A Maryland whitetail hunter drops four deer in 9 seconds on a one-man deer drive through shotgun country. Great footage shared on YouTube by www.marylanddeerhunting.com
Silence can be deadly when driving deer from their deepest hiding spots.
DEER & DEER HUNTING CONTRIBUTOR
It was the last day of my Kansas deer hunt. I had experienced rain, snow, wind, (lots of wind) drastic temperature changes that caused our camera gear to lock up and did I mention it was windy. In fact, one morning it was so windy I crawled out of my tower blind because I was worried it was going to blow over. Because of this unsettled weather the deer had diverted from any pattern that they may have had during the last month. There was sign everywhere but we were not seeing the bucks I had anticipated seeing in Kansas. However, we knew the deer were there because the outfitter had been scouting with Bushnell trailcams prior to the season and had several pictures of bucks that would make any hunter happy.
So where were all the big bucks at? We had employed several techniques that all could have rendered a big Kansas bruiser. We started by hunting transition areas where the bucks were moving from their feeding areas to their bedding areas. Then we hunted the edges of food plots in the evenings where the deer were coming to right before dark. We saw some deer and a few small bucks but nothing quite big enough. When this wasn’t working we tried glassing the CRP (Conservation Resource Program) fields at first light for deer. When that didn’t work it was back to sitting in blinds on the edge of freshly planted winter wheat. A few deer would cautiously enter the edge of the field then dart back into the cover.
After four straight days of not seeing a decent buck we knew we had to completely change our strategy for the last day of the hunt and the final day of the Kansas season. The area we were hunting in consisted of small patches of cover surrounded by wheat fields or CRP. With the high amounts of wind we had experienced we devised that the deer had to be congregated in the densest cover. We knew this because we had hunted every other possible area without any success. (Brilliant aren’t we.) With the clock ticking our outfitter James Burnett of Cimarron Valley Outfitters www.cvohunts.com devised a plan to do a drive. At first I admit I was very skeptical.
I have always been a whitetail hunter that likes to not pressure the animals. I like to enter and exit an area undetected; even if it means sitting in the dark for a few hours. Many times I have hung stands late in the evening in transition areas while the deer were at a major food source just so I would not disturb an area. The idea of driving deer has never really appealed to me. Not that I have anything against it, it just isn’t my style of hunting. I had visions of deer flying by me at full speed and just getting a glimpse of antlers as a big buck passed by. The more James and I talked we realized that a silent one man deer drive would be the only way to go. I positioned myself on the side of a dried out creek bottom that had intermediate cover filling it. After I was set up James circled around to start his drive. Within minutes I watched two does and a small buck move out of the bottom then pop back in 100 yards from where they had exited. Another doe did the same thing. I was starting to see a pattern.
The next buck and doe that appeared made my jaw drop. This is what I came to Kansas for. A large high tined, long beamed buck ran 300 yards above me and dove right back into the cover. There was no doubt he was a shooter. I knew I needed to get mobile. I moved quickly to the bottom of the drainage and put my gun on shooting sticks. There was a small clearing 100 yards in front of me. “Doe, doe, doe”, I said to myself as they individually came through the clearing. The last doe stopped and looked back. I cocked the hammer on my CVA Optima Elite in .270 Win. as the buck walked behind the doe. The doe moved and gave me the shot I needed. He dropped and I was elated. As I walked up on the deer I realized I had just taken my best whitetail ever. He ended up having 6 points on one side and four on the other grossing 173 B&C. The silent one person drive was the key to taking this buck.
One person silent deer drives
What exactly is a one person silent deer drive? A one person silent deer drive is where one person is the driver and one person is the shooter. The object of a one person deer drive is to have the deer move within range of the shooter at a reasonable speed allowing the shooter to successfully get a shot.
This is a silent drive. The scent of the driver is what moves the deer not people hooting and hollering with coffee cans filled with rocks clanging and pushing deer at mach 10.
Start with the wind
As hunters know, a whitetail deer’s nose is one of its greatest senses guarding against hunters in the field. Their great sense of smell can also be used to your advantage when doing a one person drive.
The shooter must enter the area first and get set up downwind of the area that will be driven. It is always a good idea to be situated in a place that has some elevation so that you can watch a larger area.
I discourage using a treestand or blind as it does not allow you to be mobile and move quickly if you need to. A good rest, like Stoney Point shooting sticks or Quake Claw SlingStix is a must in the event you need to move. After the hunter is situated the driver starts his drive upwind of the shooter.
Play it safe
It is imperative to keep safety first when doing a silent drive. The driver should always where blaze orange whether the law requires it or not. The shooter should also be observant of all hunter safety rules specifically being sure of their target and beyond.
As the driver enters the starting point of the cover that he or she is driving they should move slowly back and forth in a zig zag motion letting their scent drift downwind.
Do not get in a hurry as you move quietly though the area. You want the deer to get up and move but not blow out of there like their tails are on fire.
Stop and go
Years ago while hunting late season pheasants without a dog I learned this technique from a veteran bird hunter and I have found it to work equally well with whitetails. When hunting thick cover walk 10 yards, stop, wait for a while, and then move again.
What it does is allows those wise old bucks a chance to sneak out in front of you. I have personally had deer let me walk by them then slip out the back door behind me. By using the stop and go method bucks that may have let you walk by them will get nervous and move out in front of you. If they get up behind you the shooter never has a chance at them. If you let crafty bucks be sneaky the shooter on the other end will benefit from this.
Thinks small for big results
Isolated creek bottoms or small wood lots are my favorite place to conduct silent one person deer drives. The reason for this is that I can be unobtrusive yet have the deer move in the direction of the shooter.
A five to eight hundred yard stretch of creek bottom is the perfect set up. If you have a creek bottom that is larger then divide it into sections and do two or three drives. If you do this, always start with the shooter on the far end with the wind blowing towards him then after that portion is driven both of you walk back to where the driver started and leave the shooter there. Then the driver needs to take a wide walk around the area that is going to be driven so that their scent will not drift into the area prematurely. If both hunters have deer licenses you can switch back and forth with each taking a turn being the driver and being the shooter.
If you are hunting more of a wooded area, find the funnels that deer like to use like ridgelines or draws and position the shooter at the ends of each with the wind in the shooters favor.
Cover the escape routes
Knowing when, where and if a deer will leave cover is always a guessing game. The key is to cover the escape routes. I like to position the shooter slightly higher in elevation if at all possible so that they can see several escape routes or when a good buck is moving so they can re-position if need be.
Well used trails are always a good place to start when looking for the route the deer will take when exiting the cover.
Time of day
To do this style of deer drive you need to make sure the deer are settled into the cover. I like to wait until late morning or mid-day depending on the weather.
That way you are assured that the bucks are in a place that they will move out in front of the driver to the shooter. Do not try this technique during transition times like when bucks are moving to or from feeding areas. Wait until they are settled in for the day.
In order for this type of drive to be successful the shooter must remain motionless and undetected. However, the shooter must be able to move and reposition if a buck is moving to an area that will not give you a shot from where you are at.
Many times deer will pop out on the edge of cover and you will see what they are then move right back into that same cover. You may need to move to get a better shot once you know that it is a buck you want.
One man deer drives are not the answer to every hunt but keep it in mind later in the season when you are struggling to put venison on your table you may end up taking your biggest buck yet.
Want to learn more cutting-edge deer hunting tactics? Subscribe to Deer & Deer Hunting today and receive 10 big issues delivered to your door each year for less than $20!