Is bow hunting in the rain good or bad? This is one of life’s great unanswered questions, and mankind will continue searching for the answer.
I’m just kidding…
The answer is that bow hunting in the rain can be GOOD or BAD, it just depends.
I am going to cover 5 tips for bowhunting in the rain and hopefully help you avoid the miserable rain hunts most of us have had.
NOTE: If you have any stories or tips from bowhunting in the rain, we’d love to read them. Post your comment below.
It doesn’t take long for most bowhunters to learn that rain is something you are going to contend with.
I say most because there may be a few states where it never rains during archery season…
Here in Montana, thousands of people are praying for rain to put our annual summer wildfires and inevitably that rain comes in September, when archery season kicks off.
My first bow hunt in the rain taught me a few things. One is that wood can be extremely slippery when it is wet. My tree stand was securely fastened 30 feet off the ground but I like to have never made it up to the stand at all climbing the wooden boards nailed to the tree.
This isn’t one of my tips, it’s really more a public service announcement, so I will say it again; WOOD CAN BE VERY SLICK IN THE RAIN!
There are some hunting lessons you can only learn through experience; I get that. I’ve done that. But the smart hunters learn from those who have gone before.
So here are my 5 best tips for bow hunting in the rain.
1. Light rain can be good; heavy rain is not.
The question we started with is, “is hunting in the rain good or bad?” I said previously that it depends. It depends on the rain.
Light rain is great for bowhunting. It gets animals moving around in a magical way. I don’t know why. I’ve read that rain nocks down scent which may be a factor. But something about light rain seems to give animals, deer especially, security.
But there is a limit. Moderate to heavy rain has the opposite effect. When there is a downpour, animals are much more likely to bed down.
Someone asked, “where do deer go when it storms?” They go to a storm shelter. Get it… That’s really bad, I know.
Deer bed down in the same place they normally do unless the weather gets really bad, in which case they may attempt to get away from the storm.
2. Use A Camo Umbrella
Sitting in the rain without waterproof clothing is miserable, especially during archery season. Where I live, there is almost always a nice wind to accompany the rain which really works well to cool you to the bone.
Yes, I have a set of plastic camo raincoat and pants to match but I don’t like wearing them much less hunting in them.You can stick with your rain gear if that works for you but there are other options if your not hunting from in a ground blind.
I hunted in tree stands long before I came across camo umbrellas. I realize it’s not the coolest hunting accessory one can own but let me tell you, it’s worth owning one. Camo umbrellas for tree stands are an effective and affordable way to stay dry when you are hunting from a tree stand. These aren’t regular umbrellas. They are specifically made for hunting from tree stands and they actually attach to the tree above you.
Pick one of these camo umbrellas up and leave the rain suit at home. You can thank me later.
I don’t like thinking about the fact that I’ve lost deer because rain washed out the blood trail, but I have. I’ve actually watched a significant amount of blood all but disappear in a light rain while having a conversation with a fellow hunter.
Tracking in the rain can get tricky. You feel the pressure to quickly pursue the trail before it’s washed out, but you also know you may be in danger of driving a wounded animal even further away.
Flagging tape can help. Not only can you quickly mark the blood you find before it gets washed out, it will help you in seeing the likely direction the animal is going.
Flagging tape is one of things on the bottom of your important things list but you need to buy some and throw it in your hunting coat. You’ll be glad you did, especially when it’s raining.
This is another bowhunting tip that isn’t just for the rain. Blood tracking flashlights aren’t cheap and not all of them good, but I’d pay double for the ones that are.
You can check out the video below to see just how well the Primos Bloodhunter HD works. It’s one of the highest rated blood tracking lights and it’s truly worth every penny.
Everyone tracks differently and not everyone is good at it. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m not that good at it. Immediately after taking a shot, I feel like one of my kids asking, “Can I go yet? Can I go yet?”
And the excitement seems to make the blood harder to spot for me. Additionally, you may be tracking in the day or night but likely in wooded areas where it tough to see anyway. A blood tracking flashlight can be a huge help with this.
Of course, being able to find blood faster is important especially when you are hunting in the rain.
5. Limit Your Shots
My final tip for bowhunting in the rain is to limit your shots. Hitting the vitals is tough enough at 20 yards with nice buck standing there giving you shakes. Even with clear skies, your accuracy is going to go down as the target distance increases.
You might shoot a 1/2 inch group in your target 60 yards out but throw in some rain and live animal at the other end and things change.
For starters, arrows fly differently in the rain. Yes, you can practice in the rain and might get an idea of how your arrows fly. The problem is that is how they fly on that day in that particular rain.
The amount of rain, the way its falling, wind and humidity all affect your arrow flight especially with longer shots.
Do yourself and the animal your hunting a favor and take high percentage shots. Who knows, maybe you’ll drop him where he stands. You won’t have a chance to try out the blood trail flashlight and flagging tape, but you can save those for another day.