Finding a hot spot for hunting is about taking a large area and reducing it to a small and viable size. Whether you’re looking for a 1-acre suburban lot or a 1,000-acre public hardwood, your goal is to find a place that will place it within the bow reach of your quarry.
Bowhunting’s challenge is to approach and remain undetected. With a little knowledge about the habitat and behavior of deer, you can reduce your search for a great hunting spot. Deer have natural tendencies and preferences for specific habitats, and these trends are dictated by food and safety.
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Deer are animals of prey and, therefore, naturally paranoid. As Bruce Ranta, a deer and elk biologist in Ontario, Canada, often says: “Deer are scared or dead.” Deer usually remain hidden in the thick undergrowth, but rarely find enough food in the bushes to stay there 24-7. That’s where the edges of the habitat come into play. An edge is where two types of habitat are found. An obvious example is when a field meets the forest or where a thicket meets mature hardwoods with an open undergrowth. The edges generally provide food for deer, allowing them to feed within a hop or two of safe coverage.
Oak trees, especially white oaks, provide the favorite autumn food of white-tailed deer: acorns. They are full of fats and proteins that deer need to spend the winter. Deer prefer white oak acorns because they have fewer tannins than red oak acorns, which makes them know better. Deer are mostly attracted to sites with oaks.
When deer move or travel to or from feeding areas, such as fields of oak and plains, they take routes that keep them hidden and follow paths of less resistance. They will not climb steep hills if they can find a dip or a low point between less demanding hills. These sites are called “saddles” because they form a weak spot on the ridge or hill and channel the deer through a specific location. Any place that concentrates deer movements in a small area is called a funnel. Saddles are excellent starting points for bowhunters because the terrain often brings deer within the range of the arch.
Another good example of a funnel is a strip of forests flanked on both sides by fields and connecting two larger lots of wood. This type of funnel acts as a bridge. It allows deer to avoid an open area while traveling, which makes them feel safer.
The lowlands flanking rivers, streams and streams also channel deer movements, especially in agricultural areas with large fields and other openings. Trees, weeds, and topography along these lowlands make deer less visible to predators. Look for narrow strips of coverage along these corridors, which concentrate deer movements in areas that bring them closer to the arch.
Many critical points of deer are closer than you think. Deer are greatly adaptable creatures and can live in densely populated areas in scattered natural habitats. If the deer are attacking you or the flowers, bushes, and gardens of a friend, you may have significant opportunities to harvest homegrown meat.
In other words, the more you look around, the more great places to hunt with a bow you will find waiting for you. Whether you’re hunting farms, suburbs, or public lands, the key is to explore the animals you track and find places where you can be within reach of the bow.