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TOP FOUR TERRAIN PICKS

July 15, 2009
By Brian Miller, Field Editor
Under the cover of darkness, I silently slipped into the woods two hours before daybreak. Only five steps up into the tree I heard the sound of a trotting buck coming directly at me. Within moments he was standing below my feet; then he slipped on without a clue. As I finished getting into my stand, I hoped he would return after the sun lit up the woods. It was late October and the morning had already been exciting. I could barely wait to see what else the morning would bring.

The rut is the best time of the year to tag a buck, during this time anything can happen. Just by stepping into the woods, you’re stacking the odds in your favor. Looking back at my successful rut hunts, I have narrowed my location down to my top four areas.

Funnels

While sitting in a tight funnel any deer that is passing through the woods has to walk within yards. Those are the types of odds I like to stack in my favor. Out of all my hunting locations a majority of them are funnels.

Farm land funnels are easy to locate by scouring aerial photos. Any pinch points within the woodlot or ridges stretching between swamps are hot spots. But there are many other hidden funnels which are harder to locate. Such areas include thick strips of cover adjacent to an open woodlot or taller grasses among a large grass field. Or narrow strips of timber reaching through a steep gully. Often times these locations are not uncovered without wearing out some boot rubber during the off season. Sitting in a funnel between two doe bedding areas or bedding and feeding areas can be killer during the peak of the rut.

Inside Corners

Early in my hunting career one of my best treestands was located on an inside corner. There was always a ton of activity but I didn’t really understand why until much later in life. Inside corners are great because they funnel deer traffic. Any deer moving from one side of the woods to the other will grow closer to the corner. Deer are just as lazy as humans and if given the opportunity to stay hidden and take fewer steps they will.

A mature buck is like an older man. During my teenage years, I used to run around, play sports and had a ton of energy. As we grow older we do less, so do mature bucks.

Additionally during the rut periods bucks cut corners to scent check the area. He can cover several converging trails and scent check the field for hot does. Anytime you can cover several trails your odds will dramatically increase.

Extending Wooded Points

A finger of woods extending into cropland offers a great whitetail escape. These points are often lower wet land that was unable to be farmed or higher ridgelines. Extending along the finger of timber will be a congregate of travel routes. These are great ambush locations.

A finger extending from a large wooded section into standing corn has often provided me success. Deer feel comfortable slipping in and out of the corn because an escape route is only several bounds away. This tactic proved successful when a local hunter set up within a long finger extending into a standing cornfield. When the pressure of gun season increased, a large 8 point traveled this escape route for the last time.

Converging Fence Rows

Across all of Ohio you’ll find many parcels with nothing but a wide open spans of fields. But upon closer inspection, you’ll begin notice an intricate series of travel routes within the fence rows. But, all fence rows are not created equal; the thicker and wider the better. It doesn’t take much for a deer to hide but I’ve found better hunting along those uncut thick areas. These areas not only provide travel routes but also serve as hideouts.

Any place where several travel routes converge dramatically increases your odds. By setting up on converging fence rows you’ll catch both buck and doe travel routes. During the rut while bucks are chasing and searching there’s no better place to set up. Even after the pressure intensifies during gun season these hidden routes help many whitetails grow old.

Final Thoughts

With this knowledge it’s easy to begin combining several terrain features into one hunting location. One of the best locations I have hunted sits along a brushy river bottom. Extending into this funnel is several late producing apple trees which draw in the doe groups. The river winds around causing the timber to pinch down to forty yards forcing all the travel routes to converge. This prime location has provided me with many memorable rut hunting memories. For four killer rut hunting stands this fall search out these few killer locations. Who knows - the next monster buck may be lurking in a woods near you!

For more whitetail hunting tips visit the author at www.strictlywhitetails.com.

Article Photos

Additionally during the rut periods bucks cut corners to scent check the area. He can cover several converging trails and scent check the field for hot does. Photo courtesy of Brian Miller

Fact Box

Sitting in a funnel between two doe bedding areas or bedding and feeding areas can be killer during the peak of the rut.

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