Thermals during hunting?

velvetfvr

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I always hear the eastman guys and all other professional hunters talking about thermals when sneaking up on a buck. Now I have been bowhunting since I was 12 and this will be my 4th year hunting with my bow. I can get close and have no issues getting on any game just I want to add to my knowledge so first of all can I ask what the idea is behind how the thermals change during the day and how I can use it to my advantage. Thanks and good luck to all this year!
 
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velvetfvr

velvetfvr

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Also I am the first in my family to ever hunt with a bow so they really can't help me out.
 

HellsCanyon

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First off thats awesome about you breaking into archery as the first in your family! Good job.

As far as thermals go, the idea behind it is that in the morning as the sun rises and starts to heat the air, that the air will begin to rise. Or flow up hill! Same thing but opposite in the evening as the night time thermals cool they flow down hill. Hope this helps!
 
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velvetfvr

velvetfvr

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First off thats awesome about you breaking into archery as the first in your family! Good job.

As far as thermals go, the idea behind it is that in the morning as the sun rises and starts to heat the air, that the air will begin to rise. Or flow up hill! Same thing but opposite in the evening as the night time thermals cool they flow down hill. Hope this helps!

Ok, I think i get it now. So it would be better to get above and stalk down in the morning vs. the afternoon? So it is more likely for a deer to get a whiff of me in the later hours? Thanks!
 

RosinBag

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HC explained it pretty simply. High country bucks I spot and put to bed and then sneak down on them once the thermals change. It helps in stalking with more predictability of where your scent goes. Then just as you get close, it will swirl around and things will get interesting fast. Also, nice job starting early and in your own.
 

bohntr

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Thermal air flow has been described spot on in the posts above, IMO. I'll only add two things: In steep, broken terrain, thermals can be re-directed as different air temperatures are encountered as it moves. This is what creates "swirling"........unfortunately, most good mule deer terrain is in broken and steep terrain. With that in mind, the most success I've had stalking bedded high-country bucks have been between 11:30am to 2:30 PM, as the thermals are generally the most consistent. However, partly cloudy skies, and shadowed cuts and canyons can still cause inconsistent air flow, causing havoc on a slithering bowhunter. It's truly what makes stalking high-country mule deer with a bow a supreme challenge. Good luck and I hope you stick a good one!
 
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velvetfvr

velvetfvr

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Thermal air flow has been described spot on in the posts above, IMO. I'll only add two things: In steep, broken terrain, thermals can be re-directed as different air temperatures are encountered as it moves. This is what creates "swirling"........unfortunately, most good mule deer terrain is in broken and steep terrain. With that in mind, the most success I've had stalking bedded high-country bucks have been between 11:30am to 2:30 PM, as the thermals are generally the most consistent. However, partly cloudy skies, and shadowed cuts and canyons can still cause inconsistent air flow, causing havoc on a slithering bowhunter. It's truly what makes stalking high-country mule deer with a bow a supreme challenge. Good luck and I hope you stick a good one!

Thanks! I get it now, I have learned from my mistakes and I think I know how to get on a big one. I know where they are but with my lack of knowledge it has got back to me. Thanks again and keep it coming!
 

wapitibob

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Ok, I think i get it now. So it would be better to get above and stalk down in the morning vs. the afternoon? So it is more likely for a deer to get a whiff of me in the later hours? Thanks!


The thermals don't start to move uphill until the air warms up, about 9 ish where I hunt. I never hunt down at first light.
 
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velvetfvr

velvetfvr

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The thermals don't start to move uphill until the air warms up, about 9 ish where I hunt. I never hunt down at first light.

Neither do I. I usually spend a hour glassing until the animals stop moving and bed then I make a move.
 

Jeff Martin

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I agree thermals are headed up in the mornings. I hunt high in the mornings. But I have seen many very experienced argue the opposite. They will tell you air is headed down until they change to head up in the mornings. Honestly,I don't think their is a hard fast rule with a general rule of heat thermals rising in the morning.
 

Ridgerunner

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Interesting topic for sure some people say to get as high as possible to glass but if the thermals were going down wouldn't they spoke any deer below them? I know others that only glass from below due to worries about thermals.
 

RosinBag

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I always start high as possible in the canyon I am hunting that still gives me a good vantage point. I don't worry about spooking the animals below me as it is usually 500 to 800 yards away. At that distance, who knows where my scent may end up or even if at that distance it is still detectable. When I glass deer below me they never seem to spook out of there, just keep feeding and then bed up.
 

bohntr

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I rarely glass straight below me for that reason, not to mention it's difficult to consistently spot mule deer at that angle. I choose high vantage points that I can glass into specific bowls from a distance.......spot different groups of bucks, pick one I like, watch them bed, then plan my stalk accordingly provding they are in a good location for a successful stalk. Often they'll bed in an area that is difficult or they are surrounded by too many deer. The hardest thing to do, at times, is to sit on your hands and wait for another day and hope they bed in a better position. Patience becomes key, as you definitely don't want to blow them out of the bowl.
 
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