When I was learning how to hunt deer, they always told me to look for sign and hunt the funnels. Deer signs were easy. They were big and yellow and they had a picture of a deer on them. In some places, the deer were shown just standing. In other places, the deer were leaping. You wanted to hunt the ones with the walking deer; they were easier to shoot. If you were lucky, you found one with a few big slug holes in it. That meant somebody had hunted that sign successfully. You wanted a fresh sign too– one that was all bright and shiny yellow and not some rusted old sign. Deer wouldn’t come to the old beat up ones.
Hunting a sign was easy. All you had to do was go into the woods a ways away from the sign and then wait for a deer to come through. The state had made it illegal to hunt too close to the signs. That was so it was sporting for the deer.
Funnels were a much harder thing to figure out. I looked for years for a funnel in the woods. I finally got a nice shiny metal one and put it up on a post. Sat by it for days– I did see deer, but they were always running away. I even tried hanging my funnel on a deer sign, but that didn’t work either. Trucks would come by and knock it off. I couldn’t understand what the whole thing was about funnels.
They told me I was stupid; store-bought funnels wouldn’t attract deer. You’d have to find one in the woods or make your own. Now how in the heck is a deer going to know which ones came store-bought and which ones are homemade? If I bought one and left it out in the woods over the wWinter to rust, could I then use it?
The more I thought about this whole funnel thing, it was just hooey. It wasn’t a proven scientific method like the Jon-E Handwarmer I always carried with the special Jon-E buck lure dispenser. However, that’s another whole story.
Deer Signs: they were a sure bet. But how did the deer learn to come to those signs? I tried making one and putting it out in the woods. That didn’t work. Mine was plywood, and the state’s was metal, but I couldn’t imagine the deer cared about that. After several attempts it finally dawned on me that there was something else going on.
Salt. You needed the salt. States put down salt to clean the roads of ice, and then they put out signs to show the deer where salt was being left. All that salt was going somewhere– it sure as heck wasn’t piling up. The deer were coming by and eating it. If you put out salt and stuck a big yellow sign over it, the deer would come to it. I tried salt with a sign, salt with a funnel, salt with a funnel and sign both. It didn’t seem to matter. Salt all by itself worked. You didn’t need the sign. I thought about writing the state to tell them they could save a lot of money on signage, but then I figured word would get out. Besides, they’d all called me stupid. Let them go rot by their stupid signs.
I’ve kept this as my secret until now. Now that I’m shooting deer on a regular basis, I thought I would just share it with you all. Ain’t it funny how dumb some hunters are? They go for generations thinking deer behave a certain way and it’s all something else entirely.