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Looking for advise of reading wind

 
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  #1  
Old 06-21-2014, 05:36 PM
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Location: Arlington Texas
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Looking for advise of reading wind

Does anyone have any advise on how to read the wind when taking a shot from one canyon wall to the other. I don't get to shoot in those conditions often here in the Dallas Tx area. But deal with it a lot when I am elk hunting in Colorado.
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Old 06-25-2014, 04:20 PM
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Location: Colorado
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Re: Looking for advise of reading wind

I'll pass on my experience. Definitely not a pro at reading the wind. I hunt in Colorado in a spot where there are several cross canyon shooting opportunities. Typically these shots are shooting over a river or creek ... which is what formed the canyon to begin with. And the water has to flow from higher elevation to lower elevation. a typically sunny day (no cold front moving through), first light will have the calm cold air moving down the creek/river fairly light, crosswind to shooting across the canyon. Some places will have aspens and timber that you can look at to see how much wind at various locations along your shooting path, other places have oaks or bare ground which are much harder to detect wind movement, but generally it is calm/consistent/predictable, usually less than 5 mph. about 2-3 hours after the sun rises, the wind stops as it is about to change direction, then it will start blowing uphill. I say 2-3 hours, but where I hunt it's almost like clockwork between 9:45 and 10am. It's going to depend on when the sun hits the ground where you hunt and warms up the air enough to make it start moving back uphill. Once it changes direction, and the day warms up, the air gets very unsettled along with a pretty nasty up-slope component that pushes your bullet in the vertical direction. So just keep in mind that it's not like shooting on flat ground where your bullet stays nice and close to the terrain at all times. You might have 800 feet or more between your bullet and the canyon bottom and that's a big column of air that might push your bullet up in the afternoon. In those conditions I have not been able to figure out a way to read that, so I limit my shots to more calm conditions... which typically are the first few hours of the day.

Everywhere is different, but I think very helpful to get a good feel for the general wind patterns so you know what to expect on a typical day. Even looking at where you'll hunt on a topo map might be good to give you a big picture perspective of what to expect with the wind patterns. Stuff you probably already know, but just passing on how I approach any hunting spot.
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Old 06-25-2014, 04:53 PM
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Re: Looking for advise of reading wind

Except for the fact that he apparently relies on Jewell triggers, (I hate 'em) Timber338 offers some very good insight and obviously has experience shooting over canyons. It's called a hunt, and not a "shoot", for the very good reason that we don't venture out into the wilderness and just shoot something. The two tools that may help you most in setting up a shot across and canyon are a VERY GOOD range finder and VERY GOOD binoculars. IMO, accurately judging wind speed is secondary to judging wind direction when your faced with a shot across a canyon.
Compare the leaf movement (or whatever active vegetation you have) on your side of the void with the movements of similar vegetation on the other side. How do they compare? Sometimes their speed and direction essentially cancel each other. Also understand that, as the wind passes along the edges of the canyon it can develop eddies that raise havoc with an otherwise well placed shot.
With a shot across a canyon you probably have quite a lot of time to weigh the variables, check your dope sheet(s), and come up with a good solution. The wind currents most often neglected in my experience are the eddies and those that move upward. Even over relatively flat terrain (Wyoming prairies) the wind gains speed as it rolls over the raised portions of the gently rolling terrain.
One last thought - before you take the shot, remember that you will have to find a way to get to the other side of that canyon, field dress and pack out the game, and arrive home safely. It's OK to pass up a shot that isn't right for the circumstances.
Good hunting
Footnote: No offense Timber338. Just couldn't pass up the opportunity. I likewise wish you good hunting and safe passage.
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Old 06-25-2014, 06:32 PM
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Re: Looking for advise of reading wind

I should probably clarify what I meant by canyon, I am referring to valleys between fingers and or knolls on a mountain.
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Old 06-25-2014, 08:49 PM
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Re: Looking for advise of reading wind

I still think the same fundamental wind patterns exist... what you are talking about are the smaller ridges where the fingers will ultimately feed down into a larger canyon that I was talking about. When you said "canyon wall" in your original thread, the "wall" description really does not occur until you get to the larger river/creek. But again I still go back to understanding the big picture geography of the area you are hunting, which should indicate which way the wind is moving between ridges when you cannot get out there to feel it.

Wherever it is you hunt, the mornings are not only going to be the calmest winds, but the best times to see animals moving. If it is so windy on a long shot that it's too hard to read the wind, then it's just best to pass. At least that is my own personal approach. Reading the wind is tricky, and without lots of practice in the spots you are shooting, it's pretty tough. I'm sure there are guys here good enough to do it, but I am not one of them.

FearNoWind, absolutely no offense taken! I'm not stuck on jewell, just had to try one out. I've also used Timney triggers in the past which I really liked. I actually cannot say I like the Jewell any more or less than anything else I have shot, and might like the Timney a bit more on a hunting rifle. Any reason in particular you don't like them? Just curious... fun to talk about this stuff.
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  #6  
Old 06-26-2014, 12:03 AM
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Re: Looking for advise of reading wind

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timber338 View Post
..FearNoWind, absolutely no offense taken! I'm not stuck on jewell, just had to try one out. I've also used Timney triggers in the past which I really liked. I actually cannot say I like the Jewell any more or less than anything else I have shot, and might like the Timney a bit more on a hunting rifle. Any reason in particular you don't like them? Just curious... fun to talk about this stuff.
At the risk of hijacking the thread, I'll apologize ahead of time and offer a quick answer. I experienced a failure with a Jewell trigger on a bench rest rifle I had last year. The rifle fired without my input (down range fortunately) during set up at a match. When I checked it out at the cleaning bench it would slam fire, regardless of where the trigger was set. I hadn't disassembled it or made any changes beyond making the adjustments that a shooter might typically make on an "adjustable" trigger so I figured Jewell should make it good. Ended up having to pay for the repair and the "problem" was never explained. I shoot tactical now and use my rifle for hunting so I don't want to risk that happening again. When I work with Timney there is never an issue. They aim to please and I find their triggers free of creep and shots break crisply.
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  #7  
Old 06-26-2014, 01:02 AM
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Re: Looking for advise of reading wind

The best tips that I've gotten was from Shawn Carlock and Broz and that was to imagine the wind as water flowing over the terrain your looking at. The other is the closer to the muzzle the more important it is and the more affect on the bullet trajectory it has.

In my area the biggest thing I had to learn was to pay attention to the prevailing wind that your bullet will be in during mid range, it's strong but steady. I can take the local wind that is following the ground and add 50% of it's value to the correction and I get good wind calls.
The local wind is the one that will really help to think of as water, it reacts to the terrain and you can measure it.
The thermal winds are the ones that cause that bullet trace to go right over a bulls shoulder, it's got a vertical and a horizontal component to think about but with patience and playing with a meter you can break down both components and use a program to figure it out.

Do some shooting, one round just to learn from at long range won't even register on an elks radar and you'll gain a huge amount of knowledge from it and if your unsure about a shot on an elk take a spotter shot, at 800+ yards they don't have any idea and you can really dial in and drop them on the second round.

Just pay attention to the wind through the whole day and you'll learn a lot just as you move around.
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