How to Hunt Big Bucks in Warm Weather
Do you know what's better than sweat running down your crack? Shooting a big deer while sweat runs down your crack.
Unfortunately, entire-body perspiring is oftentimes a norm when hunting whitetails in warm weather. Don't use heat as an excuse to sit at home and eat tater chips, though. It isn't impossible to tag a good one while the mercury is tall. Here are 10 tips for shooting a stud when the heat is on.
1. Oversee the Stink
Scent management is important no matter the time of the season, but it's especially tedious during hot weather. As such, it's critical to dress the part and wear appropriate clothing. Having on too many layers while walking to the stand - or while sitting in it - is a bad decision. Furthermore, it's important to set a slow walking pace that reduces sweating. Take drinks, handheld fans other things that keep you cool and scent at a minimum.
2. Where the Green Grub Grows
It's been stated many times that deer go-to greens when temps are rising, and to grains (or acorns) when they're falling. In my experience, that's usually a true statement. Soybeans, clover, alfalfa, and other lush foods are solid bets at this time.
When it's warm outside and temperatures are rising, focus on green food sources. (Josh Honeycutt photo)
3. High-Quality H2O
Deer drink water multiple times per day, and research suggests they commonly head toward the water when rising from their beds in the afternoon. If water is abundant and spread out, it doesn't hold as much hunting power. However, if it's limited or condensed, hunting near it can be a solid play.
Water is a key component, whether it's hot outside or not. But when water is limited or condensed, it holds even more influence from a hunting perspective. (Josh Honeycutt photo)
4. The Bedroom Door
Deer are less inclined to move as early during warmer weather. Therefore, they typically don't make it as far from their beds in daylight. To catch them on their feet, it might take pushing in a little closer to the beds. Be careful, though, as deer sometimes sleep closer to food sources during the early season.
5. Get Low, Get Low, Get Low, Get Low
It isn't time for a 2000s Lil Jon rap song. It is time to get low and hunt areas that aren't quite as hot, though. Lower elevations near swamps, ditches, drainages, waterways and other similar locations are usually a few degrees lower, making them perfect for treestand locations. Also, falling thermals suck scent downward toward these spots, generally cascading to the lowest point in the vicinity. Hunting here with a just-off wind is risky, but can be rewarding.
6. Overhead, Underfoot
Most research suggests the moon phase has little influence over daily deer movement. But position is a different story. Moon overhead and underfoot positions aligning with crepuscular periods (dawn and dusk) seem to potentially spark increased daylight movement.
7. Pray for Rain
Few things spur deer to move like a good rain on a hot day. It can cool off a warm evening in a hurry, and I've killed good bucks after a mid- or late-afternoon rain shower. Who knows, maybe deer like a little dressing on their salad.
8. Look for a Temperature Drop
Cold fronts and temperature drops are my favorite times to hunt. Of course, this falls along the backside of a cold front, and doesn't register as warm weather itself. Still, it's a great time to be in a tree, and it's linked to hot weather.
When it's hot and deer aren't moving as much, spend some time glassing from afar to gather real-time intel. (Chantal Honeycutt photo)
9. Have an AM Adventure
If there is no temperature change, rain event, or some other reprieve from the heat, it might be good to hunt for a morning. This allows hunters to take advantage of the cooler temps when deer are more likely to get up on their feet.
Finally, it's important to be mobile. Don't get pigeon-holed into a bad or mediocre spot. Instead, carry afield a lightweight climber, or lock-on with climbing sticks, and hang it in a spot that looks best. I tagged my biggest buck ever using this method. You can, too.
The author admires a nice buck he arrowed on a hot day. (Josh Honeycutt photo)
Article and photos by Josh Honeycutt