Finding Fence Funnels

Killing a mature buck at a fence funnel may not be the way you get him, but it sure can provide enough intel to get it done.

Jake Booth | August 2, 2022

Jake Booth with the Dade County buck that he killed thanks to locating the deer at a fence funnel in 2017. He used that information to kill the brute one year later. It scores 133 5/8 inches and is currently No. 8 for the county.

A fence funnel is a place where a fence is down or cut. Both fence funnels that are mentioned below are where a tree fell on the fence and created an easy place for deer to casually step over.  

Fence funnels are great for two reasons: No 1: They are great places to hang a trail cam to get an idea of what bucks are in the area. No 2: They can be productive places to hunt mature bucks if the surrounding areas are not too open. If the fence funnel is too open for mature bucks to move through, you will get trail-cam intel of the night movement, which can be very useful. This was the case with my buck. 

I gained access to a new piece of property that I had never set foot on. I scouted it in 2017 and hung a few cams in likely places. That year I received trail-cam intel of my buck as a 4 1/2-year-old 10-point near a thick transition area near a fence funnel.  I missed my chance at him that year because I was hunting a different state when he was on his feet chasing does. 

Fast forward to 2018. I was not getting any trail-cam footage of him. I simply could not find him. So, I started scouting the property more and found another fence funnel, but it was in open hardwoods and was being used heavily. It was at this fence funnel that I found “The King,” as I nicknamed him. He was only using the funnel at about 3 a.m. and was not showing up on my cams anywhere else. This was the only place he was using, even well before hunting season started. As soon as I saw how careful he was being with his movements, I knew that a doe would have to bring him to me to kill him. I couldn’t dive any deeper toward where he was bedding due to property lines.  

In 2017, when I captured him on my cam, he was chasing a doe on Nov. 28. With him being a mature buck, this date would likely be primetime again. With the past year’s info and the trail-cam intel, I had a place that I saved specially for the rut that I didn’t hunt the entire year, until the day I killed him. The place where I killed The King was a triangle-shaped open hardwood area, but on each side were thick bedding areas, with a fence funnel coming out of one of them. To get to each bedding area, the bucks had to go through these open hardwoods, because of an adjacent field that would help my cause, as I did not think this careful buck would walk out in that field.  

Sure enough, on Nov. 28 I hunted this area for the first time that season. At 5 in the evening, a doe burst out of the bedding area with a small buck and The King right on her tail. I had to literally yell at the deer to get him to stop, and when he did, he was at 35 yards. The doe ran out in the field, but he did not want to go out in the open, so when he stopped, I took my shot.  

Finding the fence funnel that he was using only at night let me know he was still there. Finding the fence funnel from 2017 is the actual funnel he used on the day I killed him and was the correct funnel to hunt, as it was the one that was in the thicker transition area. Some of the older bucks I have killed on this property and other properties prefer using fence funnels when they are available. They are a staple for things that I look for anywhere I go. Give it a try and save them for when the bucks are on their feet, either looking for does or chasing them.

A fallen limb across this barbed-wire fence makes it easier for a big whitetail to cross through the area. A camera on a place like this will give hunters a great inventory of what deer are in the neighborhood.

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