The trick to beating thermals for both morning and evening hunting opportunities, is to make sure that your deer stand strategies cover you for hunting multiple wind directions for multiple stand sites, in one location. Do your broken terrain, hill country setups pass the test?
There are 3 basic thermal strategies that have worked well for me since first hunting the 600-700' elevation changes of Northern PA in 1993. The morning, evening and side hill thermal strategies I use have been learned the hard way for every year since, and I now enjoy using them to beat a mature buck's nose in both Wisconsin, Ohio and any other hilly state my travels take me. If you have hills where you hang your deer stands then count yourself lucky, because nothing describes a mature buck's habitat better, than broken and tough terrain.
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3 Basic Whitetail Thermal Strategies
If you can master these 3 basic strategies for beating a mature buck's nose, then you are well on your way to setting up killer stand locations that you can count on for hunting multiple wind directions, every single season. I strongly encourage you to watch the video at the top of this article, to make sure that you receive the important details for beating multiple thermal types with multiple stand locations, in one spot.
1. The Morning Thermal Advantage
For the short version, if you are above the deer movement in the morning, you are most likely safe. This is my "bread and butter" tactic for killing the majority of the my past mature bucks. As long as temperatures are climbing, so will the wind direction.
The morning thermal advantage can be your #1 tactic to running into your target buck, every single season. No matter how low or high you sit, as long as you stay above the direction of deer movement, you are typically completely safe. With bedding areas to either side of you, you have to pay attention to the direction the wind is coming in from. However, as long as the wind direction is blowing from above you in nearly any direction or in your face while looking down hilll, the deer are staying low and the wind is not blowing from side to side, the location is prime for a deer stand!
2. Side Hill Wind Dependability
Side hilll winds are the winds that move parallel to the direction of the ridge, unabstructed by other points or ridges that are perpendicular to the direction of the ridget that you are hunting. Side hill winds will move around points and then travel up various draws, hollows or drainages during the morning hours, and then will fall down those same locations when the temperatures drop in the evening hours.
3. Two-Part Evening Thermal Stand Strategies
When do you have to typically plan for both side hill and falling thermals during the same sit? During the afternoon hours. During a 4 hour evening sit opportunity, not only should you account for the wind direction for the first 3 hours when the temperatures are fairly stable, but for the last hour when temperatures and thermals are falling. Just because a stand location is below the intended deer movement, does not in anyway mean that you will beat a whitetail's nose. Remember, the thermals only fall when the temperatures do, which is typically only during the last 1/2 hour to hour of daylight.
*This morning stand is one of my personal favorites! Why? Because due to the extreme elevation change and the above rock outcropping, it is extremely easy to use the morning thermals, to keep my scent well above and away, from the line of buck movement below.
The best part about hills, whitetials and thermals, is that you can cheat the wind to beat a buck's nose in your favorite deer stand, while your fellow flatland hunting brethren can not. Beating thermals with multiple stand locations for both morning and evening hunting, is a huge advantage to add to your annual hunting strategy playbook, that can't be missed!