Editor’s Note: Successful deer hunting involves problem solving and decision making. But to consistently succeed, you must know when to change strategies and why to abandon a hunt plan and have the flexibility to institute those changes. That’s what the deer-hunting pros do. Weather, hunting pressure, the availability of food, the rut and your intuition all determine how, when and where you should hunt.
Some hunters turn their noses up at utilizing man-drives because they consider this deer-hunting method a less-than-sporting way to bag bucks. However, I have learned that often you can take a trophy buck by utilizing a man-drive. But a man-drive often may fail to produce a buck when hunters try and drive too large an area and do an ineffective job.
You can conduct a successful man-drive in several ways. Have two or three standers and one driver. Drive small heads of woods, possibly only one or two acres or less in diameter. Always think about the movement of the wind. Make sure the standers hunt into the wind. Also the standers must move into their positions as quietly and secretively as a bank robber sneaks into a bank. The driver begins at the opposite end of the woodlot or thicket from the standers. To drive effectively, the driver must walk across, not straight through, the woodlot. By zig-zagging from one side to the other side of the woodlot and walking somewhat quietly, the hunter will use his human odor to alert the deer in that woodlot and cause them to begin to sneak out of the thicket. If the driver screams and hollers, and makes as much noise as he can, the bucks may sit tight where they’re bedded down and let the driver walk past them. Or, they’ll bolt out of the thicket, running like racehorses and not permit the standers an opportunity to shoot. A man-drive moves the bucks slowly out of the area where the drive takes place and toward the hunters where they can get shots at a buck walking not running.
Some of the best places to drive include thick-cover regions like briar patches, clear cuts, fallen-timber areas, heads of woods between fields and narrow strips of woods between creeks, slough bottoms and/or fields. The smaller the area of the property you drive, the more effective the drive. Using human odor to move the deer rather than screaming, hollering and crashing through the woods will increase the odds for the standers to bag bucks.
To learn more about hunting deer, check out John E. Phillips’ book, “PhD Whitetails: How to Hunt and Take the Smartest Deer on Any Property,” available at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B007A2N792. To receive your free book on “How to Make Venison Jerky,” go to https://www.emailmeform.com/builder/form/Ece3UZVcOo52cKPJcL