Creating Hunting Strategies Based on Thermals, Wind Speed, Wind Direction
Filed under: Deer Hunting, Hunting Blog
A viewer recently asked for help on figuring out the thermals and wind direction for his hunting property.
It’s difficult to forecast how the wind will react to the timber and openings on a property until you get boots on the ground.
Thermals are simply air masses moving based on land and air temp. Basically, cold air is heavy and therefore sinks. Warm air is light and therefore rises. This is easy to picture on a relatively homogeneous habitat.
Understanding and using thermals to pick stand locations gets tricky when there’s a mix of shade (cool) and open (warm if sun is shining on it) habitat. In addition, as the sun’s relationship to the earth changes, so can the direction of thermals.
I try to find stand sites where the thermals and/or wind direction will remain the same during my hunt.
The combination of wind speed and direction and thermals can be tough to figure out when paired with topography and cover. Strong (10+ MPH) winds are relatively easy as they usually override thermals. When the wind speed is slower than that thermals and topo/cover may have more of an impact on wind speed.
One of our bigger food plots, Crabapple, is in a bottom – next to a creek. Plots in bottoms can be tough to hunt during warmer weather as deer tend to bed high and move down to plots to feed. The rising thermals (hot air rises) usually alerts deer to the presence of a predator (hunter) located in a bottom. However, air rarely rises when the temps are very cold.
The thermal currents should be sinking toward the creek (cold air sinks). This is more prevalent at the Crabapple plot because it is at the base of a large hill to the west. Hence the field is shaded by the sun early in the afternoon – allowing the air to cool even quicker. This often provides us the ability to enter a stand at Crabapple with the thermals in our favor.
If you want to dig deeper and see how we evaluate thermals and wind direction in planning our hunts, check out these videos: 472, 495, 507, 563, 572.
To dig even deeper and see all the videos and blogs where thermals are mentioned, enter the word “thermals” in the search box to the bottom right of the video player on the home page, select “other” from the drop down box, then click “go” on the far right of the search box.