John's Journal...

How to Hunt the Pines and the Lulls for Deer

Day 2: Prime Time Hunting for Deer in the Pines: Years 6 through 15

Editor’s Note: Many hunters consider pine plantations biological deserts where nothing exists except pine trees and pine straw - or that's what outdoorsmen have told other sportsmen for years. Honestly, I truly hope you believe that, because the majority of hunters who accept that idea will stay out of some of the best big-buck territory in the nation, leaving the prime hunting spots for those who know how to hunt the pines. Pine plantations generally home some of the most-productive places I know to take big deer for three reasons. Pine plantations provide food and browse for the deer to feed on, cover they can hide in and a barrier most hunters won't penetrate to search for deer. For instance, I've never had another hunter walk through my hunting site when I've hunted inside a pine plantation. Deer hold in pine plantations from the first year after the planting of the pines until the last year when foresters cut the mature trees, generally a timeline of about 30 years. Let's look at some secrets for hunting a pine plantation.

During Years 6 through 15:

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger View* Hunt trash piles/windrows. Immediately after the clear-cutting of a region, foresters will pile-up stumps and brush and often try to burn them. During the first 5 years of a pine plantation's life, these windrows, which seem to vanish inside the pine plantation, will grow up with honeysuckle and briars. Then as the young pines and the vegetation in them grows, you'll no longer see the windrows from outside the clear-cut, but you still can locate them. As the stumps, roots, burnt logs and limbs forming the windrow rot and decay, they'll produce very-rich and fertile ground that grows a wide variety of shrubs and vines that deer love to eat, including blackberry, greenbrier, honeysuckle and other plants, offering a smorgasbord for the deer. The windrows become a deer food buffet that may stretch throughout the entire length of the pine plantation, providing food as nutritious and abundant as a green field and often creating an edge effect inside the planted pines. These windrows, which look like long, slender walls of dirt and foliage, generally have higher elevations than the surrounding ground. But these windrows will have breaks in them, which will allow deer to pass through them to move from one side of the clear-cut to the other. These breaks in the windrows create funnel areas inside the planted pines that concentrate deer. You can set up a ground blind or a tripod stand close to these funnel areas and see numbers of deer.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger View* Cut shooting lanes from your tree stand or ground blind to the section of land where you think the deer will appear. Use a pruning saw to cut the lower limbs off the young pines to open-up shooting lanes between the rows of pines. To consistently take deer, especially good-sized bucks in a pine plantation, make sure you don't leave a trail going into or coming out of the pine plantation. If other hunters learn where you're hunting, they'll often hunt with a wrong wind, perhaps make too much noise and/or foul-up your area when you're not hunting there. To hide your hunting honey hole, move to it before daylight, and come out after dark using a hand-held GPS to guide you through the pines in the dark.

For more deer-hunting tips, get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro,”
How to Hunt Deer Up Close: With Bows, Rifles, Muzzleloaders and Crossbows,” and “PhD Whitetails: How to Hunt and Take the Smartest Deer on Any Property,” or to prepare venison, get “Deer & Fixings.” Click on each, or 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.


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About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) 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: Still Good Hunting for Deer in the Pines: Years 16 - 30

Check back each day this week for more about How to Hunt the Pines and the Lulls for Deer"

Day 1: From Dirt to Thickets: Hunting a Pine Plantation for Deer from Years 1 through 5
Day 2: Prime Time Hunting for Deer in the Pines: Years 6 through 15
Day 3: Still Good Hunting for Deer in the Pines: Years 16 - 30
Day 4: Hunting Deer During the Rut in a Young Pine Plantation with Larry Norton
Day 5: How to Hunt the Lulls for Deer

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Entry 753, Day 2