Rut Funnels and Deer Hunting
When the November rut is on, does are coming into estrous, and big bucks are on their feet, you should spend as much time as possible sitting in a rut funnel. The fact is that mature bucks make their biggest mistakes during the chase and breeding phase. They will simply follow a doe most anywhere, including running and pushing that doe through habitat, terrain, and/or otherwise designed rut funnels. Here are the best rut funnels you can hunt and how to find them.
Best Rut Funnels for Deer Hunting
The best rut funnels usually take place in chokepoints, otherwise known as areas that limit deer travel to a smaller (say less than 100 yard) area. Deer funnels exist everywhere naturally with the easiest route of travel whether its into a food plot, into a creek bottom, or simply into an oak flat. However, rut funnels differ by one common denominator, they center on does and doe bedding. Keep this in mind when looking for classic rut funnels over normal deer funnels/travel.
The Creek Bottom
One of the most classic deer funnels can usually be specified in bottoms and around creeks or drainages. These areas are characterized usually by some thick, undisturbed doe bedding in swirling thermals, or perhaps a bend in the creek that shallows up and creates a chokepoint between two terrain features, a food source and doe bedding, or two bedding areas. This not only gives you an easy way of finding the funnel, usually a mud packed run going up the side of the bank, but an easy entrance/exit to a stand over the funnel.
Saddle and Ridge Funnels
If you are hunting in an area with considerable terrain, then you should keep an eye out for classic rut funnels that develop around ridges and saddles. Saddle funnels can happen in terrain near doe bedding, where two higher points of elevation have a lower point between them, making a saddle-like depression. This area in the Midwest hardwoods for example could be an oak flat saddle, between two thick areas of ridgelines or timber cuts. Ridgelines coming together, and the drainages directly adjacent to them/between them can make very good funnels for mature rutting bucks. These ridgelines and drainages work the bucks advantage, catching falling or rising thermals from where does, and or hunters might be depending on the time of day.
The Habitat Funnel
A habitat, field edge, or ag field related funnel can usually be one of the easiest to spot from aerials or in-field scouting. These areas can be choke points of woods or fence lines between ag fields, food plots, or thick bedding to more open hardwoods. These funnels usually can hold a lot of sign, as deer are likely to travel just on the edge of a field or inside a Woodline to check rubs, bedding, and/or scrapes.
The Designed Funnel
Something to always keep in mind when hunting or managing private land is creating your own rut funnels. Through the use of food plots, bait, habitat work, logging, or even hinge cutting, hunters can create extremely successful funnels on their hunting properties. The designed funnels can use a combination of items like a cut in a fence row as well as a food plot to capitalize on doe movement and buck movement during the rut. If your land provides it, try using fences, hinge-cutting, or even habitat work to steer the movement in a more favorable ambush point for the November rut movement!
Rut funnels are the place to be in November no doubt, so before the rutting action heats up, find some funnels, get some cameras up if possible, and plan for some intense action! These best rut funnel locations and ideas can make or break your season when the rut is on!