John's Journal...

Why, Where and How to Find Buck Deer in Funnels

Day 2: Shrinking a Bottleneck to Find More Deer

Click for Larger ViewAny time you spot an hourglass shape on the landscape where two-different habitat types come close together to create a small opening, you've discovered a bottleneck or a funnel. Deer hunters need to recognize the importance of bottlenecks because generally the deer living on both ends of a bottleneck will travel through that bottleneck to move from one place to the other. If you hunt a bottleneck with a wind that blows your scent away from the bottleneck, you'll see more deer passing through the bottleneck than you'll spot on either end of the bottleneck. Click for Larger ViewBowhunters enjoy hunting bottlenecks, particularly since usually they can see across a bottleneck and shoot from one side of the bottleneck to the other.

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. For instance, you'll want to hunt the southeast side of the bottleneck, if the bottleneck runs north and south, and the prevailing wind usually comes from the northwest. 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 much of the South, you also may have a southerly wind coming up from the Gulf of Mexico.

Click for Larger ViewFor example, 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, if you’re bowhunting. To shrink this bottleneck, go to the western side 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. Click for Larger ViewBut, 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 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.

Tomorrow: Using Weird Funnels to Help You Take Deer

Check back each day this week for more about "Why, Where and How to Find Buck Deer in Funnels."

Day 1: Larry Marchinton Tells Us How to Identify Funnels That Deer Use
Day 2: Shrinking a Bottleneck to Find More Deer
Day 3: Using Weird Funnels to Help You Take Deer
Day 4: Finding Deer Hunting Success at Funnels
Day 5: Habitat Changes That Create Funnels Deer Use


Entry 583, Day 2