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Winter storm hunting advice needed

Steve Foss

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Up here in Ely, we're getting a really big blow with a dump of snow overnight and into tomorrow. We're talking up to 4 inches of snow, sustained winds out of the northwest from 20-35 mph with gusts to over 50 mph. Youch! Supposed to moderate a bit after noon tomorrow. Temps should remain in the 30s

No matter what the weather, I'm out there hunting. My thought is to take things really easy and sneak as slowly as humanly possible through alder bogs and low cedar stands to look for bedded deer. The area near the Bdub that I hunt also has some rocky ridges with low country on either side, and I figured to look in on the sheltered side of those ridges, too.

But the rut is on and most rub and scrape lines up here tend to be in pretty heavily forested areas that offer protection from the wind. Do you think deer will stay bedded through this blow, or do you reckon the bucks will be out chasing does in the woods?

Deer were more active this afternoon than they had been in this warm weather. My assumption is that it was in anticipation of the weather change. I saw a couple road hunters score from where I was, though I had nothing within range.

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It has been my experience, and most knowledgeable authorities seem to agree, that deer lock up tight when the wind is blowing. You will almost have to step on one to get 'em up ( I once shot a deer so close it had powder burns on it!)

I'd wait until the big blow and snow has finished, then mosey on out. Watch the woods carefully when you have a chance...you'll see that when its really windy, not much is going on.

Have fun.

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Head to the thickets Steve, hunt into the wind and go very slow! Glass alot. My favorite way to hunt is to still hunt when there is wind and falling snow. I too have shot many deer in thier bed, some at ranges close enough to see snow flakes on the eyelashes! While you do not have it up there to hunt, standing corn will off the same opportunities. The longest shot I have ever taken while walking corn during a snowstorm is 31 feet. All have gotten a headache.

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Well, I'd have thought they'd have hung tight to thick cover and beds, too, but it weren't so. I spooked one doe bedded on the lee side of a ridge by coming in a little too high up the ridge and she winded me.

But there was other fresh sign (it snowed all morning, and the tracks were new) that bucks were working scrape lines, or paired with does, or just wandering. I saw one pretty fresh set working a scrape, another probably from late the night before where a buck appeared to have gotten lucky, and one set just mosying along.

I trailed the mosying buck, because the tracks were brand spanking new, through an old logging cut, and of course the challenge became getting across that slippery slash without breaking my legs. The deer had been moving across the wind, and I didn't get a look at him before he turned downwind and I gave up. No point tracking a deer that's downwind when you're in thick country.

Anyway, didn't get a shot at the doe that flushed, and that was it. Would have picked a good spot and just sat to wait them out since they were moving, but like a fool I left my raingear at home, and those woods were soaking wet so I ended up getting soaked through, and had to keep moving to stay warm. Yeah, I know, doh! blush.gif

The wind blew strong all day (gusts to nearly 40 mph) even though the snow ended late morning. We're looking for another winter storm tonight/tomorrow with up to five inches of fresh stuff, and the temps have dropped enough that this all should stay around if we get it.

While I love the big woods/wilderness hunting experience, sometimes when I just need to fill the freezer (got one doe so far this year), I wish I was back in farm country like Tom. I'm still getting the hang of big woods deer and where they like to party and eat (so far, logging cuts with young aspen have been the key). Until I moved here, all my hunting had been North Dakota or Wisconsin farm country, with a short stint in the Colorado mountains. I may have to get to know some folks down in the hay fields around Embarrass or over by Cook and see if I can get in some hunting there. Mix in a little wilderness hunting with places where populations are a lot higher. Sort of the best of both worlds.

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