10 Tips For Late-Season Deer Drives
by Gerald Almy
#1 – Don’t Add Noise
Banging pots or barking like a dog usually hurts your chances because it gives away your position. It’s better to have a big buck guessing where you are. And when he does move, you want him walking past the posters–not hightailing it because he’s scared out of his wits.
#2 – Pause Occasionally
Halt your progress when you come to a promising thicket. A skulking buck will think you’ve seen him, get nervous, and start moving.
#3 – Use the Wind
Everyone knows to post blockers downwind and drivers upwind. But you can use a breeze to your advantage before you even start the push. Have drivers get in position and hang out upwind for a while. Their scent may be all it takes to nudge deer past the posters.
4 – Find Funnels**
Funnels are fundamental to stand hunting, but deer also follow them when fleeing drivers. Strips of timber, gullies, saddles, drainage ditches, and brushy fencerows are great spots to post.
#5 – Make Sanctuaries
Put a few choice areas of security cover off-limits from day one. Bucks pressured elsewhere will move into them–and be there when you’re finally ready to push.
#6 – Drive in Reverse
When you’re hunting a draw or a finger of woods that juts out from the main cover, try driving into the wind. That is, slowly still-hunt toward the narrow end of the draw or finger as another hunter or two post downwind, just inside the main cover, to catch bucks slipping out the back door.
#7 – Find Natural Blockers
Take advantage of any natural features that block bucks from fleeing in a given direction, thus helping steer them toward your posters. A deep river, rock face, or ravine are good examples.
#8 – Post Blockers Early
Sensing distant noise or movement, heavily hunted deer sometimes realize something is up and sneak out before the drive even begins. Avoid this by positioning posters extra early–before drivers even start to line up for the push.
#9 – Watch the Weather
When it’s snowing sideways, raining buckets, brutally cold, or unusually hot, bucks tend to hole up in thickets, making drives especially productive.
#10 – Yell
Finally, if a driven buck comes tearing past you too fast for a good shot, try yelling, “Hey buck!” You’ve got nothing to lose. He’s either going to run out of your life forever, or, if you’re lucky, he may pause to look or at least slow down, offering a better shot.