John's Journal...

Why, Where and How to Find Bucks in Funnels with Dr. Larry Marchinton

Shrinking a Bottleneck

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Dr. Larry Marchinton, a retired professor of wildlife sciences from the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, has studied and hunted white-tailed deer throughout his life. Marchinton knows where to find white-tailed deer. Dr. Marchinton has contributed volumes of information from his studies and observations about deer habits, deer communication, deer-movement patterns and deer socialization. Much of what we know about the language of the white-tailed deer, scrape hunting, rub hunting and when and how the deer use the licking branch have come from Marchinton's research. This week, he’ll tell us how to locate funnels (bottlenecks) Click to enlargeand hunt them to our best advantage.

Of course, you may locate a bottleneck that's wider than you can shoot across, which means some deer may pass through the bottleneck out of range of your bow. I know from my own personal hunting, if I try to hunt a bottleneck like this, the buck I want to take always seems to pass through the bottleneck on the side of the bottleneck where I can't get off a shot.

To solve this problem, you have to shrink the bottleneck. First decide which side of the bottleneck you want to hunt. Generally throughout deer season, you'll want to hunt the southeast side of the bottleneck, if the bottleneck runs north and south, because the prevailing wind usually comes from the northwest. So, evaluate the bottleneck you hope to hunt in light of prevailing wind direction, and decide where you need to set up your stand. Also remember that during early bow season in muchClick to enlarge of the South, you also may have a southerly wind coming up from the Gulf of Mexico.

For instance, if you pinpoint a likely-looking bottleneck with a large woodlot on its south end and north end, then you need to set up your tree stand on the southwest side of the bottleneck to take advantage of the prevailing wind.  But, perhaps this bottleneck has a 100-yard width, which means deer may pass through the bottleneck out of bow range. To shrink this bottleneck, go to the western Click to enlargeside of the bottleneck, and use limbs, bushes and sticks to create a small, natural wall, 3- to 4-feet high.  Then extend that brushy wall all the way across the bottleneck to within 30 yards of your tree stand, angling it like the neck of a funnel from the west side of the funnel toward the east side. You've actually created a smaller funnel inside the funnel. Of course, deer simply can hop over that little brushy wall. But, generally if nothing pressures the deer, then when they hit that brushy wall, they'll follow it to its end and walk around it, putting every deer that comes through the funnel within your bow range.

You also can make a funnel by using a fence. If you notice deer walking along the edge of a fence, you can pick a spot where you want to put your tree stand within bow range of the fence. Utilize a forked stick to make the gap somewhat wider between the middle-two strands of a barbed-wire fence. Make sure you have the permission of the landowner before you do this. Also check out whether or not any cattle or other livestock may come through that hole in the fence on either side.  By using this forked stick to spread the barbed wire, you create a hole for the deer to go through, and any deer walking up and down the fence now has a funnel it can use to move from one side of the fence to the other.

Often funnels will have two or three trails going through them. But, you want all the deer that travel through the funnel to come down one trail. Solve this problem by creating a funnel-shaped barrier across the two trails that you don't want the deer to walk down and forcing them onto the trail where you do want them to walk.  Just finding a funnel doesn't insure that you'll get a shot at a bow buck. Oftentimes you have to create a funnel inside a funnel to force the deer to come into bow range. Create these funnels before the season starts to allow deer to become accustomed to walking through that 30-yard stretch of ground where you want to arrow them.

Tomorrow: Using Weird Funnels

Check back each day this week for more about "Why, Where and How to Find Bucks in Funnels with Dr. Larry Marchinton"

Day 1: Hunt a Funnel
Day 2: Identifying a Funnel
Day 3: Shrinking a Bottleneck
Day 4: Using Weird Funnels
Day 5: Finding Success at Funnels


Entry 475, Day 3