Brantley: Find Funnels, Find Deer

Rut Reporter Will Brantley of Murray, Kentucky, knows the region well. He spends 40 to 50 days each season in the Mid-South whitetail woods. Brantley shot his first deer at age 10 with a sidelock muzzleloader. States covered: KY, TN, WV, VA, NC.

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I love hunting field edges any time I can get away with it, but especially during the early season. Bean field, cut corn, food plot-- doesn't matter. If the deer are using it, I like being on the edge where I can watch the action. Before hunting pressure takes its' toll, it's a great way to get shots at bucks and does alike.

But change has been an ongoing theme for all the Rut Reporters recently, and the Mid-South has certainly been no exception. The bean fields I've been hunting are devoid of leaves now, corn is being combined on neighboring farms, and the few oaks that have acorns this year are dropping them. The deer are still in the area-- but they've definitely scattered. So in the past week, the more productive hunting strategy for me has involved backing off the edges and sitting over funnels within the hardwoods.

The best funnel I've found this season has been in a creek drainage that's a little over 100 yards wide, situated between two bean fields. This area was timbered a decade or so ago, and so the understory is thick. But the terrain is rolling hills, and when combined with the thick stuff and the meandering creek beds, there are bound to be a few funnels. The one I've found is a saddle between two ridges, bisected by a creek arm. One side of the creek is a high bank with little understory; the other side is low and thick. While scouting, I naturally followed the high bank myself because that's where the walking was easiest. It was apparent from all the tracks and rubs that deer passing from one bean field to the other had been doing the same.

I'm not seeing the numbers of deer in there, of course, that I was on the edges of the field, but when a deer does show up, it's virtually guaranteed to give me an easy shot. The fat young doe in the video is a perfect example.