Bucks tend to be very cautious on the property where I hunt. This is because the surrounding areas receive a lot of hunting pressure.
Older, wiser bucks know to travel in the thick stuff and won’t put themselves at risk by stepping out into the open.
My stands are located near openings large enough to get a clear shot. These are situated where bucks MUST cross in order to get to food sources, bedding areas and does.
The problem is to know exactly where they will cross. With numerous faint game trails, this can be unpredictable.
But what can I do to lead deer into the killing zones I want them to enter?
As we all know, deer like to take the path of least resistance when traveling. That’s why I began creating man-made game trails.
These paths put some predictability into where deer will appear in the killing zones.
My game trails are not very large. I want deer to be fairly visible, yet comfortable about not being too visible. Older bucks will step aside from wide shooting paths if they feel vulnerable, using smaller or practically nonexistent game trails.
This is why I make my walking paths only about 24-to 36-inches wide, with sparse trimming. It’s just enough for them to pass through easily without exposing themselves too much.
Often, it’s simply widening and clearing an already established, but faint game trail.
I clear fallen trees, overgrown brush, sticks and briars — anything that might dissuade deer from using the path.
Now, my man-made game trails lead deer to openings or large intersections of game trails, placing them exactly where I want them: downwind and in range for a makeable shot.
Creating predictability goes a long way in deer hunting. I hope my tip about leading deer where you want them brings you greater success.
—Editor’s Note by Tim H. Martin
Deer are creatures of habit. If you haven’t been seeing them entering kill zones where they used to, you might want to check back in the thick stuff to see if a fallen tree or overgrown brush has impeded the game trail they once used.
Think of the food plot or clearing as a heart and the game trails as veins and arteries. When one gets clogged, that’s when the trouble begins.
Allen Pete’s tip about creating (or in this case, recreating) man-made game trails might restore your old honey hole to being productive again. Read Recent Tip of the Week:
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