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Hunting hills and valleys.

swat1018

5 year old buck +
The one thing that is the most challenging for me is hunting in hills, valleys, etc. I was raised and live in the flat country of Indiana. I now own ground in NE MO, and one of my places has big hills and valleys. It's a constant learning curve figuring out the wind currents combined with thermals -- where your scent goes. I'd like to find a good book on hunting in the hill country, any suggestions? Also, feel free to post anything you think may help me accelerate my learning curve. I'm probably way too cautious with the wind, but that's just me.
 

TreeDaddy

5 year old buck +
Mapping Trophy Bucks by Brad Herndon

bill
 

Bill

Administrator
IkemanTx posted a good Grant Woods video on this. Got to weed through the advertising but I found it interesting.

I try to avoid hills but it’s hard where we are. I do have a set up at the top where the deer come up hill to the stand. I like hunting a wind blowing right at them. It always seems my scent is being carried above them because it’s a long way before the wind hits the opposite hillside.

Grants discussion is on hunting 2/3 of the way down the hill.
http://habitat-talk.com/index.php?threads/dr-woods-had-some-good-points-this-week.11303/
 

Suburbhunter

5 year old buck +

Maybe this will help too.
 

Someday isle

5 year old buck +
I grew up hunting in the hills and hollows of southeast Missouri. 1/3 of the way up the hill is always a good spot to find well used trails. If you can find a flat area along a hillside with some producing oaks in can be great hunting. It’s an education learning to see them but natural pinch points and funnels make great locations too. Reading the wind is hard but you can overthink it too sometimes. In the morning your scent tends to rise and in the evenings it goes down. I was less successful with harvests in those hills and hollows than I am now on my own little piece of property but I think I was a better hunter then. Scouting and learning to read terrain mattered a lot.
 

Someday isle

5 year old buck +
I want to clarify that point a little bit. Now, I’m learning about habitat and how to manipulate that habitat to create the deer movement that I want to happen. Or that I think I want to happen. I still have to hunt hard and hunt well. It’s just that when you have the big hills you really have to know where the deer are finding the best way to travel and stay safe and secure. On my property there aren’t any naturally occurring limiting factors that prevent deer from going wherever they want. So while they might not always follow the same path, there’s still a chance I’ll see deer wherever and whenever I hunt on my property. In the big woods, with big hills and valleys, we always had to work really hard to figure out where they were and how best to attack the situation without being detected. It’s a fun and sometimes frustrating challenge.
 

Scott S

5 year old buck +
This is a topic I lose sleep over. My property run from near the top of a North facing hill (but not all the way to the top) down to the edge of a river.

I'll. Check my "scent cone" on Huntstand, compare it to wind direction on Windy and Weather Underground and they'll all roughly agree. I'll then step outside my door with my wind checker and get completely contradictory results very frequently. I've also never sat in a stand yet where I didn't have at least two different wind directions occur while I was sitting.

Long story short... Thanks for asking this question. I'll be following along for the answers.
 

S.T.Fanatic

5 year old buck +
If you are hunting in a valley you need to setup a good distance from the base of the hill or the wind will swirl like crazy. we have a valley property and a ridge property. Late October early November I hunt the valley property the most. My stand is a solid 75 yards off of the base of a hill. There are also two valleys that converge where that stand is. The main valley runs West to East. If I get a wind out of the West I am golden if there is wind out of the North it CAN swirl a bit but not to bad. I can get away with quite a bit while hunting mornings. Once the sun peaks out over the bluffs the air heats up and my thermals take my scent straight up into the sky. I hunt the valley property a little bit in the afternoons but for the most part I hunt the top. Evening wind direction and thermals are way more predictable on a ridge. I also have to walk through crop fields where the deer are bedded over night so a morning hunt on top isn't the best for getting in undetected.

I am blessed to have access to these two properties. However my grandma died this past Sunday and the future of the top farm is unknown.
 

4wanderingeyes

5 year old buck +
I dont like hunting them on calm days, I would rather there be a good stiff 10-20 mph wind coming from one direction. But even with strong breezes, winds tend to turn and blow the other direction as well. Hunting a valley is tough regardless of how much you think you know about the wind. I wouldnt hunt it as my main stand, because eventually you will get a swirling wind, and you will end up busted, usually it wont take long. But to hunt it a couple times a month, shouldnt wreck the spot.
 

westonwhitetail

5 year old buck +
In my experience if the wind parallels the valley, it is more consistent (valley runs north and south and you have a north or south wind). If the wind crosses the valley, you're likely to get some swirling and unpredictable winds. I do like to sit in the valley on a windy day to try to get out of the wind some, I typically see more deer that way. That could just be because I can hear them better or maybe deer like to hear and like to travel out of the wind too, I'm not sure. Top of the ridges is more similar to flat land, you usually have a similar wind to what it says in the forecast.
 

hillrunner

5 year old buck +
Lots of good advice already. Hunt high, is the simplest way to avoid swirling winds . You need to get yourself close to the height of the peak of the ridge to get away from swirling winds in steep hills. Try to locate pinch points like drainage ditches that reach up towards the top of the ridge. I then like to hunt the leeward side and let the deer cross down wind of me . If the set up is done correctly, your scent will blow right over top of the deer. With any luck, or maybe some TSI work, you'll have some bedding areas nearby.
.
 

bwoods11

5 year old buck +
How do you guys set up on a crop field edge that has a steep hill behind it... see pic (the far hill)Mon-18.jpg
 

35-acre

5 year old buck +
Well, that's a pretty open question BWOODS. Lots to consider in what you're asking.
Morning or evening hunt? or Both?
Are you concerned about getting into the stand? Or do you have that covered?
Do you know where they bed?
Are they eating in the field?

Here's some of my thoughts. I'm just an average hunter and always learning.

Deer rely on their noses first and foremost. So, for your field, I would want to know if there multiple entry points? Where do the deer enter from (assuming above and I'm also assuming they are bedded up near the top of that ridge).

I've noticed that I am most successful when I am dealing with the wind most effectively. I try to use a few rules (things I've read and tried with success):
1. If the wind is blowing less than 4 mph, it will likely have little/no impact on thermals (Morning they go uphill, afternoon they go downhill).
2. Remember - you aren't hunting the entire field/plot so stop trying so hard to have the whole thing covered. Especially if you're using archery gear.
3. I would then try to setup in places where the wind carries my scent to a place that makes the deer feel that they have things covered with their nose but they don't. That one is hard to explain without being specific and the whole thing is entirely 3 dimensional.
1571936057078.png

My specific example about #3 is that I have an acre plot that I put in that runs east to west, where the east and south part of the plot is uphill. The deer typically follow 2 routes to get into the plot. I pick which days to hunt certain spots based on the wind. I generally hunt this plot in the evening and I have two different wind types to hunt:

Low wind days (4 mph or less)

The first deer into the plot generally use a small finger/ridge that comes into the bottom of the plot on the west edge (2 dotted lines on the left side of the drawing). This is likely based on the thermals or wind direction. They do this when the evening thermals are coming down the plot, not effected by wind. On those days, I hunt at the red dot on the image, the little arrow right next to the red dot shows the best wind direction for that spot as well. This spot works because the deer coming into the plot think that they can smell anything that would be up on the high side (east or on the right or the drawing) that could be around the corner or pinch-point but they don't have my scent. Because I'm about 10 yards off the plot. I noted that these are the first deer because once there are some deer in the plot, others are more comfortable coming in from less desirable places.

Normal breeze/wind days (6+ mph wind)

As we all know, windless days in the fall are not that common. So I have a second setup for the most common wind (which for me is a northwest or north-northwest wind). That's the orange dot. It has the first deer into the plot thinking that when they come in from the top of the field (east or on the right of the drawing) that they have the ability to have entered the field with a good wind in their face and can visually check it before coming in. But as you guessed it, they don't have me.

For you...
If you can use trail cameras or already know which spots the deer are entering the field, you can play the wind and hunt close to the field. BUT - If the deer aren't showing up until later, you'll have to move up the ridge. If you have to do this, I would try to come up with the best educated guess that you can for how they use the winds to determine their bedding for the day. To me this is the key to success (your best guess based on scouting and wind when they moved to bedding). As I'm sure you know, they will choose to bed on different side of those higher ridges to have a visual look down and the wind at their back (or swirling - they like that too) while bedded during the day.

So you add things together that you know. Start with what you know about where they want to enter the field based on the current winds while you are hunting and using your best guess as to where they have bedded for the day, you should then position yourself along trails, ridges or other land features that let you setup to have the wind advantage.

Keep in mind that generally the deer want to have the wind in their face or actually prefer it quartering to them when walking. So if you know how the wind works in your area and can guestimate how the deer used it to their advantage when heading to bed and then how they will use it when coming down in the evening.
 

hillrunner

5 year old buck +
How do you guys set up on a crop field edge that has a steep hill behind it... see pic (the far hill)View attachment 26783

Trial and error is the best way I've been able to locate spots that the wind behaves in those hills if your trying to hunt low. Your best bet in that spot is a south wind coming across that open field without bouncing off the hills on each side, not an easy thing to get. I like to look for calm winds to hunt those areas sensitive to swirling . Either that or set a sealed up blind there and forget about the wind.
 

FarmerDan

5 year old buck +
There are a number of subjects that bother me because all I can do is throw my hands into the air. Women. Religion. The meaning of life, and the never-ending discussion of wind's effect on our interactions with deer. I'm going to confess, I'm not going to come to any solid conclusions or strategies or tactics about any of them. I guess the facts are a deer's sense of smell is several magnitudes greater than, perhaps, any of us can understand. Or, so I've heard. Yet, there times when deer are standing right below me, just feet from me, and they seem to not know I am there. Other times I can't get within a thousand yards. Fact number 2a and 2b. Cold air falls and warm air rises. My problem has been, when I start in the morning it can be damn cold and by the time I stop it's starting to get damn warm. Is there a time when it's damn perfect? I'm not sure there are any other facts...only variable of which there may be a dozen. I can't handle more than three at a time.

What do I do? Hope for the best. Get as scent free as I can. Make the best calculation I can - and go. To me, this is all a big experiment. When it doesn't work out, or if it does, try to figure out what made it so. Then, find another similar circumstance. Pretty vague, I know, but after ample consideration the way the variables play out is really rather dependent on the natural circumstances.

Lot's of good advice and suggestion above, but if it isn't hitting, you, you're not alone. Come join me as I bumble thru the land just as I have for the last 55 years.
 

4wanderingeyes

5 year old buck +
My issue with wind, isn’t me trying to figure out the wind, but someone needs to tell the deer to stop coming in from the wrong direction. My deer come in from all directions, they aren’t very well trail trained, and Wander all over the woods. When I think I am hunting down wind, those dirty bastards come in from a different direction. I will need to try to train them better!
 
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Scott S

5 year old buck +
My issue with wind, isn’t me trying to figure out the wind, but someone needs to tell the deer to stop coming in from the wrong direction. My deer come in from all directions, they aren’t very well trail trained, and Wander all over the woods. When I think I am hunting down wind, those dirty bastards come in from a different direction. I will need to try to train them better!
Shoot one of them to send a message to the others.
 

S.T.Fanatic

5 year old buck +
get your hands on a couple dozen smoke bombs. When working out in the field light them in several different locations with several different wind directions and record how the smoke behaves. Might not be the best for this season anymore but over time you will be able to figure out how the wind/thermals behave.
 
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