Deer hunting in the smoke

DNADave

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Jun 18, 2019
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247
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Seattle
My hunting buddy and I are headed to the Pasayten Wilderness for the Washington High Buck Hunt this coming weekend. Anyone know what the deer are doing given all of the smoke? Are they finding some hidden canyon where the wind is blowing the smoke over instead of settling in the canyon? Are they hanging out in the trees? Are they getting as high as they can in the hopes that the wind without any impedance blows most of the smoke away? Just curious if anyone on the site has any info they can share about deer habits during heavy smoke.

Went camping over the weekend and visibility was at best a half a mile due to heavy, heavy smoke. It looks apocalyptic . I'm expecting it to be similar out in the Pasayten.
 
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Gwine

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Mar 3, 2013
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Southern Oregon
We are socked in with smoke here in S. Oregon. Our neighborhood deer haven’t left the area, but have really slowed down their movements. Lots of time bedded. Seem to only move for water and food.
 

LRDesert

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Jan 18, 2020
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Oregon
If the fires aren’t near by they have probably just hunkered down and will be near good food and water sources. That require very little travel. Smoke plays hell on the larger animals lungs so expect very little activity out side feeding and watering. Most all of western Oregon is covered in dense smoke and animal activity has really stalled.
 

P7M13

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Jan 5, 2016
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Orygun
Good luck on your hunt. You may want to bring a respirator - but you probably know this from your camping.
Just came back from Yellowstone area after the smoke moved in. Things I noted there, and in MT and WA
  • Smoke level varied. Some valleys thick, some sparse. Higher elevation usually much cleaner.
  • Out with my dog, I found the smoke was always least along rivers due to wind moving it. You could smell, but not see.
  • Smoke seemed to collect in the trees, but not near the ground.
  • The lone buck I saw was no longer in velvet. Two weeks ago, here in OR, before the fires, they were still velvet. I saw no does.
  • Based on droppings and tracks, they are out and moving.
 

Dean2

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Jul 31, 2010
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648
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Alberta
We used to hunt deer near burning slash piles for years. The smoke covers your scent nicley and the deer didn't seem to be affected by the smoke. They would come out and feed right in the smoke plum for the burning slash. Forest fire smoke seems to work the same way. We have never noticed much difference in animal movment due to smoke. I have never seen game wander around looking for less smokey areas like rivers or valleys. They seem to hang out in the same place they do at that time of year, smoke or not. If anything, the lower light seems to keep the game moving later in the morning and earlier in the evening, sort of like what you see with fog. I think in open country there is the perception of less game moving just because you can't see them 800 yards away like you can when it is clear, fog or smoke you need to be almost right on top of them.
 

DNADave

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Jun 18, 2019
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247
Location
Seattle
Drove 5 hours from Seattle to almost the Canadian border on Friday to arrive both in the smoke and after six miles of backpacking to a basin full of about 60 other hunters. Woke up Saturday to clear skies and no smoke with hunters leaving because of the hunter density. Stayed through Sunday lunch, saw a bunch of does but no bucks. Still had a great time with the bonus of no smoke for most of the trip. Will definitely have to stay longer next year and go further in.
 

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