Managing swirling winds

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hunterstoots34
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Managing swirling winds

Unread postby hunterstoots34 » Sun Jan 19, 2020 9:39 am

I live in Pennsylvania and have sat around many campfires. Without fail, everybody sitting around the campfire has smoke blowing in their face at some point in the day or night. No matter where the fire is, whether it’s in the hills or in the middle of a flat field the swirling wind still occurs. So my question is, if you’re trying to play the wind when hunting whitetails how could you possibly do this if the wind changes it’s direction every 5 minutes. Any input would be greatly appreciated.


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Re: Managing swirling winds

Unread postby Jdw » Sun Jan 19, 2020 10:07 am

The best way I have found to understand wind and thermal currents is to spend a lot of time releasing milkweed under different conditions and take good notes.

Pay attention to the milkweed for as long as you can see it. The wind currents in the distance are not always the same as the wind where you are sitting.
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Re: Managing swirling winds

Unread postby raisins » Sun Jan 19, 2020 12:45 pm

I live in WV, so it's probably the same.

I have good luck with wind on plateaus, on the windward side of hills, on ridgetops if the wind is blowing parallel to the ridgeline. Also, the best days tend to be medium wind speed. I had horrible luck hunting the leeward side of hills this year, which is where bucks like to bed not coincidentally.

Around here, I believe most leeward side wind problems are caused by turbulence and vacuum caused by pressure changes (Bernoulli effect) and not due to thermals. You can see this because the "backward" wind direction increases as the dominant wind speed increases. This would not be the case if it was driven by thermals. Thermals have an effect, but I feel they are sometimes overstated.

Some places the land just causes horrible swirls, and those areas tend to hold big bucks as a result. I had two pope and young brother bucks (a big 9 and big 10) that lived in such a land form this year and I never even got close.

If the wind only changes direction momentarily, then your scent is caught and directed away from the deer before it gets to them once the wind switches back to dominant direction (often enough anyways).

Several times this year, I've gotten down and not hunted on a bad wind day. I think this is better than sticking it out and alerting deer.

I've had many days where the wind was about perfect all day (I describe perfect wind as steady/not changing directions and at at least a 90 degree angle to where I think the deer will be coming from).
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Re: Managing swirling winds

Unread postby PK_ » Sun Jan 19, 2020 2:50 pm

Don’t judge wind current consistency by a campfire... there is a lot more going on there than what meets the eye. campfires will blow into your face because the heat draws air (thermals) towards the fire and any object or person that sits next to the fire creates a void in airflow or a vacuum or an area of low pressure. So now the thermals are pulling into the fire stronger from every other direction and therefore pushing the smoke towards the object (into your face).

Start paying attention to the bodies around the fire, if they aren’t evenly spaced, when someone gets up or sits down... it becomes pretty predictable on where the smoke is going to blow...

Walk your hunting area during a variety of weather conditions and drop milkweed. This will show you the truth.
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Re: Managing swirling winds

Unread postby raisins » Sun Jan 19, 2020 6:12 pm

PK_ wrote:Don’t judge wind current consistency by a campfire... there is a lot more going on there than what meets the eye. campfires will blow into your face because the heat draws air (thermals) towards the fire and any object or person that sits next to the fire creates a void in airflow or a vacuum or an area of low pressure. So now the thermals are pulling into the fire stronger from every other direction and therefore pushing the smoke towards the object (into your face).

Start paying attention to the bodies around the fire, if they aren’t evenly spaced, when someone gets up or sits down... it becomes pretty predictable on where the smoke is going to blow...

Walk your hunting area during a variety of weather conditions and drop milkweed. This will show you the truth.


I didn't think of this, but this is exactly spot on. Fires cause their own thermals and unique flows because there is so much heat generated. I don't think fires are a good analogy for us for deer winds.

I agree with OP that hill country causes wind issues very often, but it isn't nearly as bad as the fire situation. You can find days of very good wind direction in hill country (if the terrain is right where you are at). Large scale wild fires causes very intense and weird winds because the fire causes hot air to rise (a very low pressure area) and wind rushes in very quickly from higher pressure areas that surround it.

Like someone else said, keep dropping milkweed and trying to learn. Learning wind flow this year was one of my biggest eye openers.

I was helped a lot by studying wind predictions on weather underground web site and also getting wind rose data from NOAA (charts that show the distribution of dominant wind direction for your location).
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Re: Managing swirling winds

Unread postby brancher147 » Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:24 pm

If you have a campfire then it’s probably light or calm wind. Light or calm winds swirl much more than a stronger wind 10 or 15+mph usually. Wind swirls more lower down and on certain terrain features.
Start using milkweed and consider thermals. Thermals are always consistent once you learn how they behave in different areas.
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Re: Managing swirling winds

Unread postby Horizontal Hunter » Mon Jan 20, 2020 12:45 am

Jdw wrote:The best way I have found to understand wind and thermal currents is to spend a lot of time releasing milkweed under different conditions and take good notes.

Pay attention to the milkweed for as long as you can see it. The wind currents in the distance are not always the same as the wind where you are sitting.


This will show you what is happening at that level.

Sometimes going a few feet higher or lower, or even changing trees, can change the airflow enough to make a difference.

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Re: Managing swirling winds

Unread postby Bogle » Mon Jan 20, 2020 4:20 am

I struggle with this as well. Even when we get strong winds just before a storm I still seem to get some type of swirling affect. I drop milkweed constantly but I still seem to get some type of swirling wind. I try to play the wind and climb as high as possible in hopes that the swirls will be minimized.
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Re: Managing swirling winds

Unread postby Boogieman1 » Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:58 am

In the bottoms I hunt the air is always swirling. I hunt thermal and pay close attention to air pressure and location of the sun.
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Re: Managing swirling winds

Unread postby Mibowhunter91 » Mon Jan 20, 2020 11:53 am

I learned a hard lesson a few years ago on a real nice buck set up on him on the edge of mature hardwoods and a young pine planting the difference In height of the trees caused the wind to curl back on its self at exactly the wrong time when that buck needed to take 2 more steps


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