John's Journal...

Take Whitetail Deer by Watching the Wind

Day 1: Understand the Wind to Harvest Deer

Editor’s Note: Sometimes, a buck will see you or hear you – and you’ll still get a shot. But if he smells you – he’ll be gone.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger View“I was hunting a narrow strip of woods between a cleared field and the river,” Dr. Robert Sheppard of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, primarily an archer who takes five or six bucks with a bow and arrow each year, remembers. “The area I was hunting was about 60-yards wide and 400-yards long and was separated by two large hardwood bottoms. That small strip of woods ran north and south. The only way to approach the land without having my scent mess up my hunting site was to approach it from the west, the river side, or the east, the field side.

“On this particular morning, I walked into this strip of woods from the east with a west wind in my face. I knew any deer moving through the woods wouldn’t pick up my scent if they were walking either toward the south or the north. I got into my stand just at daylight and sat there for about an hour. I spotted a real nice 6-point buck coming from the south side of the woods, moving north. He walked to within 15 steps of me and never picked up my scent. I let my arrow fly and struck the deer just behind the shoulder. Immediately he bounded away and over the side of the bank. I found him right on the edge of the river. I’m convinced that if the buck had smelled me, I never would have had the shot.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger View“The deer’s best defense against any predator is his nose. Many bowhunters will tell that although a deer may be able to see you, he may walk up, look straight at you and then walk on past as if you don’t exist. And, he may be able to hear you. That same group of bowhunters may tell you of instances where they’ve shot more than one arrow at the same deer, and he’s never moved. But you rarely will find an instance when a deer smells the hunter and presents anything but a hindquarter shot. So, many times a deer may be able to see you or hear you – but you still may be able to take your animal. However, if he smells you, I’ll lay odds that you’ll never get a shot.”

To get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks and print books on hunting deer, “How to Hunt and Take Big Buck Deer on Small Properties,” “How to Hunt Deer Up Close: With Bows, Rifles, Muzzleloaders and Crossbows,” “PhD Whitetails: How to Hunt and Take the Smartest Deer on Any Property,” “How to Take Monster Bucks,” “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro,” and “Bowhunting Deer: Mossy Oak Pros Know Bucks and Bows,” or to prepare venison, “Deer & Fixings,” click here on each. Or, go to, type in the name of the book, and download it to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

For information on making jerky from your deer to provide a protein-rich snack, you can download a free book from

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About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Tomorrow: Beat the Wind to Take Deer

Check back each day this week for more about Take Whitetail Deer by Watching the Wind

Day 1: Understand the Wind to Harvest Deer
Day 2: Beat the Wind to Take Deer
Day 3: Learn about Variable Wind Conditions to Harvest Deer
Day 4: Use Thermals to Take More Deer
Day 5: Use the Wind to Your Advantage to Hunt Deer

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Entry 857, Day 1