Bill Winke says it can take up to three years to figure out the exact tree to hang a stand in when bowhunting a specific location. Most bowhunters know that placing a treestand fifty-yards in one direction or another can make all the difference between having a close encounter and putting meat in the freezer.
But what if the prevailing wind direction, terrain, lack of trees or some other situation, prohibit you from having an ideal stand location—then what? In that case you can build a man made funnel or pinch point, which will result in the deer being forced to relocate, rather than you having to.
Last year we gained permission to hunt a particular piece of property that holds an abundance of whitetail. Since permission was granted after bow season had started, we restricted our scouting in order to limit the overall pressure on the herd. This also meant stand placement was based solely upon our knowledge of whitetail behavior, visible sign around field edges and terrain features.
As expected, the strategy worked fairly well but was not ideal. After spending a considerable amount of time scouting the property this spring, we are making the necessary adjustments. One of those is to funnel the deer within bow range by creating funnels and pinch points out of deadfall and natural vegetation.
Too Far. Too Close.
While attempting to find the perfect tree in which to hang a treestand, there have been numerous times when I’ve thought, “If only there were a tree, with plenty of cover, right here.” Unfortunately, Mother Nature isn’t interested in where I place my treestand when it plants its seedlings.
Ideally I prefer to hang my stand 20-25 yards from a travel corridor. While some might prefer closer distances than 20-25 yards, I’ve found a 20-25 yard shot provides an ethical yardage along with a security cushion that blankets movement on the part of the hunter and aids in masking any noise he or she might make.
There have also been times when my setup left me wishing I were closer to the majority of deer movement. I may have had a perfect tree, which provided plenty of cover, but I was not in the best possible location for killing a deer with a bow.
These ideal stand sites aren’t always available, but you can make a location work for you by changing ‘where’ the deer travel. In the photo above you can see how deer travel past one of our stands and into a small crop field. Originally, because of the natural deadfall and having multiple entry points into the food source, deer would travel outside our shooting lanes in an attempt to avoid logs and other debris.
By removing fallen logs and other deadfall to open up a clear path of travel and by using that same debris and other natural vegetation we have created barriers to block off other entry points into the field. While there is a significant amount of sweat equity in cutting trees and moving brush, the hard work has enabled us to ‘funnel’ and ‘pinch’ deer into our shooting lanes.
Right Location. Wrong Tree.
Another scenario for which you may want to create your own funnel or pinch point is when you have located an ideal travel route but cannot locate an ideal tree.
Because I enjoy hunting during the late season, when natural cover is sparse, I prefer a to hang my late season stands in a tree that offers plenty of cover. This will normally be a tree with large limbs under and/or above my stand to help break up my silhouette. Unfortunately, where deer travel and where the ideal tree decided to grow may not intersect.
By barricading the current travel route and creating a new one that forces deer to travel closer to the ‘ideal’ tree, the hunter can have the best of both worlds, especially if you’re planning on hunting during the late season.
There seems to be no shortage of creative bowhunters who have used old snow fence, logs, brush, or hinge cut trees in order to create funnels or pinch points. These bowhunters repeatedly attribute their hunting success to these man-made blockades. The variety of items used to create obstructions would also suggest there is no right or wrong item to use when creating man made funnels or pinch points.
The caveat when creating your own funnels and pinch points is to make sure your work is done early enough in the season for deer to get accustomed to the new travel route and insure all human scent has dissipated from the area well before season gets here.
While ideally it’d be nice if every stand site made it easy to sneak in and hang a stand with minimal disruption of the natural vegetation and a whitetail’s travel route—unfortunately the word ‘ideal’ isn’t always in Mother Nature’s vocabulary.