Hidden Funnels?

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Hidden Funnels?

Postby Woodswise » Wed Dec 03, 2008 1:29 pm

I'm new to this board. I have been hunting for many years, but until recently I didn't put a lot of heart into it. I've had some success, but not great. Mostly I was there to enjoy nature and spend time in the woods. Seeing deer was a bonus. But that has changed. I want to be a better hunter, I have stated reading D&DH more, reading boards and thinking seriously about woodland management and game plots. My question today is how do you find hidden funnels? I understand how traditional funnels work and how to locate them, but hidden funnels are a mystery to me. Any help would be appreciated.

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Woods Walker
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RE: Hidden Funnels?

Postby Woods Walker » Wed Dec 03, 2008 3:58 pm

You've got to burn up some shoe leather and scout for them. I like to do this in March, because the foilage hasn't started getting thick yet, the sign from the past season is still somewhat fresh, and if you spook any deer they have a whole 7 months to forget about it.
Hidden funnels are just that...hidden, or at least hidden from where deer feel they can be observed easily. Look for slight terrain depressions in a field that can't be seen from a road or a farm building. Also where a gully or finger of woods or brushy draw extends out into a field, thus making the  distance from it's tip to the woods on the other side the shortest distance across that field.
Did you ever look out across an area that looked to be pretty well flat, only to discover when you walked it that it was anything but? The depressions that you encounter here are likely "hidden" funnels.
I have found many funnels when I was blood tracking deer for myself, or others. You can learn a LOT about where and how deer move in your area by doing this. It also helps me to "think like a deer" when I look at an area, and I say to myself:
"Now where would I go to cross this field/woods/prairie if I wanted to hide from a pursuer?" The majority of the time when I do this, I find that the way I choose has deer sign in it, and for the same reasons.
Also consider the prevailing winds when you are doing this, as the deer certainly will when they use it. I use colored smoke bombs in my off-season scouting to educate myself as to what the wind currents to in specific places. It can be VERY surprising!
Like I said, you need to do some walking to find these, and preferably NOT during deer season. Aerial photos or topo maps of your area can also be a very helpful tool when you do this. It's work, but work that I don't mind doing in the least!
Or you can be like Jackie Bushman, and have someone else do all the work for you, so that you can just show up, wait a bit, and then pull the trigger! [:D]
Hunt Hard,

Kill Swiftly,

Waste Nothing,

Offer No Apologies.....

NRA Endowment Life Member

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RE: Hidden Funnels?

Postby Woodswise » Wed Dec 03, 2008 5:38 pm

Unlike Jackie Bushman I couldn't afford that and I don't think I would want to.  I do want to thank you, you were very helpful. I can think of a few places now that would fit the definition of a "hidden funnel" Would a terrain feature such as a bench or perhaps a weedy terrace row also be a hidden funnel? I'm sorry if these questions seem stupid, but it's best to ask when in doubt.

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RE: Hidden Funnels?

Postby JPH » Thu Dec 04, 2008 2:23 am

Welcome Woodswise! You ask an excellent question and as you can see from Woods Walker's answer, you've come to the right place.

Here are two terrain features that I always look for. The first may not be a hidden funnel, but it takes a trained eye to locate. The second is a hidden funnel in every sense.

1) Inside corners. The best way I can describe this feature is to have you hold up your hand like you are wearing a mitten. Imagine that your hand represents cover (timber, brush, etc.) and the open space between your thumb and fingers represents open ground (crops, meadow, etc.). The little web of skin between the base of your thumb and the meat of your hand is the inside corner. Hang stands there, wait for the rut to kick in, and hang on!

2) Pinch points (at least that's what I call them). When you come to a ditch, gully or drainage in the woods you will find it steep at one end and shallow at the other. No? While deer may be able to jump over the ditch, they will not unless pressured. Rather they will look for the first spot where they can easily cross without exerting much effort. Trails often develop around these spots and while they are subtle, they can be an excellent place to hunt.

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RE: Hidden Funnels?

Postby JOEL » Thu Dec 04, 2008 2:42 am

i often find hidden funnels while hunting river flood plain areas.Woodswalker i love that colored smoke bomb idea
"Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the wildlife you hunt and for the forest and fields in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoor experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person." - Fred Bear

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RE: Hidden Funnels?

Postby DeanoZ » Thu Dec 04, 2008 5:48 am

Welcome Woodswise,
while I'm still learning, I've managed to be able to locate classic funnels and a few hidden ones so I'll offer my two cents FWIW.  Woodswalker had a great suggestion in that finding hidden funnels is usually as a result of doing a lot of ground walking and stumbling across them.  I have come across a few this way.  Interestingly enough i came across a great hidden draw with a small watering hole after i shot a Doe and she headed straight for the cover of that area...lots of sign and well worn trails, but the winds have never been right for me to hunt it..perhaps thats why its such a good area for the deer to converge in.  Benches are funnels, although I would not call them hidden because you can usually pick them off a topo map...but benches are great so long as the winds aren't swirling.  Hope this helps!

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RE: Hidden Funnels?

Postby hunter480 » Thu Dec 04, 2008 5:54 am

Welcome Woodswise,
Best advise I can give is, buy and read, Mapping Trophy Bucks, by Brad Herndon. Outstanding book, and it will not only help you identify all types of funnels, but it will teach you to scout from your kitchen table, using ariel photos as well as Topo maps.
The book additionally has bonus deer hunting tips that will help you further enjoy your time afield.
I think you`ll really find the book to be useful, and would love to hear what you think of it after you get thru it the first time.

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RE: Hidden Funnels?

Postby dxthunter57 » Thu Dec 04, 2008 8:01 am

alot of mature deer go to areas were no one goes or that they cant be seen
i think anything weather tall grass
a dip
anything as long as it gets a deer from point A to point B without getting seen is a good idea and should be checked out
the best way to figure this out is to tie on the old boots and go for a walk

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RE: Hidden Funnels?

Postby Woodswise » Thu Dec 04, 2008 4:26 pm

Thanks to everyone for their replies and I can honestly say I have come away with a better idea what to look for.  I've had some luck with classic funnels. My favorite place to hunt is a small draw that fingers out between two fields. It's always been a good spot and has produced some nice bucks. 

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RE: Hidden Funnels?

Postby djohns13 » Fri Dec 05, 2008 6:37 am

Great tips from everyone.  The only other item I would offer is to look at fencerows to find the section of fence that is knocked down or easiest to cross from one side to the other.  These areas will become a deer funnel as well.  Also, you can create your own funnel by opening a section of fence or other terrain.
Good shooting.
Darren Johnson
Internet Pro Staff Member - Indiana

Glad to talk to all of you, but I'd rather be sitting in a tree stand on a cool morning trying not to move so that the bruiser buck directly below me doesn't figure out that I am watching him!


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