At around the 24 mins and 15 secs of Season 3, Episode 7, of the TV series Strike Back, Lt Col Philip Locke (portrayed by Robson Greene) says:

If you do find him, approach from downwind. If he sees you first, you've lost him.

Here, because 'him' refers to another human suspect and 'you' to British Army Major Rachel Dalton (portrayed by Rhona Mitra), http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/downwind doesn't make sense and is out of context. What does it mean then?

2 Answers 2


The term downwind is often used by hunters who prefer to approach their quarry from that point of the compass towards which the wind is blowing, so that all the smells that the human body emits are carried away and will not be detected by the animal.

Here, the army major is likened to a hunter, and the suspect, to a hunted animal. In order not to startle the suspect, the major should approach him with extreme caution, making sure not a single thing gives him away.


This is a figurative use of downwind, drawn from hunting. You want to be 'downwind' of a wild animal you are stalking, so the wind will not carry your scent to it. Locke is advising Dalton to approach her quarry from a direction where she cannot be perceived.

  • 2
    +1. Thank you effusively for your detail. Please don’t mind the selection which sought to help those with less points.
    – user8712
    Aug 3, 2014 at 15:09

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