Of the field reports that have trickled in this week, all point to a major slowdown in deer activity. Whether that’s attributable to the theory of an October lull or to the warm and windy weather that’s invaded the central Plains this week, I’ll leave for you to decide. Either way, deer sightings have decreased throughout much of the region.
Farther up the map, in North Dakota, this high-pressure system has blown in some moisture along with it, with Minot reporting light rain along with the high winds. The rest of the Great Plains will remain dry, and windy, at least to the weekend. And when I say windy, I mean 30 to 40 mph sustained wind, with gusts forecast to reach 50 and even 60 mph Wednesday and Thursday. Nothing will lock up deer activity faster than high winds, leading to increased movement at night when winds typically subside.
On the plus side of the wind-driven equation, the first calm day after an extended wind event can be one of the best times to be on stand. Deer that have been all but immobile will typically be on their feet longer on a calm day, staying out feeding well into the daylight hours. Bucks that may have been locked down due to wind often go on a binge, checking existing scrapes and making new ones in advance of the coming rut.
If the weatherman is right, the high winds scouring the Plains Wednesday and Thursday should die down dramatically Thursday night. Forecasts for much of the region put wind speeds at 5-10 mph Friday. Plan on calling in sick that morning and get yourself in a stand near a green field or over a scrape just inside the wood line for your best chance of intercepting a hungry, wind-worn buck on the prowl.