As most of you know, I'm kind of a data freak, so while a buddy and I were still wrestling with exactly which unit to hunt this year (our 1st season tags are good for more than one unit), I decided to do some historical weather data analysis to help explain the variabilities of success. Some of it is kind of obvious, but it's nice to have data to back up your statements.
Weather Underground has some really good historical data, including day to day looks at the weather for as far back as you can go, but I just took the last 10 years because that's all I have for success rates. I looked at the periods between September 19 and October 18, because twice in the last 10 years 1st season ended on the 18th and I figured Sept 19 would give me a full month out from the end of the season.
Variables I put into a regression analysis to correlate with success:
Temperature: Average low prior to opener, minimum low prior to opener, Sept 19-30 low, average low 7/5/3/1 day prior to opener, low temp on the opener plus days 2 and 3, days below 32 (at the airport where the data is recorded) prior to opener, and the season average low temp.
Precipitation: Total precip prior to opener, max precip event prior to opener, September total preicipitation, precip 7/5/3/1 day prior to the opener, precip on the opener plus day 2 and the total between those two days, season total precip and number of days of precipitation before the opener.
I also looked at how hunter numbers and the date of opening affected success.
Basically, none of the analyses returned anything significant, but there were some very weak correlations. Sort of significant is the lack of anything solid to hang your hat on regarding weather.
The closest I could come was (and if you know anything about stats, the closest I could come were r-values around .2 and F-stats around 1) with these variables in descending order of significance:
Season average minimum temp
Precipitation 1 day prior to opener
Average Low prior to opener
Everything else had an r-value below .1. So in reality, the most significant conclusion I could make was weather has very little do with success over the whole unit. Common sense and conventional wisdom say otherwise, so I'm still just as confused as when I started. I guess I can't account for human dimensions such as people not being able to reach their spot due to weather, or hunters hunting somewhere else trying to anticipate the weather or things of that nature.