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  • Zach Haas

Hunting the Wind and Thermals

Updated: Sep 27, 2019

When everyone starts positioning new stands or relocating current stands they start to think how the wind may or may not affect the area. Well in addition to wind we must all take into consideration thermal activity. To truly pick the right stand we must take both wind and thermals into consideration.


Wind vs. Thermals


Wind is moving air and is caused in our atmosphere by differences in air pressure. Air moves under high pressure to low-pressure areas. The higher the pressure difference, the faster the air flows. Wind can be much more consistent as it is typically felt as a gust or steady movement. Wind can be deflected by the Coriolis effect which simply is how a moving object (wind) seems to veer toward the right in the Northern hemisphere. So in a way you can say winds are predictable as long as you know the pressures in your area and what forces may cause a deflection of the wind (woods, buildings, tall prairie, etc.)


Thermals are a columns of rising or sinking air in the lower altitudes of Earth's atmosphere caused by the heating and cooling of the Earth's surface. During the morning thermals are on the rise as the earth heats up with the sun rising, and during the evening thermals are dropping as the sun sets and the earth cools down. The concept is simple, warm air rises, and cool air falls. Thermals carry scent up and down with them based on this cooling/heating process.


Hunting with Wind and Thermals

Knowing now that you have two forces that ultimately dictate your scents movement while hunting you must rethink that spot you want a new stand. Is this spot a morning or evening stand based on how your thermals will rise? What would the optimum wind be if your thermals are dropping or what would it be if the thermals are rising? To get started on how to set up that new stand the best tool you can have it a topography map of your property, and ideally one that has satellite imagery as well. Mark the areas your deer normally bed, feed, and move throughout your property. Currently is a bedding area in a hollow below your evening stand? If yes, you may want to change this stand location to more of a morning spot to incorporate thermal rise into the area. Now also make sure that predominant winds in your area don't push the area either.


Now obviously we can't predict every situation, but start off by focusing your stand location to the predominate winds in your area, objects that may deflect the wind (plum thicket, oak savanna, etc.) and understand that the wind will want to deflect to the right (northern hemisphere only). Next, look at how the contour is setup around your stand, and understand the thermals will push your scent uphill with the wind in the morning, and downhill in the evening. Understanding how these two forces impact and work with one another will help you start making an educated decision on where to put that stand around the bedding areas, feeding sources, and travel corridors.


For more information how thermals and/or wind may impact your hunting property, please contact us to help determine ideal areas to setup your stands. Good luck this year, and let us know how this article helps this season!


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