The Post-Rut Rush

When wary bucks sit tight, here's how to move them.

Field & Stream Online Editors

Pressured post-rut bucks often hunker down and move little during the day. So you've got little to lose by staging a drive. In fact, considering that Milo Hanson shot his world-record 2135/8 typical whitetail on a drive, you may have a great deal to gain.

These deer tend to seek refuge in one of two areas: (1) isolated patches of cover that are so small or unlikely looking that most hunters walk right by them; and (2) large tracts of wooded land. Here's how to push both:

**Small Sections **
Brushy ditches, abandoned home sites, and overgrown thickets between fields are often ignored by hunters-but not by bucks seeking refuge. These are prime places to stage a quiet two- to four-person drive.

Driving crosswind is best. In these small pockets, you don't want the drivers' scent moving toward a buck or he might slip out before the push even gets going. Drivers shouldn't talk, either. Simply walking through the cover is all that's needed.

When positioning posters, keep in mind that a pushed buck will likely head for the nearest, densest cover and will almost always try to get there by following the best concealed route, whether it's a fenceline, a swale, or even a narrow row of uncut crops. Finally, make these drives quick and efficient so that you can push several small spots in a day.

Big Tracts
Bruiser bucks will also hunker down in larger areas such as thick regenerating clear-cuts and conifer swamps. Here, a noisy drive involving six to 10 hunters is best.

In this case, put the wind at the drivers' backs and have them move through the cover in an open U-shape (see illustration), which will help prevent deer from escaping out the sides. It's also useful to have a barrier-a lake, a river, a field, or a steep bluff-on one side to further channel buck movement.

Drivers should call out occasionally. This keeps everyone moving in the right formation, lets standers know when drivers are getting close, and helps push out reluctant bucks.

Standers should cover the straightaway exit points as well as side seams where a gully or a hedgerow could offer a possible escape route. Also post two hunters behind the drivers because the oldest bucks will often try to sneak out the back door.

As with all deer drives, safety should come first. Drivers should never shoot in the direction of the standers (and not at all in tight areas), and posters should only take shots in directions away from drivers. Done right, either of the above approaches can put a late-season trophy on the ground-with plenty of people to help drag it out.


**Mini-Drive: ** Drive crosswind toward the dense woods, with a stander watching the fenceline.


Mega-Move:Drive downwind in an open U pattern, with standers placed in front, to the side, and behind.