The bowhunting weather here in Virginia was excellent last October. Multiple days of cool, clear, high-pressure skies made for enjoyable sits morning and afternoon. Conditions were perfect, and spirits were high in pour camp. Around the 20th, we figured bucks would start scraping and prowling in the pre-rut any day now. I hunted every day for two weeks and never saw a shooter.

I headed out to western Nebraska for rifle season. First evening, I glassed 40 deer coming to a milo field, the only major food source within two miles. Next afternoon from the same stand, with the same warm weather and west wind, I saw only 4 does. But then I shot a 6-year-old 10-pointer at sundown!


Oklahoma in December. Hard-frost mornings and daytime highs the 30s, just right for hunting food sources in the post-rut. Two mornings I saw zero deer, and only 3 or 4 in the afternoons. Fourth day with a south wind it warmed up to 58. At 4:03 p.m. I killed a 150-class 10-pointer.

Not just last season but for the past 40 years, I am reminded time and time again that deer movement is wildly unpredictable from month to month, week to week, even day to day. Some “poor” days they move well, other “great” days they don’t move, regardless of weather, moon phase, wind speed, hunting pressure or any other factor.

You should watch your weather apps and play the odds and hunt when conditions are best, such as clear days that follow a cold front, and during a moon that waxes to full into November, but hey, you never know about deer, and especially mature bucks. Many “perfect” cool days you won’t squat; on a “poor” hot afternoon you might see deer all over and punch your buck tag.

Easy motto: Just hunt when you can!