This is Part 2 of a 3 Part series about deer hunting the terrain – this blog is specifically about deer hunting pinch points (In Part 1 I talked about deer hunting ditches and ravines). I’m pretty sure pinch points are proof that God wants deer hunters to be successful. They are easily and simple to both hunt and understand. Hunted properly, deer hunting pinch points allows for unintrusive hunts that reap big rewards, all season long. Let’s take a closer look.
The hardest deer to hunt in the woods, is one that knows it is being hunted. Deer find out they are being hunted a number of ways – the biggest two undoubtedly are finding out via 1) their nose and 2) their sight. Simply put, you don’t want deer to ever see you, or smell you when you’re hunting. DUH.
But if you’ve hunted at all, you know that, it is much easier said, than done. Perhaps the biggest advantage deer hunting funnels, and pinch points in particular is that the deer are more than likely, not present when you arrive or depart. They are traveling (ie. moving through the area). Unlike a food plot or bedding area, where deer come and stay for hours at a time, making it a freaking train wreck getting in and out undetected.
The above is a picture of a wonderful funnel on property that I deer hunt. It has been (in talking with previous landowner) and will be (my trail camera data backs this up) productive all year long, given that I hunt it smart.
Stand #1 is the layup of deer stands. This wooded drainage ditch filters into a 40 acre block of woods that is home to deer, year around. Most of the deer come from the South on this farm, and the nearest timber (cover) in their travel is this ditch. There is one main trail the deer use, and it just so happens to be 20 yards upwind of my deer stand. I hunt this stand with an East wind (white arrows), and enter and exit the stand from West (red line). Deer are not in the field to the West, because it is plowed under by the time deer season rolls around. I also use a slight roll in the field terrain to keep me hidden from any deer bedded on the corner of the field to the North. Dynamite.
Deer use this travel route to both enter and leave my property, making it a worthwhile hunt on both mornings and evenings. An important note – I don’t run a trail camera next to the stand. I don’t want to, and I don’t need to be that far in, to know where they are going to go. I use a trail camera that is on the far South side of the picture, right off a road. In doing this, I disrupt the area as little as possible (that’s a good thing).
Stand #2 is another killer spot – I don’t think it is as good as Stand #1 because cause it’s not as tight of a funnel – but it still works well. The main reason for this stand, is the prevailing wind direction of NW in this area. We simply don’t have many East winds, making Stand #1 a rare hunt. We have more NW winds, and Stand #2 allows me to hunt the area undetected. Stand #2 is also a great inside corner, which gives reason for deer to come and go from both the North and South. Again, the field behind the stand is plowed, making it unattractive to deer during the actual hunting season. I am not hunting food in these cases, I am hunt ing the terrain. Food changes, terrain doesn’t.
*It should also be noted, that nearly all funnels can benefit from a little habitat work. Dropping a certain tree, or building brush piles to create better, more funneled areas around your stand can be a bulletproof way to make the deer give you the shot you want, on the upwind side of your tree stand.*
When folks talk about “cruising stands”, they are talking about catching a buck on his feet, moving from known doe hangouts. This is exactly what we have here.
Deer using this area are moving from East to West, or from West to East. Heading from big block of timber, to big block of timber. They may or may not hang out in the CRP/Clover field to the North, but it is unlikely. Again, deer using this area, are not here to stay. They are here in transition to somewhere else. That’s a good thing. When hunting pinch points, we don’t want deer to stick around and smell us. We want a deer that is preoccupied with traveling.
Both of these stands hunt the same general area (obviously), but with different wind directions (white arrows). You never want the wind blowing to where the deer are either coming from, or going. That might seem like common sense, but again – it is easier said than done.
The red line indicated my route to and from the stand, which in this case is a creek that is nearly always ankle deep, or shallower. The banks hide my movements, and the water eliminates nearly all of my scent to and from. I do not run trail cameras here, because I don’t need to. Simple quick off season scouting tells me deer have been traveling this route for many years. Barring any change in terrain, or stupid hunting on my part – they will continue to do so.
Any there you have it – the simple and effective ways to deer hunt pinch points. It is that simple. It is also worth noting that these areas are often 1) drainage ditches and 2) fencerows. You don’t have to have 100′s of acres to hunt these effectively, or smart. Gaining permission to a handful of spots like this (ideally with different wind directions) can ensure your deer hunts will be effective all season!
In Part 3 of this 3 Part Series, we will chat about funnels inside the timber, and the best ways to hunt them for maximum success.
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