Deer drives can be an effective tool for a coordinated group of hunters to take deer during midday and other low-movement periods. Driving also helps root out “islands��� of heavy cover where bucks seem to vanish during daylight hours. Safety and coordination are critical.
Both drivers and standers should wear hunter orange. Drivers must push through the cover in a coordinated fashion and at a uniform speed. They shouldn’t get too far apart or move too fast, because wise old bucks are prone to simply hunker down in heavy cover and let the drivers pass on by.
As mush as possible, all members of a drive should know where other members are at all times — and, for safety, assume that somebody isn’t where they’re supposed to be.
Drives are most effective in sectioned woodlots and open land with strips of cover. Deer will almost always react to a drive the same way from year to year, using escape routes based on that day’s wind direction. So if you know where they headed last year with an east wind, you should expect them to do the same thing during an east wind this season.
Different groups have different methods, some preferring the drivers to make noise, whooping and hollering; others instructing drivers to sneak along quietly. There’s no right or wrong technique, as each has its advantages. The loud approach can cause deer to move quickly, often sending them running by standers. But it’s safer and likely moves more deer. The quiet approach often leads to deer attempting to “sneak” by the standers for easier shots, and it also gives the pushers a better chance to take a deer if that is the goal.
Laws governing deer drives vary, so be sure you know the rules. And always remember safety first.