During the Summer months there is so much to do, that we often ignore that hanging stands in the heat with sweat dripping from our chins, may just be the #1 time for perfecting our treestand setups. In fact, During the Summer months our "deer work" is often neglected in favor of the more traditional periods of time, such as right after the season ends or right before it begins. The Summer offers the perfect balance between too late and too early, but regardless of whether you reading this in January or July, there is something that you can be doing right now to enhance your treestand setups: Creating travel corridors for deer.
*Even the light cuttings completed in this locations, created a “cattle path” of deer traffic opportunity! However it is important to have enough side cover to hide the deer movements within. If you are considering any tunneled deer travel corridors they may not be a very good option, so before you create any make sure to read, “Hoop Dream Corridors”.
Obviously when you are hanging your next setup, you are expecting deer to travel by your treestand on the way from Point A to Point B. However, have you ever enhanced your stand locations to make sure that deer are even more likely to travel where you want them too? From subtle to significant, there are several ways to make sure that your next monster buck is within your wheelhouse of bowhunting opportunity.
Can't Miss Treestand Setups
The most important aspect of creating a corridor to enhance a stand location, is the stand location itself. I suggest you find a tree that gives you great access through non-deer habitat, with a definitive wind advantage. After the stand location is found, it is time to enhance the movement within your preferred shooting range for a shot with a bow. From rope to handsaws to chainsaws, here are several ways to perfect your ambush:
I love the thick, dense, tangled mess of early successional growth, grasses and shrubs. Often, the diversity of low brush or grasses offers both food or cover which is ideal for whitetails. At the same time, these areas can be extremely easy to mow a trail through to connect bedding areas to major food sources. At times a rotary brush cutter and tractor combo can do the trick, but even a hand held trimmer with a circular blade attachment and chainsaw, can be all that you need.
With a handsaw, outstanding trails can be created for deer through young saplings and conifer growth. Even trails created that only extend 40-50 yards from either side of the stand, can be very useful.
*Advanced treestand setups and other hunting strategies are covered in my “Whitetail Success By Design” book series, which details how to scout, plant, cut, prepare, forecast for and consistently kill mature bucks.
3) Hinge Cutting:
Often when hinge cutting trees to fall away and perpendicular to your corridor, subtle is best. Cuts can be made between 5 and 50' away from the trail, while creating the only path a deer can choose for travel right by your treestand setup. By limiting your cutting, you can expect the location to regenerate and fill in, creating an organized and hidden mess to facilitate a high quality corridor surrounded by browse.
4) Heavy Timber Cuts:
With low quality stands of mature timber, sometimes the best way is to drop the timber as safely as possible, and then to chainsaw a 4-6' wide trail through the middle of it all. I personally like to make any deer trail through a corridor so that it is clean enough to ride a mountain bike through, and that includes clearing a path through logs and large tree-top debris.
*Sometimes the best combinations of travel corridor treestand setup enhancements, is to use a combination of tools and cuttings to get the job done. This particular deer trail was created with a DR style brushcutter and a chainsaw, using hand trimming, hinge cutting and heavy timber cutting techniques. You can see a lot of this particular project completed in 2013, by reading “Whitetail Travel Corridor Creations”.
Are you in a pinch?
Enhancing your treestand setups can take place subtly, quickly and effectively. Even just bending over a few saplings and tying them down with a short piece of rope can be all that you need to pinch deer into the perfect position for a shot. When corridors and massive cuttings are not an option and your desire is to create narrow constrictions that are barely noticeable, then bending and tying can be completed just before and after your sweetspot of archery capabilities to heavily tilt the odds in your favor. Effectiveness doesn't need to be measured purely in how many trees you cut down.
*Even using a couple of well placed brush piles along with a hinge cut or two, can help to pinch deer into your sweetspot of archery comfort. This is particularily helpful when trying to funnel deer into a waterhole location without the fear of them getting too close or too far. For an easy whitetail waterhole recipe to enhance your favorite treestand setup, check out “Easy Waterhole Setups”.
It Is Time
Whether you are dripping sweat or growing icicles, now is the time to create some travel corridors or pinch points for your treestand setups. By the beginning of the season your efforts will long be forgotten by even the wariest of big bucks. Just about any stand location can be improved; are you ready?