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Five Ways in March to Increase Your Odds in November

March 14, 2010
By Brian Miller, Field Editor
The weather has been perfect the last month here in Ohio. The cool weather brought on by the end of the winter; a pleasant change from the grey dreariness that envelops us during the cold midwinter snowy days. And as March pushes on, the temperature just keeps climbing. This is a perfect time to break out from our caves and spend these beautiful days in the woods.

What’s better than hitting the woods armed with a chainsaw and tree saw? Before the woods become overcome with nasty mosquitoes, it is a great time to set yourself up for a killer fall deer hunting season. Right now, you have the opportunity to hit the woods, clearing those overgrown trails and shooting lanes. There are five things you can do today that will certainly increase your odds for success in November.

Cutting Lanes

It might seem crazy to clear shooting lanes eight months in advance of the deer season. March is the best time to clear shooting lanes. Right now the trees are still bare, similar to how they look in November. Cutting lanes allow you to cut the right branches away and keep enough cover around for hiding.

Once summer hits, the Fourth of July holiday quickly slips away and before I know it is Labor Day. And that’s too close to opening day to be touching your deer hunting woods. Post season scouting is my favorite time of the year. I love finding new places to hunt and figuring out the big buck riddle. Cutting out lanes now really completes the circle. It is amazing the type of activity you’ll see by cutting in March and not returning until November. That is truly zero pressure!

Clearing the Road

Too many of us think about building the perfect stand location; cutting lanes, building funnels. But then we forget that if a buck spots us upon entering the woods, the game is over. Now is the time to clear out the main walkways and consider a better entry route. How can we enter without being seen or smelled? Clear paths or create a screen of brush so they can’t see you coming. I’ve even raked leaves clear to make it deadly quiet. The easier you can get in and out the better your success.

Tighter Funnels

Who says you have to find the perfect funnel? Instead create your own prefect funnel. This can be done by cutting down a tree to pinch deer closer to your stand, building brush piles, or putting up a fence. All of these are extremely effective at moving deer closer to where you want them to travel. This type of work puts a lot of scent on the ground. Also deer take a while to get used to the newly constructed funnel. Even tying branches onto a tree, creating a split rail fence works wonders.

Hinge Cut

Hinge cutting trees is a logger technique which can help create better buck bedrooms. Cutting the trees down allows sunlight to reach in. It won’t take long for these areas to look like a tangled mess. Big bucks love to bed down in fallen tree tops. The young saplings will quickly begin to grow and offer great foods and security. Starting out it’s good to cut twisted, dead or unfavorable trees. I like to leave the hardwoods, like oak and hickory’s intact. Instead of searching out the perfect buck bedding area, create your own. You will be amazed at how quickly these locations begin producing big time results.

Clearing Brush in Thickets

Think you found the perfect ticket? Think again. Actually start working the brushy mess in your favor. Several years ago I began cutting small paths through the brushy mess. Immediately I noticed the deer adapted these areas as main travel corridors. It doesn’t take much cutting to develop a good thicket into a great thick corridor. I start by crawling through the area cutting tunnels. All of these tunnels crisscross to within my shooting lanes. This takes a tremendous amount of work, but it’s worth every drop of sweat.

March is a great time to prep new stands, hinge cut, create funnels, clear brush and create bedding areas. During this time of the year you can visit your hunting area as much as needed. Deer will have long forgotten your intrusion and will have plenty of time to become accustomed to the changes you've made before hunting begins. I personally spend every possible minute outdoors in March, doing everything possible to double my success. Get your prep done now! It's a whole lot nicer to work in the mild weather than it is to slave away in an 80 degree bug-infested jungle.

Article Photos

March is a great time to prep new stands, hinge cut, create funnels, clear brush and create bedding areas. The chainsaw is a good tool to take along. Photo by Jason Crean

Fact Box

Before the woods become overcome with nasty mosquitoes, it is a great time to set yourself up for a killer fall deer hunting season.



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