I have been compiling a deer log for a number of years. It contains pertinent data on every deer the family has taken since I got my start in the early 80’s. I didn’t start compiling it until about a decade ago, but I knew the dates and times of the kills. From there, I was able to extract a lot of items. For instance, you can get the weather info from Accuweather.com and the Weather Underground.
My latest addition was the age of the moon at the time of the kill. I’d recorded the phase (Full, New, etc.); however, I wanted to be a bit more exact. This site gives the age of the moon in days for a given month/year. What I found was that we have taken more deer on a waxing rather than a waning moon, and the average age of the moon when we’ve killed deer is 11 days. Furthermore, morning hunts were dramatically more successful than evening hunts under a waning moon.
Our camp has had a lot better success in the morning than the evening. I can think of a bunch of reasons for that that are not related to deer activity. First off, a hunter in our camp usually takes at least a half-day rest after killing a deer. Therefore, if you bag one in the morning, you are less likely to hunt in the afternoon. Additionally, we have generally stopped hunting at noon on Sunday. The reason is the practicalities of getting home for work on Monday as well as the nigh-impossibility to find a processor open late on Sunday. However, there is a 3-to-2 difference of AM vs PM kills. As I mentioned in the post yesterday, the big revelation in this log is in the time the deer were shot. Far and away, the best time for us has been 0800 to 0900, followed by 0900 to 1000. The last hour of light comes in third. Before 0800, there are only a handful, but they include two of our biggest bucks
Weather is a definte factor. I track temperature, pressure, wind and precipitation.
Temperature: A lot of the temperature data is going to be skewed due to where we are and how and when we hunt. What I can say is that no deer have been shot with the temperature below 32 F or above 69 F. In the afternoon, the temperatures have been evenly distributed. In the morning, there were about the same number of deer taken above 42 F as below. Remember this is Mid-to-Late November in Greater Ohio Valley. These are normal temperatures for the region.
Barometric Pressure: There is a 3-to-2 relationship of a rising or steady barometer versus a falling one. The way it was explained to me was that cows, deer, and their ilk experience bloating when the outside pressure falls. Their response is to bed down. That makes sense. Somewhere along the way, I heard 29.80 to 30.28 was the comfort zone for deer. The data indeed shows that our kills were 4-to-1 in the comfort zone versus out of the zone. However, I would caution that November in the Greater Ohio Valley usually sees the barometer in that zone. Only 1 deer in 10 were taken below 29.80.
Wind: The average wind speed when the deer were taken was 5.6 MPH. We have shot 5 deer in wind speeds over 10 MPH, and one at 24 MPH. However, 4-to-1, the cutoff seems to be at 7 MPH. As far as direction, the data favors WSW and SW and very few deer were taken with winds blowing from NE to ESE. None were taken with winds blowing directly from N.
Clouds and Rain: The cloud cover is fairly evenly distributed. However, we have only one kill registered in the rain. I remember that one vividly. I was holed up in the luxury box at Midway overlooking the Garden of Stone. We had been getting squalls of horizontal rain since first light. When the rain let up around 0900 a herd of doe came out to feed. The lead doe stuck her head in the blind. She got away, but one of the doe trailing her got Whelenized. Is hunting in the rain bad? No. I personally do not enjoy it all that much, but that is because it is hard on gear. What I usually do is stay inside until I can see the rain ending, and then make sure I am in position for when the rain stops.
Why no snow? Simple, it hardly ever snows during October and November. I have hunted exactly once in the past 15 years with snow on the ground in November. I saw a nice buck, but I had already filled my tag.-