus solely on turkeys and not worry about scent, but I'd rather not risk getting scented with half a bottle of OFF on me, and have deer leave an area, just to try and get a turkey with a bow, which ain't none too easy anyway.

September 25, 2007, 05:59 PM
FF - someday I hope to be able to set comfort limits, but not realistic for me right now.

My hunting buddy and I both have to figure out hunting trips way before they are going to happen. He has to put in for vacation for the entire year in Jan - so what ever the weather is when we get to go is what we hunt in.

Fishing is a different story - I am seriously a fair weather fisherman...well, except for steelhead...and salmon...OK, maybe not:D

Night Watch
September 25, 2007, 06:15 PM
:D You're making me laugh! I've taken 2 week vacations and spent the time, standing 15 feet in the air in sub-zero temperatures for up to 6 hours each day. And, yes, there have been moments when I would question my sanity for spending my vacation time like that.

There was, also, a time when I got out of bed at the bunkhouse, dressed, left a half dozen snoring men behind, and drove 100 miles to my home where I surprised my young bride by saying; 'I'm back; I think I'm going slowly insane; and, I need you to jump in bed with me - right now - in order to warm me up, and restore the blood flow to my frozen brain!'

She did; and, as soon as my brain finished thawing, I got out of that bed too, and immediately returned to the deer camp and my awaiting frozen tree stand. :p

Hard fast rules?

1. Never hunt your own (or anybody else's) back trail.
2. Always hunt the south side of ridges, or mountains during the day.
3. Always hunt high in the morning, and low in the afternoon.
4. Always try to place your stand at intersection points between browse and bedding. 'Escape trails' sometimes payoff, too.
5. Sleep when you can; if you're the right kind of hunter, you'll immediately wake up the moment something starts to move in on you. (I always did!)
6. As already stated: Rain is good!
7. Deer tend to hang around horse and farm animal pastures and enclosures.
8. Place thin black threads about a foot high along any trail you're checking for activity.
9. Move slow. If you can hear a pattern to your movement, then, so can the deer.
10. Freeze if you spook something and wait. Deer are incurably curious and will attempt to move downwind of you in order to figure out what you are? Face this direction, and get ready for a quick shot.
11. Tree stands are particularly good to use in the morning.
12. Hollows are often best to use in the late afternoon.
13. It's a lot tougher to hunt during the time of a full moon; and, you need to learn how to compensate for bright nights.

How's that? 50 years of deer hunting experience in one short post! ;)

September 25, 2007, 06:41 PM
I kind of hunt by what the animal does and not the weather. If I know the quarry I'm hunting will be out then I'm out there. So I guess since animals don't come inside from heat or cold neither do I. The more the suffering I do the greater reward when I do get my animal. If it were easy it wouldn't be hunting right?:D

September 25, 2007, 06:48 PM
anything above the mid 60's and you better hurry getting your moose dressed an cooled, below -25 you better hurry or they stiffen up pretty quick.

September 25, 2007, 07:37 PM
Well, lessee. I've spent a week camping in a tent while hunting caribou at -50, and I've spent a week in a tent hunting caribou at +75, so I guess I don't have the will to stay home.

Of the two, hunting at +75 was the worst. VERY hard to keep meat when it's warm.

September 25, 2007, 08:00 PM
lol, I guess I'm being a wimp with my low temp rule (+15). Lucky for me, though, it's almost NEVER below +15 even here. Maybe 2-4 days of the year it will dip into the low teens or high tens briefly in the early morning.

The heat just sucks though, so I'm not changing that rule.

Night watch:

How's that? 50 years of deer hunting experience in one short post!

I'd say that that is most excellent. Thanks. Could you elaborate on a couple of things however, please?

1. Never hunt your own (or anybody else's) back trail.

What do you mean by that?

3. Always hunt high in the morning, and low in the afternoon.

High/low on the tree in your stand, or high/low in altitude?

4. Always try to place your stand at intersection points between browse and bedding. 'Escape trails' sometimes payoff, too.

OK, but what do you do when there is no feeding location at all, per se - in extensive hardwood forests where oaks/acorns (and hickory nuts) are EVERYWHERE, and no crop fields anywhere?

7. Deer tend to hang around horse and farm animal pastures and enclosures.

I believe you but why is that?

13. It's a lot tougher to hunt during the time of a full moon; and, you need to learn how to compensate for bright nights.

How do you "compensate for bright nights."?

Night Watch
September 25, 2007, 09:33 PM
:confused: OK, I’m asking myself, ‘Why’ I answered this thread in the first place? I guess it’s just the hunter in me. Years ago, I had (sort of) a religious experience; and, I decided that sport hunting is immoral. I promised myself I’d never sport hunt again. At the same time I’m aware that some of my neighbors actually hunt to keep meat on the table throughout the year. So for the guys who hunt to eat, I’ll continue to share the experiences of my, ‘prodigal youth’.

Q. ‘Why’ shouldn’t you hunt your own back trail?
A. Because I’ve actually watched deer cross my own back trail, sometimes at a perpendicular angle, put their noses down, and then look straight in my direction! I am convinced that deer can tell, both, how long it’s been since you passed as well as what direction you were headed in!

Besides, I’m still mad at that New Hampshire guide who posted me across my own back trail, and told me to wait for the deer. I guess he meant the deer he shot on the other side of the valley from where he’d stationed me in order to push them to him! When I wisecracked that the deer in New Hampshire were a whole lot dumber than the deer in Pennsylvania, he couldn’t help cracking a smile; and, I instantly knew that he’d deliberately snookered me! ;)

Q. ‘Why’ hunt high ground in the morning, and low ground in the evening?
A. Because air moves in two ways: by wind and by thermal currents. Air heats up in the morning and rises. Air cools down in the evening and sinks. The first time you spook an animal when the air is still and it’s dead calm, you’ll understand.

Q. What if there is no clearly defined feeding area?
A. No! I’ve been over plenty of mast areas; and, I will assure you that favored areas are NOT everywhere. Acorn crops are, all, different. Some trees are favored over others. They might be either tastier or closer to bedding; but, certain trees will attract more of the deer's attention.

If you cast around, you’ll find more disturbed ground and hulls in some areas than in others. Whenever you find a stand that’s being regularly picked over, look for the nearest Southern slopes or swampy areas that they’re bedding over. Pick your ambush site accordingly.

Q. Animal enclosures?
A. Because they aren’t stupid! Deer know that other large animals will mask their scent; and the people in the immediate area will (probably) not be hunting. Food or water might, also, be factors; but, if I’ve seen this once, I’ve seen it a hundred times. (And been, ‘skunked’ – even caught with an unloaded gun - by it too!)

Q. About bright nights?
A. Gee, getting in a little early or staying out a little late is about the best I can do for ya. How about setting up at the bedding areas, or watching the, ‘escape trails’ during the day! (It’s important to know, ‘How’ to make other hunters work for you!)

When pressed really hard I’ve seen deer pick the densest brush imaginable, crawl in, and absolutely refuse to move even if you step on them. Once I cornered three does this way on a small heavily overgrown island in the middle of a wide open savannah.

Several of us watched them go in and ran ahead to quickly surround the island. Well, we trampled through that brush for the better part of an hour and nothing moved. They were in there, somewhere on that small acre of ground, alright; but we never did flush them. It was as if they’d just vanished in plain sight! :eek:

PS: Of course I've only hunted in the northeast; so I have no experience with these high, 'Texas tree stands' I've seen on TV. In my exerience it doesn't make much sense to be any higher than about 15 feet in the air; and, many times, 6-8 feet will do. Sure I've seen higher; but, I've never built or used one. Usually, if I have about 6 feet, then, I'm happy.

Neither have I ever used a commercially built tree-climbing stand. I'm convinced that unless you're willing to risk losing one by putting it out, at least, a week early, then, all you're going to really do is scare all the older deer out of the area. I've heard hunters setting these things up from over 300 yards away. Imagine what the deer must be able to hear!

September 25, 2007, 09:43 PM
If your aren't willing to hunt in 80+ degree weather (at least during archery and muzzleloader seasons), you don't get to hunt in south Florida. It doesn't start getting pleasant until general gun season opens in November. Even then, you'll have days when the temp climbs up past 80 during midday.

September 25, 2007, 09:51 PM
The cold doesn't really bother me. Just dress for the weather.

I don't like hunting in warm weather. If it's much over 70* I don't bother. One of the benefits of being able to walk out the back door and start hunting. :p

September 27, 2007, 03:23 PM
If I didn't hunt when it's 75 or better, I'd never get to go!!!:D

Heck, at 75, we're rejoicing for the cold front LOL... The good thing is down here in S. TX, It's never too cold to hunt. The thing that is difficult layering on those "cold" mornings...It can be 30 in the morning, and 75 in the afternoon sometimes...That's no exageration...then you gota cary all that extra clothing in your backpack. When the sun goes down, the temp drops like a rock again... BTW, it's dove season now...this morning's LOW was 78....I'm anxious for the day when that is our high....

September 27, 2007, 08:29 PM
Up here in the lake effect belt, I've been on stand bowhunting when it was 70 above, and I recall the day when it was 0 with a wind chill of 8 below. That was the day after I buried my favorite brother-in-law, and I think the Almighty just sent the big 10 point that almost put the horns to me my way. I was on the ground just before noon, having been in the treestand for 6 hours, and my feet were frozen. I climbed down, went about 60 yards downwind and had a cigarette. Just as I stepped on the butt, a spider crawled up my backbone and told me to turn around. I was 10 yds. from one of the biggest 10 points I've ever seen, and no arrow on the string. Nothing to climb or hide behind, and he had the look of wanting to fight. The hair on his back was standing up, and I remembered having dominant buck lure in my pocket. After 20 seconds of watching him try to decide whether to charge or run, he took a 30 foot leap and disappeared. I shook for an hour from adrenalin and outright fear. I don't like getting wet, because then I get wet and cold instead of just cold. If it's pouring rain, I stay in. The deer don't have the luxury of a nice warm kitchen to sit in, and if I want venison, I have to go out when they are around. I shot 2 does on one day when it was 0 out, and I walked right up on them as they were bedded down. Hope this helps to invigorate those who hunt when the weather ISN'T cooperating. Enjoy. CB.

September 28, 2007, 06:09 AM
For me there isn't really a high, our season doesn't start till the 21st for rifle.
Cold, last year there was a week straight that never got above -5* when we were leaving camp in the mornings, high in the days was around 15*, now that was some fun stuff.

I've bear hunted in jeans and an orange T-shirt before, but that just felt strange.

September 28, 2007, 08:03 AM
If it's colder than -35, I just stay home and throw wood on the fire.

September 28, 2007, 09:30 AM
Crowbeaner, great story; thanks. :)

Cold, last year there was a week straight that never got above -5* when we were leaving camp in the mornings, high in the days was around 15*,

:eek: :eek:

September 29, 2007, 04:39 AM

Around the fourth day of that when we woke up and saw the temp we just got back in bed, waited till it was above 0* to leave camp.
We saw a lot of game that week, walking the creek bottoms and jumping everything out of there beds in the pine trees.

It's definitely not an every year occurrence though, that was the worst i can remember it ever being.

September 29, 2007, 08:26 AM
Oh what I wouldn't do to hunt in cold weather... Last year (most years actually) I hunted opening day in cut-off camo shorts w/ a short sleave camo tee-shirt. I use a little powder make up on my arms and legs to help blend.... This year, w/ as much rain as we've had, I'll probably be wearing those same shorts w/ hip waders...It's rained 35" since July at our place.

September 29, 2007, 06:05 PM
No problem hunting when it is 85 degrees, but I only shoot if it's below about 65 and solidly cloudy or below about 55 if it's sunny. At those temps I'll consider shooting a deer only if I'm close enough to home so I can ice it down pretty quickly.

I used to hunt rabbits and squirrels; they have more diseases in hot weather, especially the little botfly infestations which the old folks call 'wolfs' for some reason. :eek:

For me there is no minimum temp, but I switch to hunting on a stand where I can shelter from the wind and rain.

September 29, 2007, 09:55 PM
My great grandpa's fishing theory was "The best time for fishing is when it's raining..... and when it ain't."
Modify and apply to hunting as needed.:D

September 29, 2007, 11:12 PM
i for one dont like hunting in warm weather. the colder the better,i thrive on days with a light snow falling with the temps in the low 30's. thats good stuff for still hunting and i will tote around my 54 flintlock.

September 29, 2007, 11:30 PM
I'll take cooler weather over heat. A light snow over rain. But any time in the woods is better than any time at work.

September 30, 2007, 12:02 AM
botfly infestations which the old folks call 'wolfs' for some reason.

They're also known as wolf worms.
I don't get a lot of chances to hunt so I hunt whatever the weather is. Here it's usually t-shirt and jeans until after the first of January, maybe an unlined denim jacket in the mornings and late evenings. After that the temps usually drop to below 30 degrees, sometimes down to the teens but not very often so a pair of long johns under the jeans and a quilted flannel shirt over the t-shirt and maybe a jacket depending on temp.

September 30, 2007, 12:54 AM
what's it like to hunt in weather under 85 degree's? here in Florida, we have no winter.

October 2, 2007, 03:08 PM
what's it like to hunt in weather under 85 degree's?

It is (unfortunately for you) infinitely more enjoyable than hunting in 80+ deg weather. I feel for you. How do youens even keep your meat from spoiling? I am envisioning an olympic-style "speed-skinning" competition to get the thing small enough to fit in a cooler in the fastest possible time. :cool:

October 2, 2007, 06:21 PM
I think we need a new Olympic event called the deer drag. 3 categories will do. Cat. (1) is a 100 lb. sack of feed in a burlap bag to be dragged 1/2 mile to the car/truck. Cat. (2) is 2 100 lb. sacks the same distance to mimic the bigger bucks we have up here. Cat. (3) is 3 100 lb. bags to mimic the Canadian monsters of Alberta etc. All drags are to be made in full camo hunting regalia with a shouldered 8 lb. gun, a backpack weighing 20 lbs., and 20 rounds of ammo on your belt. All drags MUST be done in 1 hour to beat dark. No sleds or skid sheets allowed. No helpers are allowed. All finishers must endure 20 minutes of questioning by a game official at the end of the drag. All finishers must LOAD the weight by themselves onto a table the same height as a tailgate/trunk. All finishers must have a valid hunting license, and at least 10 hours of hunter safety. Did I miss anything? Hope this helps make your day. Enjoy. CB.