As the rut kicks in, it's time to focus on funnels, particularly for bowhunters because of their limited range, which might be 40, 30, or even 20 yards. Look for points of timber that jut into a field or bottleneck between two open areas, as well as slivers of woods that butt up against a steep incline or that pinch between a wide river and a field. In suburban locations, identify fingers of trees and green space that run between homes that bucks use as prime travel corridors as they take to the hoof in search of does. Fence corners or holes in fences also provide features that funnel deer movement to a predictable spot. These narrow strips of cover promise repeat visits from big bucks at close range as they make their daily rounds. You need to be sitting in one riddled with sloppy, well-worn deer trails, keeping your stand on the prevailing downwind side of the biggest, most well-used trail through whatever thick cover there is.
Seek Out Islands**
▶ It can be tricky figuring out the precise spot where a buck will consistently enter a field or clear-cut, but you can bet if there is a brushy ditch, uncut patch of cover, single tall tree, or cattail slough jutting into--or standing in the center of--the open terrain, an exposed buck will angle in that direction. I witnessed numerous bucks in a young clear-cut on my property over the past two years that, no matter where they entered the open area, virtually always walked within bow distance of one or two downed trees with brush around them or along a slough littered with stalks of reeds and cattails. They'll cut through these open areas much more frequently than they'll walk the edges, making a ground blind near one of these spots or even a chair simply tucked into the cover a high-percentage sit.