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ICALL2MUCH
06-28-2011, 03:01 PM
I'm getting ready to do a little write up on my blog about hunting fencerows, and I thought I'd get some of your feedback from you guys.

Do you hunt fencerows?

I personally like them because:

1) Over looked by other hunters
2) Predictable travel patterns
3) Normally predictable wind direction
4) See a long distance
5) Often food source nearby

One big disadvantage, is IMO, getting in and out clean. A lot of times you're really exposed when traveling to and from the fencerow setups.

While we all would love to hunt next to big bedding areas - that isn't always achievable!


Thoughts?

cckw
06-28-2011, 04:17 PM
I don't have any particular insights to add. but my first year that was my only option. My blind consisted of a couple burlap bags woven into a bush. I got the deer as the traveled between food and bedding first and last light.

ICALL2MUCH
06-28-2011, 04:34 PM
Very cool, yeah I've had a couple of successful hunts doing it too.

Thanks for the reply.

Dogwood
06-28-2011, 04:42 PM
Areas I hunt are probably very similar to yours. Fence rows are often sparsely covered with early successional growth (mulberry, black cherry, hackberry, honeysuckle, osage orange, and locust), and serve as narrow travel corridors. Timber is fragmented, by large, open ag fields, and these "grown over" fence lines, are heavily-used thoroughfares, that deer use to get from one block of cover, to the next. I don't like being a "fence sitter" (meaning, hunting a property line), but it can be a terrific place to intercept cruising bucks. Many times, these fencelines, serve as rub lines, for the bucks, as well. You will see them working rubs, along these corridors, all throughout the pre-rut, and rut. In counties like mine, where there is far more acreage in production agriculture than there is in wildlife habitat, it can be difficult to gain access to hunt areas where plenty of timber exists.
As you said, for those who don't have access to property with "bedding areas", intercepting deer, as they use a travel corridor, is sometimes the only option.
Here are a couple examples of great fencelines that I have placed very productive stands on, in the past:

Dogwood
06-28-2011, 04:44 PM
Here's another (on the farm I, now, own), that provided a shot opportunity at a fully mature 9 pnt, that would would have scored around 160", last November (stand on the right side of pic).

ICALL2MUCH
06-28-2011, 05:08 PM
Wow, great stuff Dogwood - very nice!

Great point on the "fencesitter" comment. Either do it, and it needs to be said that I don't do it on all fencerows - for that very reason.

The fencerows that I hunt, are often 10-20 yards wide, with very thick cover. Most often, the fence is on one side of the cover. When I have permission to hunt the side with the most cover, I will hunt it. If I don't have permission for that side, I won't. I personally see no harm is hunting where someone else basically can't.

Those stands you posted look killer, and are exactly what I'm talking about. What winds do you hunt them with? Blowing straight into the field, or quartering?

letemgrow
06-28-2011, 05:24 PM
I like em because deer take the path of least resistance and certain fence crossings are dynamite and deer will walk out of their way sometimes for an easier place to cross.

ICALL2MUCH
06-28-2011, 05:27 PM
Here is a picture of a couple of mine. Thanks for the idea Dog! :)

dahusker
06-28-2011, 05:29 PM
Well, I guess to each there own and it could certainly be a great place with great cover. Be wary of that "fence sitter" hunting and the possibilities though please. If I caught someone sitting up right on my fence line I would not be too impressed. Of course not all states have the same regulations but out here you can NOT retrieve big game without permission. Meaning, if someone shoots a deer on the fence line on the other side and it runs onto our property we have no legal requirement to allow them access for retrieval. Example, we have great cover, most neighbors have ZERO cover as it's fence row to fence row crops. They don't have permission so tell me exactly what cover and what feed they are hunting over???

Again, to each his own but I think someone setting up on a fence line that they don't have permission to cross is just asking for trouble and very poor neighborly relations. Got to sit 50-100 yards off a fence line minimum IMO. Of course when you are talking about fence rows owned by the same person or property lines you have permission to cross then you are correct, have at her.

ICALL2MUCH
06-28-2011, 05:33 PM
Well, I guess to each there own and it could certainly be a great place with great cover. Be wary of that "fence sitter" hunting and the possibilities though please. If I caught someone sitting up right on my fence line I would not be too impressed. Of course not all states have the same regulations but out here you can NOT retrieve big game without permission. Meaning, if someone shoots a deer on the fence line on the other side and it runs onto our property we have no legal requirement to allow them access for retrieval. Example, we have great cover, most neighbors have ZERO cover as it's fence row to fence row crops. They don't have permission so tell me exactly what cover and what feed they are hunting over???

Again, to each his own but I think someone setting up on a fence line that they don't have permission to cross is just asking for trouble and very poor neighborly relations. Got to sit 50-100 yards off a fence line minimum IMO. Of course when you are talking about fence rows owned by the same person or property lines you have permission to cross then you are correct, have at her.


Very true, it certainly lends itself to those opportunities. That is why I only do it in certain situations, ALWAYS have permission and am great communication with the folks on the other side of the fence. The guy who owns the property to the W, N, S of where my pictures are - gave me the idea to plant my tomatoes this year, and his brother is my boss. :)

Drop-time
06-28-2011, 09:44 PM
Great spots I work into my stand rotation. Favorite tree on my place is a shingle oak. Lots of good cover underneath and there pretty easy to cut lanes in.
VERY over looked spots by most...but not me :)

Steiny
06-28-2011, 10:00 PM
The habitat around here is 80-90% open production crop land and the balance is small wood lots, swamps, fence rows, etc. During firearms season there is a hunter in every woodlot and the mature bucks know it. Many have developed a survival instinct to head out into open country and lay down in a little patch of weeds or along a fence row that has very little cover. They go where the hunters aren't.

One spot that I've killed several nice bucks is a 1.5 x 1 mile section with one small woodlot and a couple fence rows in it. Nobody hunts the open area because it doesn't have any visible cover.

I hang a stand in a cherry tree on the near bald fence line and have had success numerous times here. The rolling terrain, little patches of swamp or cattails is all they need to get concealed from view. Come dusk they will be on their feet and moving, and during the rut, sometimes mid day.

Found this honey hole, just trying to get away from the other hunters.

Don Higgins
06-28-2011, 11:16 PM
Hunting fencerows can be awesome and I have some very good stand sites on fencerows. I have done it for decades and can give you this bit of advice - hunt them with a cross wind and spend 95% of your time looking on the downwind side of the fencerow. It doesnt matter if you have a plowed bare dirt field on one side and a prime food source on the other, when a MATURE buck comes along he will almost always be on the downwind side even if he is walking in a rough plowed bare dirt field. He wants to smell what is in the cover of the fencerow and the only way to do it is by being on the downwind side. If you get high in a tree your scent will blow right over his back. That fact is as close to an absolute as I have ever seen in hunting big bucks. For those who were at the seminar I gave in Ohio last winter, I showed video footage taken from my stands as big mature bucks walked downwind of me with my scent blowing right over their backs. :)

I just may kill a booner on a fencerow this season ...:rolleyes: :)

hardwood11
06-28-2011, 11:45 PM
Hunting fencerows can be awesome and I have some very good stand sites on fencerows. I have done it for decades and can give you this bit of advice - hunt them with a cross wind and spend 95% of your time looking on the downwind side of the fencerow. It doesnt matter if you have a plowed bare dirt field on one side and a prime food source on the other, when a MATURE buck comes along he will almost always be on the downwind side even if he is walking in a rough plowed bare dirt field. He wants to smell what is in the cover of the fencerow and the only way to do it is by being on the downwind side. If you get high in a tree your scent will blow right over his back. That fact is as close to an absolute as I have ever seen in hunting big bucks. For those who were at the seminar I gave in Ohio last winter, I showed video footage taken from my stands as big mature bucks walked downwind of me with my scent blowing right over their backs. :)

I just may kill a booner on a fencerow this season ...:rolleyes: :)

Don: I remember reading your article in NA Whitetail, several years back where you talked about this strategy and it has worked for me. Let me add that sitting a row or two inside standing corn can work, if the field borders another crop field, picked field or a change in habitat.
(Make sure you have permission from the farmer)

ICALL2MUCH
06-29-2011, 08:29 AM
Hunting fencerows can be awesome and I have some very good stand sites on fencerows. I have done it for decades and can give you this bit of advice - hunt them with a cross wind and spend 95% of your time looking on the downwind side of the fencerow. It doesnt matter if you have a plowed bare dirt field on one side and a prime food source on the other, when a MATURE buck comes along he will almost always be on the downwind side even if he is walking in a rough plowed bare dirt field. He wants to smell what is in the cover of the fencerow and the only way to do it is by being on the downwind side. If you get high in a tree your scent will blow right over his back. That fact is as close to an absolute as I have ever seen in hunting big bucks. For those who were at the seminar I gave in Ohio last winter, I showed video footage taken from my stands as big mature bucks walked downwind of me with my scent blowing right over their backs. :)

I just may kill a booner on a fencerow this season ...:rolleyes: :)

Yup, I've read this in your book, too!

Great info here guys.


Have you found them better in the mornings, or evenings? I personally haven't noticed a difference, but I've hunted them more evenings, than mornings.

Dogwood
06-29-2011, 08:37 AM
Those stands you posted look killer, and are exactly what I'm talking about. What winds do you hunt them with? Blowing straight into the field, or quartering?
These two, I hunt with Southern winds. Anything opposite of the scent cones I show, here, in Blue, works well. The Pink trails are the prodominent deer travel routes, along the fenceline corridors.
In this example, the situation is similar to what what dahusker describes; all of the "brush" in the fence, is on the South side of the fence (which we own), and immediately adjacent to that is a mowed fire break (which is the travel corridor), that surrounds a stand of NWSG (CRP), that we own. The North side of the fence has almost no cover, and is unhunted piece of property, that is ~90% tillable (exception is that creek/waterway, that drains from our farm, and the small "island" in the field). I am on very friendly terms with the owner, and have permission to track/recover deer, on that side of the fence, if required. "Fence sitting" is not something to be done, in situations where access is restricted, or where it might potentially cause strained neighbor relations.

It doesnt matter if you have a plowed bare dirt field on one side and a prime food source on the other, when a MATURE buck comes along he will almost always be on the downwind side even if he is walking in a rough plowed bare dirt field. He wants to smell what is in the cover of the fencerow and the only way to do it is by being on the downwind side. I set my stands to face the downwind side, so that I might be prepared for that, but, thus far, it has not been my experience that this occurs. In the case shown here, all the encounters I had last season, while on these two stands, were of the deer using the side of the stand, with cover (my side); including, two mature (4.5+ yr old) bucks. In all cases I hunted these stands, the "cover side", was, also, the upwind side, of the fence.
I'm not saying I disagree with your theory, Don, but it is not an absolute. I would say that coyotes seem to behave just the way you are describing the "mature buck" behavior, you've experienced. All of the coyote sightings I had, while on these two stands, involved the coyote on the open side of the fenceline, they passed directly through my scent cone. On this particular property, last fall, my observations showed that coyotes were willing to compromise their exposure to the open field (which is very remote, and has no significant human disturbance, post-crop harvest), to allow them to be able to travel downwind of the cover. While all deer, including mature bucks, chose to travel on the upwind side of fenceline, in order to maintain concealment on the corridor (brushy fenceline on one side; NWSG on the other). These deer are not pressured, and were very casual in their travels. I suppose it could be that this particular fenceline is not so wide that deer could easily "hide" in it, without a passing buck detecting them, even if traveling along the upwind side, so it may not be worth giving up their concealment, to 'be able to smell what's in the fenceline'... Perhaps, if the brushy corridor were 30+ yds wide, rather than 5-10 yds wide, your theory would prevail, here, as well.

Don Higgins
06-29-2011, 09:03 AM
These two, I hunt with Southern winds. Anything opposite of the scent cones I show, here, in Blue, works well. The Pink trails are the prodominent deer travel routes, along the fenceline corridors.
In this example, the situation is similar to what what dahusker describes; all of the "brush" in the fence, is on the South side of the fence (which we own), and immediately adjacent to that is a mowed fire break (which is the travel corridor), that surrounds a stand of NWSG (CRP), that we own. The North side of the fence has almost no cover, and is unhunted piece of property, that is ~90% tillable (exception is that creek/waterway, that drains from our farm, and the small "island" in the field). I am on very friendly terms with the owner, and have permission to track/recover deer, on that side of the fence, if required. "Fence sitting" is not something to be done, in situations where access is restricted, or where it might potentially cause strained neighbor relations.

I set my stands to face the downwind side, so that I might be prepared for that, but, thus far, it has not been my experience that this occurs. In the case shown here, all the encounters I had last season, while on these two stands, were of the deer using the side of the stand, with cover (my side); including, two mature (4.5+ yr old) bucks. In all cases I hunted these stands, the "cover side", was, also, the upwind side, of the fence.
I'm not saying I disagree with your theory, Don, but it is not an absolute. I would say that coyotes seem to behave just the way you are describing the "mature buck" behavior, you've experienced. All of the coyote sightings I had, while on these two stands, involved the coyote on the open side of the fenceline, they passed directly through my scent cone. In this particular property, last fall, my observations showed that coyotes were willing to compromise their exposure to the open field (which is very remote, and has no significant human disturbance, post-crop harvest), to allow them to be able to travel downwind of the cover. While all deer, including mature bucks, chose to travel on the upwind side of fenceline, in order to maintain concealment on the corridor (brushy fenceline on one side; NWSG on the other). These deer are not pressured, and were very casual in their travels. I suppose it could be that this particular fenceline is not so wide that deer could easily "hide" in it, without a passing buck detecting them, even if traveling along the upwind side, so it may not be worth giving up their concealment, to 'be able to smell what's in the fenceline'... Perhaps, if the brushy corridor were 30+ yds wide, rather than 5-10 yds wide, your theory would prevail, here, as well.

Dogwood, those 2 stand sites look "killer" to me. I think we have a different view of what is meant by "Fencerow" however. I would call both of the stand sites in your aerial photo "inside corners". Don't get me wrong, they are great standsites and if I owned the property I would have stands there as well.


When I talk about "fencerows" I mean there is only a narrow strip of cover running for some distance, ussually cover grown up along a fence. Obviously deer travel along the minimal cover and mature bucks will consistently do it on the downwind side. I personally have never seen a mature buck travel the up wind side past one of my stands on a fencerow; other deer "yes", but mature bucks "no". I am not saying it never happens but I have seen them on the downwind side enough that I now concentrate on watching the downwind side the majority of the time I am on stand. I had this point driven home a couple of years ago when I was hunting a fencerow with a field of cornstalks on one side and plowed "mud" on the other. My scent was blowing out into the plowed field and I thought surely any deer would travel through the cornstalks rtaher than wade through the mud ... WRONG! Along comes a mature buck to show me how little I knew about it. You cannot over-estimate the extent in which a mature buck relies on his nose and the extent he will go to to have the wind in his favor. I heard a guy on a hunting show say something the other day that is very true - "Every hunter I know that consistently tags big mature bucks, understands and meticulously hunts the wind." Amen brother! There is a lot more to it than knowing where your scent is blowing, you also need to understand how a mature buck likes to move through an area in relation to wind direction. The wind can be perfect for you but if the buck isnt comfortable moving in that condition you wont see many mature bucks. I have found a good way to use wind direction against a buck is to set up very close to a travel corridor, get high in the tree and then let your scent blow right over the top of bucks that pass by at point blank range. It requires a steady breeze to keep your scent up and over the travel corridor rather than through it but under the right conditions it works like a charm.

Drop-time
06-30-2011, 09:08 AM
I did see a couple of these in Dogwoods pics, and it wasnt talked about, but if there is a gap in the fencerow the better. On one of my favorite stand and camera sites there is a small gap between a neighbor and I, thats has a wire gate in it I leave open when theres no pasturing goin on. Ive gotten hundreds of pics over the years of mature bucks in this gap in the fencrow. Kinda like havin' a pinch point within a pinch point :)

fiveyear
07-01-2011, 04:05 AM
I huunt a lease in GA and it is all farm land. We have creek bottoms with surrounding planted pines and a lot of fence lines, hedgerows, or tree lines between fields. They are very often the travel routes of the deer. Even with an Ag field in front of them they walk the fence lines or hedgerows. (In the south old fence lines become hedgerows quickly.) Even inside the timber I have seen old fencelines that become great travel routes for deer. Especially, bucks in rut.

While I have seen what the prior post said about pressure pushing deer out into the open areas to get away from hunters. We see bedded deer in the open fields frequently in the fall. Tracks rubs and scrapes also demonstrate this pattern of walking the hedgerows and fencelines. One side or the other. Depending on wind. They will also often walk a few row inside the cotton, corn, soybean, planted pines or whatever is growing in parallel with the fenceline or hedgerow.

While I have watched deer walk through the thickest cover known without making a noise. I do notice that they follow the path of least resistence. Fence breaks, pushed down or cuts act as funnels. Field edges, breaks in vegetation and anything that makes their walk easier. I hear it from old timers, but see it as well, deer follow the path of least resistence.

brutusbeefcake
07-02-2011, 11:27 PM
For those who were at the seminar I gave in Ohio last winter, I showed video footage taken from my stands as big mature bucks walked downwind of me with my scent blowing right over their backs.
I was at that seminar and if I recall correctly, Don, I believe you had video of that monster walk on both sides of you. One time down wind and the other time on the upwind side in the cover about 5 to 10 yards in from the edge all during 1 sit. Is that correct?

deerlover
07-03-2011, 09:21 PM
Don't forget one VERY important factor when hunting fence rows. More times than not, during the rut here in IL, those big mature bucks AND/OR those big mature does will often lead one or the other to those fence rows to breed.

I have witnessed this more times than not that a mature whitetail will push a doe out to these tree lines. I believe they feel safe, they feel they can keep the doe "theirs" and away from other bucks, and they can see and smell danger from a long ways away.

Not to mention a lot of times, these fence rows might not be far from a secluded sink hole or tiny very overlooked patch of woods.

It offers seclusion and safety, two things mature bucks use to keep them alive!

Don Higgins
07-04-2011, 10:34 PM
I was at that seminar and if I recall correctly, Don, I believe you had video of that monster walk on both sides of you. One time down wind and the other time on the upwind side in the cover about 5 to 10 yards in from the edge all during 1 sit. Is that correct?

Yes, when he was upwind of me though he was only 5 feet from my tree and that was not on a fencerow. Also if you remember I showed footage of 2 smaller bucks that had just walked downwind of my position less than 3 minutes before the older buck appeared downwind at close range. He clearly let them take the risk before he moved past.

Don Higgins
07-04-2011, 10:34 PM
Don't forget one VERY important factor when hunting fence rows. More times than not, during the rut here in IL, those big mature bucks AND/OR those big mature does will often lead one or the other to those fence rows to breed.

I have witnessed this more times than not that a mature whitetail will push a doe out to these tree lines. I believe they feel safe, they feel they can keep the doe "theirs" and away from other bucks, and they can see and smell danger from a long ways away.

Not to mention a lot of times, these fence rows might not be far from a secluded sink hole or tiny very overlooked patch of woods.

It offers seclusion and safety, two things mature bucks use to keep them alive!

EXCELLENT POINT! I have seen the very same thing multiple times. In fact I see it almost every fall.:)