Do Deer Move In The Wind?

Do deer Move in the wind

Deer are beautiful four-legged creatures. They live all around the world too, from forests, swamps, mountains, and grasslands. You might see them often if you live in such areas as they don’t shy away from where humans live if they are searching for food. Deer have been hunted for thousands of years for food, sport, and sometimes even overpopulation. They are very difficult to hunt because the slightest sound can scare them.

Do deer move in the wind? In short, yes! Deer move in the wind, more so than in calm weather. Many hunters believe that this is bad because the wind makes the deer move too much. But is this just a myth? This is not an easy answer because wind influences other factors so it is not just the wind. Some factors might even shock you how deer move in the wind.

If you are hunting deer and are discouraged by the windy condition, don’t be. Here, I will discuss why wind makes deer move, and why it might be an advantage to hunt in windy conditions. Also, I will be discussing deer movement in the wind and whitetail’s relationship with the wind. Read on and find out how to make your hunts more successful.

Key Takeaways

  • Do Deer Move In The Wind?
  • Deer are cautious, herd animals, and react to small changes in their surrounding.
  • They are fast but over short distances, but can change their direction quickly.
  • Deer move the most in windy conditions with rain, and during winter and mating season.
  • The best way to use the wind is to understand windy conditions, and thermals, lower your scent and know your routes.
  • The best condition to hunt deer are: barometric pressure at 29-30, cool temperature, early morning to late afternoon and when the sun sets, cloudy skies, slightly windy, light snow or rain, and low-pressure fronts.

How Fast Do Deer Move?

How fast do deer Move
How fast do deer Move

Let’s get to know the deer a bit more. As I have said before, deer live in all parts of the world because of how easy it is for them to adapt to their environment. But, they prefer to live near a large water body like a lake or stream to drink from. So now you might wonder how fast these animals move. The answer is they are very fast but over short distances.

Deer typically reach up to 35-40 miles per hour (55-65 kilometers per hour), and they might go even faster if they are chased by predators or during mating seasons! But this top speed is difficult to maintain for the deer so they only move at short a distance. You might think this is not good, but because of the shape of their legs, they can change their direction very quickly. This is why when a deer spots a hunter, they will move very quickly and change direction very fast, especially in forest areas. This makes hunting, especially adult bucks difficult.

How Do Deer Travel in the Wind?

Winds affect deer movement a lot! And the way wind affects their movement is because of their senses, especially their nose. Their sense of smell is incredible and it is one of the reasons why they are able to remain alert at all times.

Upwind and Downwind

Upwind and Downwind
Upwind and Downwind

Upwind means towards the direction of the wind, while downwind mean moving away from the source of the wind. As deer move in groups or herds, they move to cover both upwind and downwind.

They cover the upwind with their nose because that is the direction where a predator’s smell comes from. Hunters coming from an upwind direction will try to sneak so the eyes are not always reliable, so the deer use their sense of smell to detect hunters.

The downwind is covered with their eyes and ears as the smell of hunters is going away from the wind so they use their eyes to see. They also use their ears downwind more because the wind is traveling away from their ears making it more optimal for them to hear tiny sounds like branches breaking or footsteps on fallen grass.


Deer spend a significant time in bed, which makes them harder to hunt. As they are in groups, a herd is well protected even when they are not moving. They make their bedding in places where the wind is at their back, making it less likely to carry their scents to their natural predators and hunters alike. They also scout the area constantly when they are bedding.

High Winds vs Low Winds

Traveling in high winds makes deer extra cautious. They move more carefully, circling an area multiple times to make sure that everything is okay for them to bed. High wind makes deer more restless so they move around a lot more because smells and sounds are harder to detect.

This also results in deer moving a lot less in distance because of how cautious they are. They move around a lot in one area due to high wind. However, they travel much greater distances in low winds and frequent areas they are more familiar with.

If you are planning to hunt deer, it is important to note how the winds change and influence deer movement. Sometimes in high wind, you will be stuck in one place for a very long time trying to determine the perfect time to shoot. In low winds, you will be traveling much greater distances so you have to plan your routes accordingly.

Wind and Deer Movements

wind and deer movements
wind and deer movements

When you consider deer movements, you have to think about windy days. On windy days, it cools the area making deer want to move around a lot more than usual. Even on hot windy days, the effect of high temperature does not affect the deer as they will want to move around. If you are hunting with a bow, windy weather might be something that you will want to avoid as it makes your shot inaccurate. The constant movement of the deer will also be a hindrance to the hunt.

The wind direction is another thing that will determine the deer movement a lot! They typically follow the wind or make sure that they are covering their blindside by having the wind direction be where their nose is. As the wind will carry the scent of hunters and predators, the deer can remain alert about the situation.

Penn State University has a wonderful article that talks about how wind speed and wind direction all affect deer movements. They will typically go to places where they are not used to going as a result. If the wind direction favors deer movements, they will follow it.

A windy day in hunting season might also be something that you would have to be wary of, more so than windy nights. Deer already move around a lot more during the night because they are nocturnal animals. With a lack of visibility and the added windy conditions, nighttime hunts will be next to impossible for hunters. So make sure that you are extra cautious on a windy day, as you will have significantly less hunting pressure as a result.

Wind and Whitetail Relationship

wind and whitetail relationship
wind and whitetail relationship

Whitetails are one of the most commonly hunted deer species. Their relationship with the wind is very similar to that of other species of deer. However, one is more concerned with the area than anything else. This can be due to the fact they are hunted so much. But region-specific whitetail movement is also key to understanding them.

For example, the deer population in Kansas, Oklahoma doesn’t move much even in windy conditions! This area usually has high wind speeds which have made the whitetails accustomed to it. That is why it doesn’t influence deer movement all that much. It is important to understand how deer are behaving in different habitats. As we saw in the example of Kansas whitetails, they won’t move much at all. But other regions that have less wind speed might make deer move around more in windy weather. So be sure to research on deer movement as it will be key to your hunting.

Deer Movement in Different Seasons

Alongside wind, a hunter has to also know how the seasons affect deer movements and the unique weather factors of each season. As they are such adaptable animals, their travel and movement also change due to changes in the weather. Deer typically move the most during dawn and dusk. So the seasonal changes also affect how they move.

Deer movement in different seasons
Deer movement in different seasons

Summer and Spring Seasons

Due to the high heat of the day, bucks tend to generally move a lot less during the summer. They are more inclined to make bed and rest and not move until the temperature has dropped. This is why you will notice deer moving more after the sun has set during summer. During spring, they are more likely to move toward fresh grass, flowers, and berries, after the winter.

Fall and Winter Seasons

With the falling temperature around these times of the year, deer increase their movements during these two seasons. And if you are thinking of the question, “Do deer like cold weather?”, then you will be happy to know that they do! Cold weather promotes more movement for the deer herds and they actively search for more food, especially in the winter. But they tend to slow down activity during heavy snow as it gets harder to move.

Rainy and Storm Seasons

If someone says they think deer do not come out in the rain, you can now tell them that they are wrong! A combination of wind and rain makes for the time deer are most active. This is especially the case right before a storm. Deer have keen senses so they can detect if a storm is approaching days before it happens. During this time, deer are very active, searching for food and appropriate shelter for when the storm hits.

Mating Season

Young and mature bucks are the most active during mating season – also known as rutting season. As bucks try to find their mates, they move faster even on very windy days. This is because the bucks are trying to spread their scent in every direction to attract the does (female deer). This makes it so that the bucks are out in more open areas where there is a crosswind to be able to scatter their scent over a larger area.

Best Way to Use Wind for Hunting

To best utilize the wind in your favor for hunting, here are some tips you can follow:

Best way to use wind for hunting
Best way to use wind for hunting

Windy Conditions

Despite what many hunters will claim, windy conditions are your ally during a hunt. The wind makes it harder for deer to listen to your movement so their hearing is made useless. Understanding the wind can also make your hunts easier as you can avoid letting the deer smell you by being downwind of a herd. Being downwind is the best direction for deer hunting. Deer also move about a lot more in one area during windy days so you can easily pick out your target with a bit of patience instead of constantly moving from one place to another on calm days.

Thermals of the surrounding

Understanding the heating and cooling effects of the area will greatly help you in understanding where the wind will be coming from. As deer move the most during dusk and dawn, it is important to know from where the wind will be blowing. Cooler air will drop during the evening, so you would want to be away from high areas as your scent will be carried down to the deer. Warmer air will rise in the morning so you would be comfortable in higher areas where there is a lot of wind in the morning. 

Lowering your scent

The wind will not always be your friend. Therefore, it is important to always keep a check on where the wind is blowing and if there are certain changes in the wind. While there are ways to mask your scent, the best way to make sure your scent is not picked up by a deer is positioning.

Knowing your routes

The key to hunting is to know the area you’re hunting in. Planning which route to take, where the wind blows, where the deer will be, and how to best utilize the terrain are all important.

Best Hunting Conditions

Some of the best hunting conditions are:

  • Barometric pressure at 29-30
  • Cool temperature
  • Early morning to late afternoon and when the sun sets
  • Cloudy skies
  • Slightly windy
  • Light snow or rain
  • Low-pressure fronts


Do deer come out in the wind?

In fact, deer move around more in the wind than when it is a calm non-windy day.

Do whitetail deer move in high winds?

Yes, whitetail deer like all deer move in high wind.

Do deer move before a storm?

Yes, deer move before a storm comes. They can feel a storm coming up to 3 days in advance and move accordingly to find food and shelter for when the storm hits.

How fast do deer move?

The highest speed a deer can move at is 35-40 miles per hour, but this is over a short distance.

Are deer moving right now?

Deer move around constantly, most notably they move the most at dawn and dusk. However, they spend most of their time in bedding, especially during the summer heat.

Final Thoughts

Deer are cautious, herd animals, and react to small changes in their surroundings. They have a keen sense of smell which they use to detect hunters and predators with the help of the wind. Windy conditions are tricky to hunt in but they also provide the best situation for your hunts as the deer move around a lot and create more opportunities for you to hunt. Hopefully, after reading, you are more equipped to hunt on those windy days. Happy hunting!

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