What does it mean to hunt an 'off wind'?

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What does it mean to hunt an 'off wind'?

Unread postby d_rek » Fri Sep 28, 2018 4:16 am

Wanted to make sure I understand fully what an 'off wind' is for an area before burning a sit. Going to a river bottom oxbow that I hunted last year that had some incredible sign. When I hunted it I had the wind in my face on the walk in and during the sit. I saw a deer but it came from an unexpected direction. In hindsight I think I hunted it on the wrong wind, and the deer I saw was bumped by another hunter upwind - either scent bump or heard him coming through the brushy area - of the deer that was moving toward me but from a the unexpected direction. I know the other hunter was there because I dropped him off at that location...

If I understand correctly deer will usually bed on the oxbows when the wind is blowing into them. For example: if this oxbow is setup that a wind blowing into it is a SW wind, then an offwind to hunt it would be a SE or W wind to hunt the edges of the oxbow. Correct?

Here's a drawing i made of the area and some potential stand sites based on the wind.

Thanks,
d_rek

Edit: updated pic had the wrong wind direction for stands

Image


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Re: What does it mean to hunt an 'off wind'?

Unread postby dgfinley6 » Fri Sep 28, 2018 5:02 am

I am new to the beast tactics, but to my understanding your setups look correct. I am curious to see what others with more experience will say.
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Re: What does it mean to hunt an 'off wind'?

Unread postby d_rek » Fri Sep 28, 2018 7:10 am

New picture... last one was apparently 'too detailed' ha ha...

Regarding wind direction from OP... just flip it. Same idea. Deer will bed on the oxbow when there is a NW wind; so I should hunt the edges on a W/NW window or a N/NE wind? Right?

Image
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Re: What does it mean to hunt an 'off wind'?

Unread postby Ashreve93 » Fri Sep 28, 2018 7:34 am

In this instance, why would the deer walk past either of those stands? Draw the exit trail on the map. Keep in mind, the entrance rail varies, the exit, not so much.
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Re: What does it mean to hunt an 'off wind'?

Unread postby d_rek » Fri Sep 28, 2018 8:08 am

Ashreve93 wrote:In this instance, why would the deer walk past either of those stands? Draw the exit trail on the map. Keep in mind, the entrance rail varies, the exit, not so much.


There were trails on either side of the oxbow. One led off to some doe bedding, and the other went in the direction of a large Ag field.

I have a good idea which trail I need to setup on early season, just wanted to know about how they use oxbow bedding.
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Re: What does it mean to hunt an 'off wind'?

Unread postby Double Draw » Fri Sep 28, 2018 9:39 am

I like to think of the 'just off wind' by beginning with a compass rose. You can divide it into 1/8's for our purposes...N, NW, W, SW, and so on. You want to be an eighth off from the wind. It is risky but it is the necessary risk many times with mature deer. In your second drawing let's assume the exit trail goes almost straight north from the bedding. You stealthily set up off the trail maybe 75 yards from the bedding on the west side of the trail. This would be a just off wind for a NE wind. Switch to the east side if the trail and a NW wind is a just of wind. Of course real life hunting is more complex so deer on other trails may tip your hand. There are also thermals to consider. And slight shifts in the wind can do you in. But that is the risk for the big boy.
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Re: What does it mean to hunt an 'off wind'?

Unread postby tgreeno » Fri Sep 28, 2018 11:09 am

"off-wind" refers to...The wind is in the bucks favor, but it's angled enough to just avoid him while bedded and on his approach, so you can still hunt it. Maybe a 15 degree angle off blowing to him. Sometimes it can be a gamble. Sometimes it's the only way to hunt a spot.
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Re: What does it mean to hunt an 'off wind'?

Unread postby d_rek » Fri Sep 28, 2018 11:35 am

Double Draw wrote:I like to think of the 'just off wind' by beginning with a compass rose. You can divide it into 1/8's for our purposes...N, NW, W, SW, and so on. You want to be an eighth off from the wind. It is risky but it is the necessary risk many times with mature deer. In your second drawing let's assume the exit trail goes almost straight north from the bedding. You stealthily set up off the trail maybe 75 yards from the bedding on the west side of the trail. This would be a just off wind for a NE wind. Switch to the east side if the trail and a NW wind is a just of wind. Of course real life hunting is more complex so deer on other trails may tip your hand. There are also thermals to consider. And slight shifts in the wind can do you in. But that is the risk for the big boy.


Ok. That’s Pretty much what I thought it meant then. Thanks!
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Re: What does it mean to hunt an 'off wind'?

Unread postby Ashreve93 » Fri Sep 28, 2018 11:58 am

I was hoping you would draw the trails, no big deal.

This would be your tactic if purple is their exit trail.
Black is wind direction.
Green is your stand.
Youd come in from the east and sit 20 yards from the trail, 75 yards from the bedding(roughly). This way, you'd be just "off wind."

Image

The benefit is, the buck trusts that trail because he can smell it, nose to wind. When in all reality, your odor is going 20 yards east of him, "just off wind."
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Re: What does it mean to hunt an 'off wind'?

Unread postby Ashreve93 » Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:00 pm

Double Draw wrote:I like to think of the 'just off wind' by beginning with a compass rose. You can divide it into 1/8's for our purposes...N, NW, W, SW, and so on. You want to be an eighth off from the wind. It is risky but it is the necessary risk many times with mature deer. In your second drawing let's assume the exit trail goes almost straight north from the bedding. You stealthily set up off the trail maybe 75 yards from the bedding on the west side of the trail. This would be a just off wind for a NE wind. Switch to the east side if the trail and a NW wind is a just of wind. Of course real life hunting is more complex so deer on other trails may tip your hand. There are also thermals to consider. And slight shifts in the wind can do you in. But that is the risk for the big boy.


A lot of risk there, but if all goes well, you'll have a Good story to tell at the end of the night.
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Re: What does it mean to hunt an 'off wind'?

Unread postby Bonecrusher101 » Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:20 pm

Well covered!
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Re: What does it mean to hunt an 'off wind'?

Unread postby backstrap19 » Fri Sep 28, 2018 1:42 pm

Ashreve, that was an excellent visual and explanation. I don't think it could be done any better. thanks for sharing that. i think many many people will benefit from what you posted and added to the visual.
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Re: What does it mean to hunt an 'off wind'?

Unread postby d_rek » Fri Sep 28, 2018 4:37 pm

Ashreve93 wrote:I was hoping you would draw the trails, no big deal.

This would be your tactic if purple is their exit trail.
Black is wind direction.
Green is your stand.
Youd come in from the east and sit 20 yards from the trail, 75 yards from the bedding(roughly). This way, you'd be just "off wind."

Image

The benefit is, the buck trusts that trail because he can smell it, nose to wind. When in all reality, your odor is going 20 yards east of him, "just off wind."


Hey sorry i got busy at work and with the family afterwards. I identified two trails coming out from the bedding area. One was lightly used running towards in the general direction of some ag fields. I did not get to walk back that trail all the way though. The other trail was fairly heavily used and I found some good prints. I see what you're saying about how to setup though.

Image

So to be clear your not waiting for the WIND TO BE OFF you are SITTING at a location that is off wind. Now i get it. But do you think it would hurt to have the wind be slightly off as well? Ie: for stand 1 be just a little more westerly, and stand 1 be just a smidge more northerly? I get that the bucks will use that bedding based on having a good wind blowing into it, but will they abandon it if the wind itself is 'just off'?

Ok, to further analyze this spot... I was thinking that stand 1 might be suitable for an early season hunt because that trail led in the general direction of AG fields. There may be something else along that trail but I wasn't able to walk it back. Stand 2 went to a rut funnel that connects to some adjacent doe bedding. I know this because I scouted the bedding and found lots of droppings in the area, but very little buck sign.
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Re: What does it mean to hunt an 'off wind'?

Unread postby Double Draw » Fri Sep 28, 2018 5:03 pm

d_rek wrote:
Ashreve93 wrote:I was hoping you would draw the trails, no big deal.

This would be your tactic if purple is their exit trail.
Black is wind direction.
Green is your stand.
Youd come in from the east and sit 20 yards from the trail, 75 yards from the bedding(roughly). This way, you'd be just "off wind."

Image

The benefit is, the buck trusts that trail because he can smell it, nose to wind. When in all reality, your odor is going 20 yards east of him, "just off wind."


Hey sorry i got busy at work and with the family afterwards. I identified two trails coming out from the bedding area. One was lightly used running towards in the general direction of some ag fields. I did not get to walk back that trail all the way though. The other trail was fairly heavily used and I found some good prints. I see what you're saying about how to setup though.

Image

So to be clear your not waiting for the WIND TO BE OFF you are SITTING at a location that is off wind. Now i get it. But do you think it would hurt to have the wind be slightly off as well? Ie: for stand 1 be just a little more westerly, and stand 1 be just a smidge more northerly? I get that the bucks will use that bedding based on having a good wind blowing into it, but will they abandon it if the wind itself is 'just off'?
Ok, to further analyze this spot... I was thinking that stand 1 might be suitable for an early season hunt because that trail led in the general direction of AG fields. There may be something else along that trail but I wasn't able to walk it back. Stand 2 went to a rut funnel that connects to some adjacent doe bedding. I know this because I scouted the bedding and found lots of droppings in the area, but very little buck sign.


It absolutely might go wrong. They may smell you or the wind may shift. But to me that is the very essence of hunting mature bucks...outwitting a deer in its prime using calculated risk. There is a razor-thin line between blowing a spot and getting a chance at a big one but I love that challenge.
One other thing to consider...I am not sure how big of any area this is nor how large the creek/river is but that water could do some strange things to thermals and thus your scent. Take some milkweed with you when you hunt it.
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Re: What does it mean to hunt an 'off wind'?

Unread postby Ashreve93 » Sat Sep 29, 2018 2:34 pm

d_rek wrote:Hey sorry i got busy at work and with the family afterwards. I identified two trails coming out from the bedding area. One was lightly used running towards in the general direction of some ag fields. I did not get to walk back that trail all the way though. The other trail was fairly heavily used and I found some good prints. I see what you're saying about how to setup though.

Image

So to be clear your not waiting for the WIND TO BE OFF you are SITTING at a location that is off wind. Now i get it. But do you think it would hurt to have the wind be slightly off as well? Ie: for stand 1 be just a little more westerly, and stand 1 be just a smidge more northerly? I get that the bucks will use that bedding based on having a good wind blowing into it, but will they abandon it if the wind itself is 'just off'?

Ok, to further analyze this spot... I was thinking that stand 1 might be suitable for an early season hunt because that trail led in the general direction of AG fields. There may be something else along that trail but I wasn't able to walk it back. Stand 2 went to a rut funnel that connects to some adjacent doe bedding. I know this because I scouted the bedding and found lots of droppings in the area, but very little buck sign.


No worries at all! It's just easier to help for something like this with the trails. But you pretty much got it.

Double draw hit on this breifly. You typically have about 1/8th of a compass of room for a deer to sit there same spot. Now, he May change which bed within the bedding area he uses. There are actually spots that require there to be a slightly off wind in order for you to hunt it. In other words, in this instance, spot one would not work well with a northwest wind, but would work great with a NNW wind. The buck is still going to sit in that Thicket regardless of which of the two winds he's going to get, but you'll be able to sit on him with a NNW wind from spot 1.

But keep in mind.. every deer is different, if he doesn't like the spot when the wind isn't perfect, he will simply change spots.. you can hunt spot 1 on a more Westerly wind, you'll just have to cross the trail, then shoot him before he steps where you crossed. There are many alternatives. One including water thermals, spot 1 may be useless but spot 2 may be perfect because the way the water thermals pull your scent. The only way to know for sure is to use milkweed.. even if you blow the spot for the season, use your resources to set up perfectly next year.

Give the stand a sit! See what happens and learn from it. Good luck!
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