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Whitetail Tips: How Cloud Cover Affects Deer Movement

September 19, 2011
Whitetail Tips: How Cloud Cover Affects Deer Movement - 0

Last week we talked about wind direction, wind speed and their effects on deer activity. With that in mind, we can now apply cloud types.  We will keep it simple and talk about the most common ones.  These are divided into low, middle and high cloud types. Each one is affected differently by the wind.

Low Clouds
Let’s start with low, which run from ground level to around 6000’.  Stratus and Nimbostratus my personal favorites, both resemble fog and are sometimes accompanied by drizzle or light rain!  With an east quadrant wind it will rain, with a west quadrant it will be overcast.  Both are excellent for whitetail hunting.  The common middle clouds, lets say 6000 feet to more than 12,000 feet above ground are altocumulus and altostratus again wind direction affects the incoming weather. 

With altocumulus you can expect overcast conditions unless the wind shifts to a south to NE direction.  If it does it will almost always rain in 24 hours.  Deer know this too, and the pm or am hunting period coming up is going to be very good if you have the correct stand placement for the wind.  Altostratus usually will bring continuous rain, if it’s blowing from an easterly direction you have about 10-15 hours.  Movement will be good before and after this cloud type. 

High Clouds
Now let’s get a look at two common high cloud types, cirrus and cumulous.  The first is considered a fair weather cloud and is associated with high pressure systems.  Cumulous clouds are also considered a fair weather cloud unless they contain or build vertically then you have a chance of thunderstorms.  Both of these clouds types can and will produce rain if the wind shifts to NE to south, usually within 24 hours!  By knowing this we can predict deer activity.  Here’s an example: Let’s say you see alto cumulous clouds and you have an east wind. I would try and get out within the next 12 hours and hunt because deer will be moving.  Now it clears out, the wind shifts clockwise to a westerly direction and you have cirrus clouds.  I know the barometer is rising and I would hunt this window also, especially during morning hours after an evening storm.

There are many more cloud types and wind direction combinations and I’m just scratching the surface, but this is the basis in which cloud forecasting was built around on Outdoor Life weather. To find the weather forecast and deer movement predictions where you hunt go to OL Weather.

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