Editor’s Note: Many deer hunters are accurate shots. Other hunters are superb woodsmen who identify the deer’s feeding, bedding and traveling areas. But being able to locate deer and harvest them are only two-thirds of the requirements for taking deer. To get a shot, the deer must come within bow or gun range and present the shot. Of course stand position is important. However, often mature bucks will walk through an area without well-established trails to hunt over, or there may be two or three trails coming into a region with no way to determine which trail is the best one to set-up on to bag a deer. These kinds of situations occur frequently when hunting places with high deer populations.
My longtime hunting buddy, Ronnie Groom, of Panama City, Florida, is an avid deer hunter. He’s learned what to do if five deer trails come into a feeding spot and tells us how the deer hunter can cause deer to come down a specific trail. “Careful scouting will reveal that even though five trails are running into a feeding area, there only will be two trails that the deer are using most often,” Groom explains. “So, I try to pick one of the two most-used trails for setting-up my stand – if I’m looking to take any deer, regardless of sex. Next I must funnel the deer off the trails I’m not hunting onto the trail I am hunting. To cancel out trails, I’ll hang my hunting coat, containing human odor, upwind of where I plan to hunt, at about eye level to a deer on the trail where I won’t be hunting. Deer are naturally wary, and when they smell and see that coat, they’ll usually funnel off the trail they plan to utilize onto the next best trail. Also, to delete the lesser-used trails, I’ll lay some limbs or brush across those trails. Although deer can jump over the brush, they always tend to take the path of least resistance. They’ll generally walk around the brush and onto the trail where I’m hunting.”
Groom also reports that in regions with high-deer populations, hunt the dim deer trails not used as much – rather than the trails with a lot of sign on them – if you want to take a buck. “I’ve observed that bucks generally come into a feeding area on lesser-traveled trails, rather than the heavily-traveled trails that does utilize,” Groom explains. “If a buck is my target, I’ll be hunting over the secondary trails rather than the primary trails. Don’t forget that the wind and human odor will cancel out some trails. If there are trails leading into a feeding spot from five different directions, the wind may rule out three of the trails, because your human scent will be carried down them. If that’s the case, then you only have one trail where you need to redirect deer.”
Groom utilized this tactic a few years ago when he discovered an old fence line that ran through the woods. “There were two places – one a hole in the fence and the other a gap – where the deer were crossing the fence line,” Groom recalls. “Since I wanted to make sure I had a deer to shoot at, I piled brush in the hole, knowing my human scent would be present there. I set-up my stand near the gap and made sure I’d eliminated as much human odor as possible – washing my clothes beforehand in scent-eliminating detergent and carefully spraying odor eliminator on myself, my boots, my tree stand and my hat and also misting buck lure around where I’d set-up. The deer walked to where the hole was in the fence, turned and came right down to the gap where I took aim.”
In another instance, Groom chose a spot to hunt that had two trails coming out a swamp and crossing a road. He parked his vehicle on the road in front of one trail and set his stand up near the second trail. Within a couple of hours, a buck came along the trail where Groom was set-up, after avoiding where the truck and Groom’s scent were. Groom bagged that buck. “When I locate two or three deer trails crossing a road, I always park my vehicle where the deer on one trail can smell and see my truck, which generally forces them over to the trail I’m hunting,” Groom says.
“How to Hunt and Take Big Buck Deer on Small Properties” at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OOC2T0Y#, available in Kindle, print and Audible versions. To receive your free book on “How to Make Venison Jerky,” go to https://www.dropbox.com/sh/itouigq8uvrh8u1/AADtiETp26LJ3uWNq__ioKrGa?dl=0.