By Mark Kenyon
I pulled out my phone, tapped the small blue icon, and waited patiently with excitement in my eye. I quickly navigated the app, hit refresh and crossed my fingers.
Yes! There it was. A 10-15 degree drop in temperature on the way in just a few days. The much awaited cold front!
I think it’s fair to say that you know you’re a big buck addict when you check the weather 10 times a day – just dying for good weather to roll in – and this addiction is for a good reason! Nothing, in my opinion, impacts mature buck movement more than weather – specifically cold weather and the weather fronts that push those cold temps into the area.
Learn to capitalize on these cold fronts, and you’ll be on your way to a dramatically more successful hunting season.
The Value of Cold Fronts
Just a little over a week ago a substantial cold front hit lower Michigan, and I anticipated it would trigger our first good run of mature buck activity. Sure enough the day after the front hit, with 10 degree cooler temps and precipitation, I saw two Pope & Young bucks in one evening sit.
If you’ve spent any significant amount of time in the woods hunting, I imagine you’ve probably seen similar behavior. The day or two after a major cold front moves in can be some of the best hunts of the year, as deer feel more comfortable exerting energy while wearing their warm winter coat. Also, from what I’ve seen, deer are more likely to hit food sources in the daylight during cold fronts, as they are in greater need of refilling their energy reserves.
In the book “Giant Whitetails” by Mark & Terry Drury, they detail a similar explanation…
“Cool weather changes the psyche of mature bucks. Wrapped in big, thick coats, they don’t move much when it’s 70 degrees. But – BAM! – a cold front hits, and suddenly their internal cooling systems work again. Big deer get up and walk, searching for does and nudging them around. Cool weather makes deer more comfortable, just like it puts a skip in your step.”
How To Capitalize On Cold Fronts
With a cold front on the way, the next task at hand is to decide how to best hunt it. The answer to this conundrum is very much dependent on what time of year it is, but one consistent thing is that you need to be on stand! It’s also safe to assume that deer will travel later into the morning, and earlier in the evening as well. So make sure you stay on stand long enough in the AM, and get there early enough in the PM.
Another consistently exciting cold front opportunity is around food sources. As mentioned earlier, post cold-front deer typically go on a feeding spree – so if you can get set-up between bedding and food, or right on food, you can put yourself in a great position. Grains, such as the WINA Whitetail Oats plot pictured above, corn, isolated mast trees or brassicas can all be great food sources to check out during this time frame.
If your cold front is during the rut, stick to your typical rut hunting stand locations. The only difference should be that you ought to plan on even better action than usual! Nothing gets my heart pumping more than a cold front hitting in early November! It just doesn’t get much better than that.
Check Weather, See Cold Front, Hunt
Tomorrow a cold front is blowing through my hunting area of Southern Michigan, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I’ve been holding off on hunting for the last week or so given the warm temps, but now it’s game time.
While I realize none of this is probably too revolutionary, I think the importance of cold fronts is well worth the reminder.The morale of the story here is as simple as that cold fronts equal big buck movement. If you don’t already, you should be checking the weather religiously. And if possible, you should plan your hunting excursions to coincide with these cold fronts as often as you can.
So now repeat after me … Check weather, see cold front, hunt…. Check weather, see cold front, hunt… Check weather, see cold front, hunt.
Very good. I think you’ve got it!
With that said, when that next cold front hits your area I hope you’ll have a chance to get out and capitalize. When you do, be sure to send us a note and let us know about your success.
Good luck and shoot straight my friends!
Do you have any other thoughts or tips related to hunting cold fronts? Please share in the comments!