Most big game hunters are familiar with deer drives, one or more hunters to push deer toward a waiting hunter. Deer drives can be an effective tool for the hunter, if done correctly.
First, any piece of land can be used for a deer drive, not only small areas surrounded by roads or fields. Even large parcels of continuous timber can effectively be driven. You just have to take some extra time setting up the drive. Following the guidelines below will help you and your hunting partners to tag more deer while participating in deer drives.
3-5 Hunters (2-4 drivers and a hunter on stand) are about optimal for driving deer. The idea behind a drive is to gently push the animal, not chase them to the waiting hunter. Any more than 5 drivers and you are sure to spook the deer. Remember you don’t want the deer so fearful that they are going to try to get around the drivers, if this happens chances are that you won’t see a thing. Instead you want to let the deer know you are there but keep them at ease enough that they walk in front of your line to the waiting gun.
Conduct the drive so that the wind is right. More often than not, I see people setting up drives going in the opposite direction. Again, you want the deer to move toward the person in the stand. Drive with the wind. Why? Because the drivers scent dispersing in front of them will get the deer up and moving. They will be concerned about the human odor behind them and much less likely to detect the waiting hunter in the stand on the other end of the drive.
Move slowly. Effectively driving deer starts with the drivers, they must be patient, this is not a race, the last thing you want is to spook the deer and send them in every direction. A slow deliberate walk, faster than still hunting, but slower than you normally walk, seems to be about perfect. Again, you want to move deer, not chase them.
Drivers should only shoot when given a sure thing! Drivers should not be the ones doing the shooting on a deer drive, leave that to the person or persons in the stands. If a driver is given a clean shot on a deer, take it, but don’t shoot at every deer you see, just keep them moving to the hunter in the stand.
Put the best shot in the stand, I know you might have to swallow your pride on this one, but the best shot should be the one in the stand. They will have the best opportunity to fill a tag.
Safety first! It doesn’t matter how much hunter orange the “Book” says you have to have on, it is a fact that people are injured and killed each year during deer drives. A hat and vest are minimum for a safe drive. The person in the stand, needs to know exactly where each driver is, they can’t do that if everyone is in camouflage.
Done correctly deer drives are effective and safe. Good luck and happy hunting.
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