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Deer Hunting: Live on the Edge

Author: 
Jim Boyd

Regardless of whether you are in a well known hunting area or if you are faced with hunting a new or familiar tract of land, take my advice: Live on the Edge.

Let's make sure you understand that refers to a style of hunting and not being irresponsible!

Why not hunt the edges? This is where deer travel a great percentage of the time!

Field edges, areas where pine turns to hardwood, areas where any type of woods turns to thickets, the edges of swamps, fence rows, old logging roads - these are all areas where deer frequent and travel.

We all know how effective a bottleneck or a hot feeding location can be at funneling or bringing deer to you - these areas are foregone conclusions. Not so obvious is how effective even a subtle edge can be at doing the same thing.

Let's look at exactly those two types of areas for a moment.

In a traditional bottleneck or funnel area where woodlots are interconnected by smaller patches or woods - or perhaps a fence row or creek - deer are literally guided toward your stand. Want to make that place even more deadly as an ambush location? Stand back and take a closer look. Are there any features that might make some portion of that area more appealing to a deer (particularly a wise old buck) as a travel lane? Frequently, that puzzle is unlocked when you look for an "edge". Let's say that 2 larger woodlots are connected by a strip of woods that is 100 yards or so wide. Great ambush location, no doubt! Look for one portion of this patch of woods that may contain a thicket edge, a gully, a creek bed or some other area that offers more concealment for the deer. Find that and you may find that "special" travel route that deer prefer! Once you find that trail that leads along or in and out of that edge area, start taking a closer look for interconnecting trails, particularly at either end of the funnel area, where it rejoins each section of the larger woodlots. Find this, pay attention to wind direction, hang a stand and hold on!!

When the white oaks start dropping their bounty along your favorite ridge or that row of persimmon trees starts to get heavy with fruit, you know the deer are coming! You may not be sure when they are coming - or when - but you know they are! Again, look for an "edge" that will give you an advantage when you set your stand up. Look for areas of wood transition where pine turns to hardwoods (or vice versa), areas where a gully may lead to one of these feeding areas or areas where a dense thicket offers a protected travel lane as they work their way toward the feeding areas. Any of these type areas may well be the advantage that lies between you and a filled deer tag! Again, look for the deer trials that lead toward the feeding areas and work your way outward to where you find intersecting trails and start to look for a favorable ambush site!

In either of the above mentioned scenarios, when heavily used or intersecting trails are located, it will pay to mark t...

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