Editor’s Note: Although the time is near the middle of February, several states still are having deer season. Next year, you can plan to hunt in Delaware, Texas, Rhode Island, Ohio, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Maryland until the end of January. The states holding February deer hunts, include:
* my home state of Alabama with some sections of the state still in rutting season. Alabama’s deer season ends in mid-February;
* Mississippi, where you can hunt with primitive weapons (archery and muzzleloaders) until mid-March, in parts of the state;
* Florida’s Panhandle where deer season lasts until February 23;
* Arkansas with a season ending the end of February; and
* Virginia with its urban archery hunts primarily on private lands to try to reduce suburban yard damage and deer-car collisions that doesn’t end until March 29th.
Some years ago, I asked Dr. Larry Marchinton, retired professor of wildlife sciences at the University of Georgia, who has studied and researched white-tailed deer for years, “If you only could pick one area where you think your odds were best for taking a buck, what would that area be like, and why would you pick that one site?” Marchinton didn’t hesitate when he answered, “To take a buck at any time of the year, your odds are best when you’re hunting a funnel.”
Once you locate deer feeding on agriculture, often you can identify the main trail leading into that agricultural field. Generally, many hunters will put their tree stands there. However, if you’ll follow that main trail back into the woods, you may pinpoint a place where two or three trails come together, perhaps at a creek crossing or some other type of funnel. If you put your tree stand within range of your bow or your gun at a creek crossing or where those trails come together, you often may see three times as many deer, which will improve dramatically your chances of bagging a really-nice buck.
To locate a funnel easily, look at an aerial photo of the land you hunt, or fly-over that land in an airplane. Then you quickly and easily can spot habitat changes that create funnels and scout those areas for deer tracks and trails which will enable you to …
* concentrate deer movement;
* enable you to get the most deer within range; and
* provide places where you most likely will see deer at this time of the year.
The more funnels you pinpoint on the property you hunt, and the more you learn about when, how and where to hunt those funnels, the more success you’ll have hunting deer throughout the entire deer season.
To learn more about hunting deer, check out John E. Phillips’ book, available in Kindle, print and Audible versions, “How to Hunt Deer Up Close: With Bows, Rifles, Muzzleloaders and Crossbows” (http://amzn.to/11dJRu8). You may have to copy and paste this link into your browser. (When you click on this book, notice on the left where Amazon says you can read 10% of the book for free, and you can listen to 10% for free).