By Alex Comstock
There are certain weather conditions that just seem to scream “Go Hunting!”. A cold front passes through, everyone knows to be in a tree. High pressure days, I’d say most people agree that movement could be better than normal. But one weather condition that I don’t think enough people take advantage of is precipitation. Rain can be a great weather condition to hunt in if you can withstand being “miserable”. There are a few reasons that rain can present unique advantages to hunting, and below I’ll cover those, along with when to not hunt in the rain.
Optimal Still Hunting Conditions
The first thing I wanted to cover is still hunting. Still hunting can be an effective way to hunt, but there are certain conditions that make it much more difficult (such as calm and still days) and there are certain times that make still hunting much more optimal (windy or rainy days). If there’s even a light rain, the leaves on the ground will be quiet, everything you walk through will be quiet, and it will allow you to sneak around much more effectively.
If you haven’t ever still hunted, but are looking to give it a try, a rainy day is a great time to give it a try as well. Still hunting is a unique challenge, and sometimes you may not realize how slow you have to move and how quiet you have to be. With the conditions making it more favorable to be quiet, you can start to learn what it takes to still hunt effectively, and with the rain, you might get away with a little more.
You Can Sneak Into Those Tight Spots
Another advantage of a light rain is being able to slip into those stands that are in tight spots. Maybe you’ve got a stand setup within 50 yards of where you think a buck is bedded, but it’s near impossible to get in there quietly without busting a buck out of his bed. Just as with still hunting, in a situation like this, there are two times that might allow you to get into a stand like this and that’s high winds or rain. With the precipitation, you can move in quietly and slowly into that stand, get all setup, and practically be silent. If you have a stand that you think is hard to get into because of noise levels you make on the way in, waiting until a rainy day might be a great option.
Less Scent is Left on The Ground
A train of though from a lot of hunters is that rain can wash away your ground scent that you leave behind. I’ve always adopted this mindset, and knowing that, you could use it to your advantage in a multitude of ways. For me, it seems as though there is always that one stand that is in the right spot, but the access is hard because you have to walk through an area you think deer will be moving through or you have to cross a major trail. It might even be enough to deter you from hunting there. In a spot like this, hunting it during a rainfall might be the perfect time to strike. Due to the ground scent being washed away, you could get away with more than you normally would.
When Not to Hunt in The Rain
About the only time I won’t hunt in the rain is if there’s a legit thunderstorm where it’s simply not safe or if it’s an absolute downpour. When it’s raining cats and dogs, that’s the only time I think it may not be worth it. Bucks usually are hunkered down (from what I’ve seen) and it can be downright miserable out there. If it’s raining hard, hunting right after the front moves through can be an exceptional time to be in the woods.
Hunting in the rain usually isn’t very much fun, no matter how light or how heavy the rain is coming down. Good rain gear can go a long ways in making it more manageable and if you can bare through it, there can still be really good opportunities to have encounters with mature bucks and still make it happen. As the saying goes, you can’t shoot one from the couch.