I just finished another hunt, and the variety of hunting methods I used couldn’t have been wider. Because the location of our hunt held both whitetails and mule deer—plus my hunting partners love trying different tactics—variety was a constant factor during the course of the hunt. And because I had less than 3 days to get this hunt in the can, I decided variety was a good thing.
First we decided to do a combination of watching funnels and then incorporating light pressure to bump deer into the funnels if they held up. That worked great the first morning. I had several young whitetail bucks work into our trap without any pressure, and by midmorning a friend walked the fringe areas, letting his scent drift ahead and push any remaining deer our way. Unfortunately, none were shooters so we moved to an evening setup.
Another friend watched a buck travel into a thick refuge of property on neighboring land we couldn’t hunt, but the whitetails were feeding on corn on our side of the fence. It would’ve worked, but love stepped in the way and a hot doe led the best buck further from our location, not closer.
The next morning our hunting camp wanted to try some deer drives, and with winds pushing close to 40 mph, I couldn’t argue. As we set up for the action, some other hunters with permission to hunt the same area moved in, so the odds of getting a shot were limited by the extra guns covering escape points. It almost worked, but the bigger bucks slipped past me and into the gun sights of the other group.
When the end of the day drew near, a plan was hatched for one more drive. It was executed perfectly, but no mature bucks were with the escaping group. As I worked back to the vehicle to make one last plan before sunset, I jumped a pair of muley bucks in a deep, off-the-beaten path draw. I almost got a shot, but the hunt was back on for sure! I followed the duo as they left the cover near croplands and headed into the nastiest terrain around. Every time I thought I had caught up to the deer, I saw them a half-mile or more ahead still leaving a dust trail.
Luckily, just at the end of shooting light, I stumbled into the pair that had stumbled into a group of does. They were still on high alert, but with a bit of the “Kayser Krawl” in play and a coyote howl to pause the buck before it drifted into another deep draw, I put my tag into play. The 180-grain Hornady SST and Nikon Spot-On Ballistics computations ended a hunt with more variety than an Easter buffet.