John's Journal...

Create a Hot Spot Where You Can Hunt Deer Close

Day 4: Build Stalking Trails through Thick Cover to Help You Take More Bucks

Editor’s Note: Through the years, I've learned that focusing on the big aspects of deer hunting doesn't always bring as much success as paying attention to the small details like having food available that deer like to eat and having places where you can hunt deer close with your bow, muzzleloader, pistol or crossbow. Following through with the little things that everyone else thinks they automatically will do, but don't, will ensure success afield for bagging deer.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewYou can open-up more land and possibly take bigger bucks on the property you hunt by installing stalking lanes in young pine plantations. Some of the biggest bucks on the property you hunt may live in 2- to 15-year-old pine plantations where the bucks can survive for many years and only come out of the pines when they experience no hunting pressure. When landowners first plant pines, vegetation will grow up thick and lush there, providing plenty of food and habitat for whitetails. But you often can't move through these areas without spooking the deer there. Once you begin to put heavy hunting pressure on the edge of a pine stand where you'll have to hunt to spot the deer, the older, smarter bucks may remain in that thick-cover region all day and only come out after dark.

To solve this problem for hunters, wildlife biologist and forester Mark Thomas of Birmingham, Alabama, has developed a stalking-trail tactic that enables hunters to move through this thick cover quietly and unseen, to hunt it much more intensively than ever before and to increase the food availability for the deer inside the young pine plantation. "Once you install a stalking trail, you can hunt a pine plantation from the time it's 3-years old until it's 22- or 23-years old," Thomas says. "Work will be required initially to put the trail in, and you may have some annual maintenance on it. However, the benefits of having a stalking trail through a young pine plantation will far outweigh the work required."

What Advantages You’ll Find in a Stalking Trail:

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger View"If you install these stalking trails before deer season, the deer will begin to use them as travel corridors," Thomas explains. "Before when we've installed a stalking trail, we've sometimes seen the ground on these trails almost torn-up with deer tracks from the deer using these trails." Too, the stalking trails enable the hunter to move through a previously-impenetrable area and spot deer bedding on the sides of the stalking trails as well as feeding in the food plots. The installation of a stalking trail through a young pine plantation lets bowhunters, crossbow hunters, pistol hunters and muzzleloader hunters stalk in close enough to get off their shots and harvest deer in places they may never have been able to hunt before.

For more information, get the new eBook, “How to Hunt Deer Up Close: With Bows, Rifles, Muzzleloaders and Crossbows” by John E. Phillips. Go to, type in the name of the book, and download it to your Kindle and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (AMA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Tomorrow: How to Install a Stalking Lane to Hunt Deer Close

Check back each day this week for more about "Create a Hot Spot Where You Can Hunt Deer Close"

Day 1: Plant Fruit and Nut Trees to Create a Deer Hunting Honey Hole
Day 2: The Importance of Native Plants and Natural Nuts to Create a Honey Hole for Hunting Deer Close
Day 3: Use Wildlife Plantings to Make a Deer Hot Spot You Can Hunt
Day 4: Build Stalking Trails through Thick Cover to Help You Take More Bucks
Day 5: How to Install a Stalking Lane to Hunt Deer Close

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Entry 692, Day 4