This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: I often receive questions from hunters throughout the whitetails’ range asking where they should place stands or blinds. When it comes to picking hunting locations, no matter the habitat types, pinch points are key to getting deer within range.
GRANT: When hunting in large stands of timber, I look for naturally occurring pinch points. This may be a saddle in a ridge, or a creek makes a bow, or an oak flat that’s producing more acorns than other areas.
GRANT: (Whispering) There’s a hill over here and a steep ravine down here. Deer kind of come through this area right here.
GRANT: (Whispering) So we’re in a little patch of woods that’s kind of a travel corridor…
DANIEL: (Whispering) …on this draw acts as a bottleneck or pinch point…
CLAY: (Quietly) You want to be in between bedding areas on pinch points like this where bucks are going to be running.
GRANT: (Whispering) Two food plots right up here so it’s a pinch point or a travel corridor big time.
GRANT: Clay, Daniel and I have been out scouting this morning and we have found a great location for a stand.
GRANT: We found an old scrape over here just a little bit while we were scouting this area and bucks are going to bottleneck right around this really steep ditch. So we’ll actually have a pinch point that forces deer for a 100 or more yards right in an area. And that’s critical when you’re hunting in big timber.
GRANT: Sometimes what makes a pinch point can be a bit unusual. The coolest I’ve ever seen was last year when I was working in New York on Mr. Gross’s property. There were many hand-stacked rock walls throughout a big portion of Mr. Gross’s property. And these walls dated back more than 100 years.
GRANT: We’re still working Matt’s property and he’s got all these beautiful old stone walls on his property. They’re just gorgeous. But what they are, also, is a tremendous hunting opportunity. Because, of course, we all like bottlenecks, right? We’re bow hunters, gun hunters. We want to find a bottleneck.
GRANT: Well, we found a little deer trail in the woods. It’s tough to see through the leaves and the green this time of year. And this trail leads right to a little spot where the wall has fallen down.
GRANT: Look at this, folks. We’ve got a pretty intimidating wall. We’ve got a break and obvious trail right beside the tree. And another wall that crosses into another wall. I mean, this is like the ultimate pinch point right here.
GRANT: Settlers had built these walls to contain livestock or to keep livestock out of their crops. Through time, those fields have been abandoned and grown up with trees.
GRANT: However, the walls were still intact and so were the openings that settlers made to get into their pastures and fields. And deer were using those openings to move through that section of property.
GRANT: The walls had been there so long, deer were conditioned to moving through the gaps without fear. And we’re in the process of reclaiming some of those fields, converting them to food plots and this will be an outstanding hunting location.
GRANT: Pinch points can be created on any property to increase the odds of getting a buck within bow range and you don’t have to stack up large rock walls.
ANNOUNCER: GrowingDeer is brought to you by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s. Also by Reconyx, Eagle Seed, Winchester, LaCrosse Footwear, Morrell Targets, Hooyman, Hook’s Custom Calls, Summit Treestands, RTP Outdoors, Yamaha, Fourth Arrow, onX Hunt, Scorpion Venom Archery, Bloodsport Arrows, Code Blue, D/Code, G5 Broadheads, Prime Bows, and Redneck Hunting Blinds.
GRANT: Our friend, John Escobar, recently purchased 165 acres in southeastern Kansas. Looking at a map of John’s property using onX, it was obvious there were already some good pinch points. And those points were made by the way the creek laid, the ag fields and one ag field in relation to the other. There were some skinny wood lots in between those structures that were obvious deer travel corridors.
GRANT: The western half of John’s property was a different story. It was almost contiguous cover.
GRANT: Looking at the properties to the east and west of John’s farm, it was either a large ag field or cattle pasture. And it was clear John’s farm was the largest block of cover in the area.
GRANT: Clay and I recently traveled to John’s farm and spent the day touring the property. Our objective was to make it better hunting for John and his son by creating some pinch points in the western half of the property.
GRANT: I really enjoyed touring the eastern half of John’s property. The obvious bottlenecks were just as true in person as they had been on a map and John had his stands in good locations. But to utilize the whole property, we wanted to cross the creek and see the western half. And once we got there, it was a solid block of cover with lots of trails everywhere, but it was very difficult to predict which trail deer would be using.
GRANT: Working in eastern Kansas today with John, and John actually lives about 30 minutes from me, but we met over here in Kansas and he’s got a great property. It’s not a large property as far as acres go, but it’s loaded with deer.
GRANT: There are trails, tracks, rubs, everywhere. So we’re early in the tour, but I already know I’m going to be working on making bottlenecks or pinch points so John and his son can pattern deer better, get ‘em within bow range. And we’re definitely going to change the ag program. There’s a couple fields here that have been leased out to a farmer and I want to change that to provide food year-round.
GRANT: We saw some deer while walking through the western half and I think, “Oh, they’re on a primary trail.” And I’d get up there and there would be sign. Walk another 10 or 20 or 30 yards, there’d be another trail. It was a maze of deer sign. And you’re thinking, “Well, that’s great. Just hang a stand anywhere.” But if you do that, hunters often get winded or alert deer before they see the deer.
GRANT: I mean, it seems like every 10 to 20 yards, there’s a trail in here, literally.
GRANT: So we’ve got to bottleneck ‘em because it would be really hard to pick which trail right now. So I’m still thinking about ways to create some pinch points or bottlenecks in here.
JOHN: There’s the onX right there.
GRANT: Yep. Yep. Several, several options in here. One would be to create a longer, skinnier food plot through here to bottleneck deer around either side…
GRANT: …you know. But I, again, I want to look at the map before I, you know, so I reserve the right to change my mind once I get it all taken in.
GRANT: Yeah. Let’s keep exploring. I’m learning.
JOHN: All right. Take it all in.
GRANT: After walking the western half of John’s property, not only looking at the topography but several of the features, I decided a series of food plots specifically designed would increase the huntability of that side of the property in several ways.
GRANT: I’m, I’m thinking some, long, like right here, long, linear food plots that are fairly hefty and then leave a little bottleneck in here and then another food plot here.
CLAY: Hmm, hmm.
GRANT: Okay? And probably one in here, so now I got a bottleneck here, a bottleneck here and a bottleneck here.
GRANT: First, it would add more food to their property which would be a great attractant once the crop field to the west had been harvested.
GRANT: Rather than simply layout a large food plot, I worked with the lay of the land and came up with a series of food plots that would use the features of the land to encourage deer to travel between the food plots.
GRANT: A huge bottleneck here and a little drain coming up. It’s not a steep drain, but deer wouldn’t want to travel that anyway, and that ties right into this.
JOHN: Hmm, hmm.
GRANT: And that’s not that many yards across there.
GRANT: And then we’ve got the river and the edge of this plot here making another bottleneck and we walked along part of that. And I’ve got this pinched down smaller here and widening out for a reason because that ties into this up here.
JOHN: Hmm, hmm.
GRANT: This ties into the bottleneck going this way. So when you really start thinking about it, there’s a lot of magic happening here.
GRANT: This is the largest block of cover in the area and I did not want to disturb the entire block, so I left a buffer of cover between the ag field and where I would start laying out food plots. So there will be a large block of undisturbed cover so deer would be very comfortable residing on the property.
GRANT: John is primarily a bow hunter so the gaps between the plots were designed that deer passing through there would likely be within range.
GRANT: We talked frequently when we were walking around, man, there’s a trail every 10, 20, 30 yards, whatever.
JOHN: Hmm, hmm.
GRANT: You condense that down to going through there. You know how many deer are going to be? So if you blow this up, you can see I actually left a little opening there because I wanted it wide enough that the bucks were comfortable going through there.
GRANT: And we’ll just let that grow up in a little brush and stuff.
GRANT: Of course, John and his son can also hunt the food plots when mature bucks are targeting those sources of quality forage.
GRANT: The plots were also designed based around John’s current access points. So we could approach, hunt and exit without alerting deer.
GRANT: And you’re just staying out of here, except you’re going to mulch a trail all the way around, so you, and just, whatever the wind direction is, you can get there really quietly.
GRANT: And what I would strongly suggest you do is, you know, if it’s a west wind, you’re coming in this way.
JOHN: Oh yeah. That’s what I usually do.
GRANT: A key to any hunting improvement plan needs to be the consideration of how hunters are going to approach, hunt and exit without alerting deer. It does no good to create this big attraction but every time a hunter is going there, he blows deer out of the area.
GRANT: So yeah. I mean, this just makes your property super huntable and even more so once the surrounding fields are harvested.
GRANT: Having the best cover in the neighborhood and having the only food once the local crops have been harvested, means John’s going to be set for some tremendous hunting opportunities.
GRANT: I’m eager to hear of John’s progress implementing this plan and I’m confident I’m going to be receiving several grip and grin photos from John and his son once the plan is put in place.
GRANT: We share these details so you can apply these techniques to where you hunt, even if you don’t have permission to alter the habitat where you hunt. Maybe you’re hunting public land or a buddy’s property, you can still scout for these same situations – bottlenecks that you can approach, hunt and exit without alerting deer.
GRANT: If you are allowed to alter the habitat, creating food plots of any size is an excellent way to create pinch points. Either deer are attracted to the forage in the plot or they’re going to skirt the edge on the way to their destination.
GRANT: If you enjoy the tips and techniques we share at GrowingDeer, be sure to subscribe to our free newsletter and share a link with your friends.
GRANT: The GrowingDeer Team is busy assisting landowners almost daily, but if your job keeps you in a different environment, take time to get outside and enjoy Creation. But most importantly, take time every day to slow down, be quiet and listen to what the Creator is saying to you.
GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.