Hunting Ridges & Valleys


10 pointer
Nov 16, 2009
Boone County
Last year I was in the stand and saw an "old timer" walking down by a creek in the bottom of the valley I hunt. When I got down I came across him again. Turns out that he was raised in the valley. (In his 80's) we were talking and he said as the "shadow" rises up the ridges the deer will come down into the valleys during sunset. The opposite happens in the mornings, as the shadows move down the deer will go up.

Monday I decided to hunt a spot that I needed to eliminate as a "rut" travel corridor. Basically I'm 20 yard above an old logging road that makes a ledge. The ledge starts at the top of the ridge and ends at the bottom. I hunted the spot twice, one evening sit and one morning sit. The evening sit I saw 12 deer. 11 of them went down the ledge just as he said. The very next morning I saw 11. 9 of the 11 where going up hill.

Just as he said. I know this is true out West in Wyoming and Montana. The ridge I'm on has about 330' feet in elevation change. Nothing huge but enough.

Have any of you seem this same trend? It is critical because of wind. Knowing this I'm able to hunt what would normally be a bad wind. Tomorrow they are calling for a West wind which would be terrible for one direction of this stand.

What is your experience with this?


8 pointer
Oct 28, 2008
Boone County
I agree. I am jealous of folks with open hardwoods mixed in with thick bedding areas on relatively flat terrain. I hunt ridges and valleys with nothing but thick, nasty vines and Chinese honeysuckle. Impossible to locate bedding becausevthe whole farm is bedding Sorry a little tangent in your thread. :)


10 pointer
Nov 8, 2011
Thermals. Theyre actually more predictable than the wind. As soon as the sun Hits the bottom, the air will rise up the hill. Bucks will cruise the top one third of the lee side since they can smell both what is underneath them and what is on top of the ridge. The prevailing wind brings the scent over from the top while the thermals bring scent up from the bottom. There is an area about 1 Third of the way from the top That they will use because that's where the scents meet and swirl like an eddy. They call it the thermal tunnel. Feels weird hunting with the wind at your back, but if you get high enough, the prevailing wind takes your scent over the trail. That's where i'll be in the morning.