John's Journal...

Effective Man-Drives for Deer at Any Time

Day 4: Terrain and Cover Dictate Techniques for Driving Deer

Click for Larger ViewAll of us realize that we’ll never take some bucks from the woods, because hunters never will put enough pressure to move them out of their daytime haunts. Once a sportsman realizes that the deer have sanctuary in hard-to-reach places, like thickets, clear-cuts and briar patches, then he also can assume that the hunter who braves the briars and the bushes can move the deer out of their hiding places. The deer think hunters won’t penetrate that cover, and the deer often can escape unseen if the hunter does go in to try to take him. That’s the time for a man-drive. Oftentimes from five to 20 men, not more than 20-yards apart, must plow through the brush to move the deer. But many times the standers on the edges of the thicket will get open, clear shots – usually running shots – of the deer as they break free from the cover. A well-organized man drive in thick cover can produce some of the biggest and best bucks on any piece of property, if no one has driven the thick cover during deer season.

Click for Larger ViewBack when I still had my taxidermy business, for four or five consecutive years, a small group of hunters brought in six to eight trophy bucks each season for me to mount. Sometimes the same hunter brought in two or three trophies for mounting. Finally one day when curiosity got the best of me, I said, “You fellows have to tell me how you take this many bucks. You must use a method no one else does.” “Not really,” Jerry Smith told me. “We just put on small man-drives.” “I know plenty of folks who put on man-drives,” I answered. “But none of them are as effective as you are. What do you do differently?”

Click for Larger View“Well, we put on what we call briar-patch hunts,” Smith explained. “We’ll make from 10 to 15 hunts per day. We never drive over 10 acres of property at a time. Each drive usually only lasts from 15 to 20 minutes. We look for small heads of woods or briar patches close to main roads or main arteries in the woods. We search for spots that no one in his right mind will hunt like a drainage ditch in the middle of a field, a big berry thicket next to an old logging road or some other kind of really-thick cover close to well-traveled roads. Then we can use the roads to reach these briar patches quickly and easily. “One or two men will move into the cover. If a deer is in that small scope of woods and briars, the drivers can usually drive him out in 5 to 10 minutes. If the deer comes out of the cover, we can take him. If there’s not a deer in the briar patch, then we can load-up quick, move to another part of the woods and put on another short hunt without wasting any time.

Click for Larger View“I believe most hunters who use man-drives try to drive too large an area with too few standers. Our group has been productive because we drive small regions of woods that can be covered with four or five standers and one or two drivers. We can move quickly and efficiently from one drive to another. We use the army’s hit-and-run tactic by hitting an area of woods and taking the deer we encounter there. Or, we’ll run to another place and hit it. I don’t know if this technique will pay-off for everyone, but as you can tell, John, it certainly pays-off for us.” I had to admit from the trophy deer I saw that these men certainly knew how to utilize man-driving methods to their maximum efficiency.

Tomorrow: Elements of Good Man-Driving for Deer

Check back each day this week for more about "Effective Man-Drives for Deer at Any Time "

Day 1: Mountain Driving for Deer
Day 2: Single-Man Driving for Deer
Day 3: Driving Deer Electronically
Day 4: Terrain and Cover Dictate Techniques for Driving Deer
Day 5: Elements of Good Man Driving for Deer


Entry 597, Day 4