John's Journal...

Learn the Most-Productive Stand Sites to Take Deer

Day 4: David Hale Likes Funnels for Deer Stand Sites

Editor’s Note: What magic ingredients do the best deer hunters in the nation use to find the perfect tree-stand sites? What can we learn from hundreds of years of deer-hunting experience that will help each of us pinpoint places in the woods where we can take big deer? To learn the answers to these questions, we’ve interviewed seven of the nation’s deer-hunting experts. We’ll ask each of them to describe the best tree-stand site he ever has hunted from and to name what ingredients have made that particular site so productive that he’s bagged a big buck from that spot in the woods.

Click for Larger ViewDavid Hale, one of the co-founders of Knight and Hale Game Call Company and Commonwealth Productions Company in Cadiz, Kentucky, has hunted deer for over 40 years and also hunts with a video camera much of each deer season. “I was head hunting (looking for a trophy rack) when I took this big buck,” Hale explains. “I like to hunt funnels, bottlenecks and heads of woods where deer have to cross a field from one head of woods to another head of woods. Two woodlots had created a funnel with fields making up the hourglass part of the field. I knew the deer on either side of the bottleneck could hear me rattling or grunting.

The other requirement that I had for any other stand when I planned to rattle or grunt to deer was that the deer couldn’t see past my stand. I wanted to have a thicket, a treetop or some other type of thick cover behind the stand. Click for Larger ViewThen regardless of which way the deer comes from, he couldn’t see past my stand. I believe that having that thick-cover area right beside your stand is critical to a stand site’s being productive, especially if you’ll be calling. With that thick-cover region below your stand when you’re calling to a deer, if the deer can’t see the buck that’s calling, he assume that the deer that’s calling is on the other side of that thick cover which will make him come in to where you are.

“I had four elements in my favor when I picked this stand site. I…

“was hunting a bottleneck that concentrated deer through a narrow piece of property so that if a buck came within sight of me, I should be able to get a shot, unless he got spooked,

“was at the most-narrow part of the bottleneck when I called to the deer, so deer on both sides of the bottleneck should have heard my call and come to it.

Click for Larger View“had some brush right at the base of my stand that created a wall through which the deer couldn’t see. Therefore, bucks coming from either direction would assume that the deer that they heard calling to them was on other side of the brush.

“had the wind in my favor.

“When I first spotted this deer, he was at about 75 yards traveling with two other bucks. Click for Larger ViewThe younger bucks were the ones actually coming cautiously to my calling with my grunt call. I think the other buck was simply following his two amigos, which looked to be 1- and 1-1/2-years old. However, the older 3- to 4-year-old buck I wanted to take would have scored 140 points on the Pope & Young. I let the two younger bucks pass by my stand and go toward the field crossing. When the older buck was at 20 yards, I made my draw and took a shot at him as he started to take a step forward. I’d learned over the years that when a buck took a step forward and was only standing on three legs, then if you released the arrow, the buck couldn’t jump the string. He would fall over. However, a deer standing still could drop down in a heartbeat if you shot, and he heard the string. The arrow would pass over him. The arrow hit the buck right behind the shoulder in the ribs. The buck wheeled, ran about 70 yards and then dropped.”

Tomorrow: Brad Harris Likes Creek Bottom Deer Stands & Chris Kirby Tells How Doe Deer Stands Can Pay Off in Big Bucks

Check back each day this week for more about "Learn the Most-Productive Stand Sites to Take Deer "

Day 1: Ronnie Groom Takes Deer in the Florida Swamps by Hunting Bottlenecks
Day 2: Jim Crumley Selects His Deer Stand Sites Carefully
Day 3: Mark Drury & Midwestern Deer Stands & Will Primos Uses Cane Thicket Stands
Day 4: David Hale Likes Funnels for Deer Stand Sites
Day 5: Brad Harris Likes Creek Bottom Deer Stands & Chris Kirby Tells How Doe Deer Stands Can Pay Off in Big Bucks


Entry 587, Day 4