John's Journal...

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

Using Weird Funnels

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Not all funnels look alike.  You may hunt over a funnel and not realize it.  For instance, at a creek crossing, you'll often find a funnel at the spot where the creek narrows, and there's shallow water.  Deer on both sides of the creek will go back and forth across the creek at this same spot.

I once discovered a trail deep in the woods that went across a beaver swamp.  In highClick to enlarge water, the deer would have to walk 50 or 60 yards across open water to get from one side of the swamp to the other.  Few other hunters had found this trail. To learn why the deer crossed the water at that spot in the flooded timber, I went into woods as dry as a tinder box in late September before bow season beganin mid-October. When I reached the trail the deer used to cross the flooded timber, I discovered why they used it.  An old beaver dam formed a ridge there that went across the bottom of the swamp.  When the river flooded, and the swamp filled with water, you no longer could see the beaver dam now underwater. The deer on both sides of the flooded timber could walk across that beaver dam to reach either side of the woodlot. This beaver dam created a funnel area where most of the deer crossed the water in non-pressure times.

Low places in mountains as well as any other type terrain break that causes the deer to use less energy to get from one place to the other will create funnels.  If a brClick to enlargeidge crosses a creek with relatively-shallow water, or the land under the bridge is above water, deer often will walk under the bridge to move from one woodlot to another, instead of going across the road or the highway. Dr. Robert Sheppard of Carrollton, Alabama, had noticed a nice buck standing beside a creek several times as he'd gone to his stand in the morning, come back from his stand at lunch and moved back to his stand in the afternoon. Sheppard didn't always see the buck next to the creek, but he hClick to enlargead spotted this buck enough times that he decided to hunt him. "Although I could see where the buck was going from the place where I'd seen him several times, his trail just seemed to appear and then vanish," Sheppard said. "I couldn't see where he was coming fromto get to that spot on the creek.
"Finally one day I went under the bridge and realized that the buck had a trail – a well-worn trail – he was using to come under the bridge.  Next, he walked in the creek, and then he came out under a white oak acorn tree.

“So, I set up my tree stand to take the buck where he came out of the water and headed for the white oak.  After I took that buck, I checked under more bridges around the area as I hunted.  I learned that you might find a very-good deer trail coming under a bridge in other places, and that the bridge often would serve as the neck of a funnel to allow deer to get from one side of the road to the other side of the road without having to cross the road."

Tomorrow: Finding Success at 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 4