I’ve heard a lot of debates about playing the wind in hunting situations. For some hunters, playing the wind is a key element in their strategy.
Other hunters will pay attention to the wind but aren’t overly concerned with it, while a few hutners couldn’t tell you which way the wind is blowing and don’t really care.
So how important is the wind direction and your ability to use it to your advantage? With all the new technology in scent control clothing and scent eliminator sprays do you really need to play the wind?
What is “Playing the Wind”
First of all lets define “playing the wind”. This is simply using wind direction to your advantage. As most of us know, a deer’s nose is their biggest line of defense. Placing yourself downwind of where you expect to see deer will make it much harder for the deer to pick up on your scent.
You can’t always determine wind direction or from which direction deer are going to come from relevant to your location.
With that said, if you know a little bit about the pattern of the deer on your property and pay close attention to the wind direction before and during your hunt, you can put yourself in a position where you are downwind of the deer most of the time.
This means, theoretically, that your scent molecules aren’t going to blow towards the deer’s nose but rather away from it – meaning there is less chance of them detecting you through their powerful scent glands.
Eliminate Your Scent
It is my belief that you should try to eliminate your scent as much as possible before each hunt, especially if you are hunting for a big buck. Do as many as these as possible to eliminate human scent:
- Take a shower using a hunter’s soap/shampoo
- Wash your clothes in scent control laundry soap
- Brush your teeth and use a hunters breath spray
- Store your clothes in a scent free container
- Dress outside and away from any manmade smells
- Wear rubber boots that don’t hold scent
- Spray down with a scent elimination spray including all your equipment
If you follow the above steps before each hunt you will see more deer and have better success overall.
Playing the Wind = More Success!
Even with all these scent eliminating tips, I still try to play the wind. That’s right! It’s a fact that you can’t completely eliminate 100% of your human scent.
A deer’s scent glands are extremely powerful and whether you leave scent on your way to the stand or a deer picks up on scent molecules carried by the wind from your location, they will associate it with danger and leave the area.
If you are serious about deer hunting and dedicated to being a more successful deer hunter then you’ll want to tip the scales in your favor anyway you can, right?. So being overly anal about eliminating your scent before heading out into the field AND playing the wind will be to your advantage.
So whether playing the wind is right, wrong, or necessary is really up to each individual hunter. But for most serious big buck hunters it isn’t a matter of choice.