Whitetail 101 Section #5 continues to focus on a whitetail deers travel and terrain. This segment will focus on how you can find and hunt whitetail deer corridors, funnels and pinch points. These are a key element hunters can use to unlock how and where to hunt deer.
Grunt, Snort-Wheeze, and Rattle this to your buddies!
Travel corridors are prime spots for targeting bucks, setting up a stand or blind on a busy travel corridor is a good strategy, especially when there’s a draw at the end of the corridor. It’s best to set up your stand on the downwind side and try to have a way to get to your stand discretely with minimal foot traffic in that corridor. Hinge cutting a few trees perpendicular to the corridor gives both cover and browsing opportunity. Be cautious not to overdo it. Do not hinge cut trees across or parallel to the trail as this creates a sort of tunnel that deer won’t like being confined in. Keep the walked portion of the trail 2-3 feet wide and clear of shrub and grass but offer spots for deer to escape if they need.
When creating a corridor, try your best to follow the natural twists and turns of the land. Doing this increases your chances of getting deer to walk that path. Nothing in nature is ever perfectly straight, and deer are not bound to the same walking rules. If that deer has a mind to follow the natural flow of the land over your straight cut trail, it will. Keep in mind the prevailing wind direction when undertaking creating a deer corridor. If you are a treestand hunter like me, you will want to know the wind direction, and have a good tree picked out along the corridor. One that allows you good vision while still being concealed, and enough cover to allow you to draw your bow without being detected.
Funnels whether natural or manmade, are areas that channel (funnel) deer towards a pinch point. Funnels direct deer towards a pinch point or draw, but without providing as many places to diverge and escape. Deer are free to jump out of a corridor, the same cannot be said for a funnel. For this reason, one can estimate how effective a funnel will be based on how restrictive it is. Don’t expect to find many deer willing to walk two hundred yards along a 6-foot-wide bit of dry land that runs between two ponds. However, if this hypothetical funnel was 10 yards long and there are draws at the pinch points, then this funnel provides a viable hunting opportunity. Funnels are similar to travel corridors with the key difference being the restrictive quality.
Pinch points are prime ambush locations suitable for solo or group drive hunts. These can be natural or manmade. Pinch points will funnel deer because it is either a relatively easy path that provides some security, or the only viable crossing. One natural pinch point would be the ends of valleys where the surrounding ridge has a steep incline. These are easy to locate on a topographic map. A man-made pinch point can usually be found at the opening between two fields separated by a fence. This can also be surrounded by a tight group of trees or thicket.
There is a soy field I hunt for deer in the early bow season. The field is not level and the lower part of forest along the field edge is partially flooded, and fenced. On top of this it is also filled with fallen trees. There is only one spot along this edge where there’s an opening. This opening is the head of game trail that leads into the drier, cleaner part of the wood. Further inside, this trail connects to an isolated hardwood forest on slightly elevated ground where deer beds can be found. The partially flooded wood to either side is not completely impassible, so this trail acts as a corridor. The pinch point is the opening in the field edge, and the funnel is the field edge itself as the edge opposite is a house and roadway.
When scouting find and map whitetail deer corridors, funnels and pinch points. These features will help you unlock new hunting areas. These features have paid dividends to deer hunters in the past and will continue to do so for you.