Hunting where visibility is limited can be challenging. I live in Alabama where thick timber, pine groves, briars, brambles and dense undergrowth are the norm.
No hunter has confidence watching a spot where they can’t see very far. But I’ve learned there are ways to use dense areas to my advantage.
In the Deep South, I’ve seen hunters lose confidence in hunting clear-cuts once replanted pine trees are about four years old. The maturing trees and thick secondary growth make seeing a deer nearly impossible, and hunters chalk it up as un-huntable.
That’s when I use my techniques to ambush bucks!
After all, the deer are still there — even more so. The sea of trees harbors a virtual deer buffet of honeysuckle, woody stems and countless varieties of fresh-from-the-earth green undergrowth to attract them.
The density of it all brings another attraction to deer: a sense of security.
So, how does one hunt this type of place and still get shot opportunities?
Almost any well-managed block of timber or clear-cut has some sort of road system or firebreak running through the length of the block or surrounding it.
Game trails across roads tend to be more pronounced inside the thick areas, and you can easily see where they cross roads consistently. This is where you want to focus.
First, for safety reasons, stay in touch with anyone else who hunts on the property. Let them know to stay away from the road you will be hunting, and consider placing something like orange road construction cones in the road to remind them it’s occupied.
You’ll likely be hunting from the ground, from a makeshift blind, a tent-blind or even a lawn chair. And I highly recommend a set of shooting sticks to steady your rifle on.
Because you won’t have the advantage of keeping your scent above the ground from the elevation of a treestand, be aware that wind direction is all-important.
These shooting lanes are often narrow, so stopping deer long enough for a shot is the main issue. They cross fast!
Don’t laugh, but I use something as simple as toilet paper or a white rag dangling from a stick jabbed into the ground to get deer to stop.
They are curious creatures, and there’s something about a 12-inch strip of T.P. or cloth that gets their attention, and they’ll pause to check it out. Maybe it’s because deer use their white tails to communicate.
You can also use Tink’s, scents or other attractants to make them pause long enough for a shot. Try deer feed, too, if it’s legal in your state and you consider it ethical.
I’ve noticed deer usually only look one way when crossing, so placing your attractants or curiosity objects on both sides of the crossing is a good idea.
I use my trail cameras like crazy at crossings to inventory bucks and familiarize myself with their antlers. The faster you can identify a buck on your hit list, the better chance you have to make a quick shot.
If there isn’t a suitable tree to hang a trail cam near the deer crossing, drive a wooden stake into the ground and strap your camera to it.
Remain on high alert, with your rifle set up on shooting sticks, ready to identify your target, listening closely for deer coming down the game trail.
So, don’t give up or ignore the thick areas. I’ve enjoyed great success using these tactics over the years, and I believe they can help other Buckmasters fans, too.
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