Terrain and Tactics – The Art of Positioning a Tree Stand to Hunt Deer with Outdoor Writer John E. Phillips
Day 1: Why and Where to Set Up Tree Stands in Funnel Areas to Hunt Deer with Outdoor Writer John E. Phillips and Larry Norton
Editor’s Note: Tree stand placement not only determines how-many deer you’ll spot but also your likelihood of seeing a big buck.
According to Dr. Larry Marchinton, of Athens, Georgia, one of the nation's leading deer researchers, now retired, "Regardless of the time of year, the best place to take a buck from a tree stand is in a funnel area. Even if you're hunting during the rut, you'll see the most deer and have the best chance to bag bucks if you can find a funnel that has scrapes on both ends of it."
Two types of converging habitats that neck the woods down create a funnel. To find a funnel, use an aerial photo of the property you plan to hunt. Look for places where . . .
* a field corners into a creek or a roadbed;
* a pine plantation corners into a clear-cut with big woods on either end of the funnel;
* a creek has a clear-cut on either side of it with a small woodlot in between;
* a highway crosses a river and a small strip of woods lies between the highway and the river; * a rock bluff drops off into a mature hardwood bottom on the edge of a pasture, etc.
An aerial photo will show little necks of woods deer move through from one woodlot to another without exposing themselves in open terrain. On these photos, you may find hidden funnels that most other hunters haven't recognized. A hidden funnel may hold a productive place to hang a tree stand and take a big buck.
Where to Set Up Your Tree Stand in Hidden Funnels:
"One of the best places to find a buck to bag is underneath a bridge," longtime, avid deer hunter and guide Larry Norton of Butler, AlabASA, explains.” Many times a bridge over a creek or a river dividing two large woodlots will have enough dry land under it for deer to walk. If you'll stand on one side of the bridge, you’ll be able to take a buck that most other hunters won’t even see.
"Here's what I do. I scout under bridges and look for trails that indicate deer are moving there. Usually there’ll be only a small trail a mature buck is using. Younger bucks and does will walk across a road or a highway to move from woodlot to woodlot. But the older bucks only will move late in the afternoon or early in the morning under the bridge to be totally undetected."
Hunters often overlook a funnel formed by a woodlot close to a major highway and bordered by pastures. Many hunters believe that road traffic spooks deer. However, deer hear road traffic all year. Given the option of crossing the road or walking through a cleared pasture, bucks will choose to walk in a little neck of woods close to the highway. If you hunt these sections of land, make sure you're not on the highway's right-of-way, and get the permission of the landowner to hunt. But these small funnels that everyone sees but few recognize may spell highly-productive tree stand sites for either the gun hunter or the bowhunter.
To get John E. Phillips’ Kindle books, “Bowhunting Deer: The Secrets of the PSE Pros,” “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro” and “How to Hunt Deer Up Close: With Bows, Rifles, Muzzleloaders and Crossbows,” click on them, or go to http://www.ASAzon.com/kindle-ebooks, 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 (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.