By J. Wayne Fears
Deer know that to survive hunting season, they don’t walk in open places, don’t come into a green field or move before dark, but they do hole-up in thick cover during daylight hours. Let’s look at some strategies to help you bag a nice-sized buck.
Plan how to hunt green fields:
* Find the trail the deer most often use to come into a green field, and follow it back into the woods to the point where it intersects one or two more trails 100- or 200-yards from the edge of the green field.
* Look for some type of food source near that intersection, and put-up a tree stand as far away from that intersection and the food source as you possibly can but in a spot that still allows you to see the intersection and the food source and make a lethal shot.
* Place the tree stand facing the prevailing wind to hunt with a proper wind.
* Locate a route from the tree stand to the closest road that allows you to come back and forth to the stand without going through the green field.
* Don’t hunt from this stand more than one afternoon a week.
* Develop stand sites like this near every green field on the property you hunt, so you can hunt a different stand site every time you hunt that land.
Search for bottlenecks and funnels in thick-cover areas, out-of-the-way places and regions where most people don’t hunt. Deer already know where hunters enter the woods, the placement of their tree stands, the most-likely places where hunters will walk and the least-likely spots they’ll hunt. Very-few hunters will put-up tree stands in small places in little patches of timber. But deer will use these runways to move between major woodlots. Study an aerial photo of your property to identify small bottlenecks and funnels where two-different types of terrain come together and meet that neck-down the woods. You’ll see the most deer there.
Hunt clear cuts:
Although most hunters hate clear cuts, deer love them. To hunt a clear cut successfully, use western tactics. Purchase the most-comfortable climbing tree stand you can find with a shooting bar all the way around it. Attach a window mount to the shooting bar of the tree stand and a spotting scope on the window mount. Attach your tree stand to the tallest tree, and study every inch of that clear cut. Big bucks will bed-down in clear cuts during daylight hours, but they won’t remain motionless. Use a quality set of binoculars to see a wider field of view, and pinpoint the exact spot where you see the buck in the scope. Then use your riflescope to find the buck and to aim and shoot. A 16X scope when hunting clear cuts will make the target look larger and enable you to aim more accurately at 200 and 300 yards. Remember any time you climb high to use a full-body safety harness.
Study pine plantations:
Most hunters consider pine plantations biological deserts and rarely go into the pines to hunt. However, longtime deer hunter, Larry Norton of Butler, Ala., says, “Inside many pine plantations, you’ll find windrows, covered with blackberry bushes, greenbrier and other lush foliage the deer will eat, where old stumps, logs and brush have been piled-up and burned when the land has been cleared to plant the pines. From the middle of the season until the end of the season, deer will move into these pine plantations and feed along the edges of these windrows. Take a stand any place where you can see a break in the windrows where the deer can walk around the brush. Or, build a ground blind as far away from the windrow as you possibly can and still be able to see the edge of the windrow and make a shot. Hunt these areas only when the wind’s in your favor.”
You can learn more information about bottlenecks in the”Deer Hunter’s Pocket Reference,” and more on clear cuts in “How to Hunt Clear Cuts Successfully,” both available at www.jwaynefearsbrand.com/my-books/new-books/.