Contributors to this thread:
Ever mow paths for deer?
I burned off the back of my farm last spring and we've gotten more rain than usual. The bluestem is taller than I've ever seen it. I decided to mow some paths that the deer usually take from the neighbor's that end up under my stands. Just curious if any of you do the same and do the deer use the mowed paths more? In the picture, there's a bed in between me and the mower
Mowing Paths is one of the best things you can do to steer deer the way you want em to go or make easy access for yourself. They will almost always use the paths especially if they cut through thick cover. I like to find a good tree for the wind direction and make my path accordingly, also very effective with mock scrapes on the path within distance of your stands.
Most places I hunt it is hard to get something in there so we weed whack paths. It is amazing how quickly deer start using them. Shawn
Virtually all animals will follow the path of least resistance
I have been known to cut lanes through brush, for shooting and for my own ease and stealth in access.
Do it all the time and deer use them like a road.
Does, fawns and immature bucks will be a majority of the use. Which isn’t bad. That’s helps them be more consistent for you so they don’t mess things up. But I’ve rarely seen a mature buck come strolling down a path
Interesting, I read an article or Facebook post by Don Higgins saying he doesn't have luck with mature bucks walking down mowed paths either. We mow trails in our 3 acre prairie and I have never seen a mature buck walk down the trails. In fact, almost all the deer we have seen walk on the mowed trails are yearling bucks cruising through. I'm really not sure why. We don't seem to get much fall/winter bedding in the prairie either. It is mostly Big Blue, little blue, Indiangrass and a mix of flowers. BC
Of all the mature bucks I've seen I can hardly remember any of them on any real trails of any kind. Except for way back when I started bowhunting and killed a 156" 4x4 on a quad trail path. It's always the rookies lol.
Yes basically, we used to drive the truck multiple times in the same place to pack down the grass making a trail and the deer would use it very well.
Do it all the time as well. This will be the best traffic control year you will have in your grass field with the trails. The year after a burn, the grass is so thick and full the deer hardly want to walk thru it, so they use the trails a lot more.
Like Bow Crazy and the Pauls bros. stated, I rarely see mature bucks using the same paths that the does and young bucks use, however, I have seen on more than one occasion, an estrus doe running down a well established trail with a mature buck in tow.
I’ve mowed trails in grass and CRP for years, both for ease of getting to some stands a bit more stealthily, to try and steer deer past me, as well as trying to keep their travel movements to the downwind side of a particular stand site. I like shooting does, too.
Guess I'm in the minority here. I did it a few times and the deer seemed to go out of their way to avoid them!
I agree about does and fawns using them. I weed-whack through briars and into my plot to direct activity. It definitely gets used. I think big bucks tend to cross those trails (perpendicular) to cover more ground when cruising. All they have to do is cross it somewhere to see if a hot doe has gone by.
Every year for sure;also creates shooting lanes.I have one area where the cut trails are like spokes on a wheel.We have killed many bucks at this set-up.Cuts are 5-6' wide ;done with tractors/bush-hogs. We cut in the middle of August;time enough for new green shoots to start.
You guys sure do have a knack for turning this stuff into work!
GF.....you sure have a knack in finding fault, flaws or stupidity (in your opinion) in.......pretty much everything!
Must be where some of you hunt or where and how the trails are cut. If you make them narrow and through real think stuff mature bucks will use them. Shawn
Do it all the time; keep trails mowed, tie fences down, open gates, move brush to block paths (which I've found is difficult, an old buck will go to great lengths to go where he wants to regardless of blockages), etc.
You can't make a deer walk a certain path but they do tend to take the easiest path when given the choice and aren't pressured.
I "think" older bucks tend to parallel these paths while staying in heavier cover. Not a rule by any means, but certainly something I take into account when hunting.
I plan on using a leaf blower to keep the path to my stand ultra quiet......
I guess this would work awesome if you know where the deer beds and where he wants to feed for drink. In reality I hunt 500 acres of private that is covered with browse and water, and a short walk to thick cover to bed in. Therefore patterning a buck enough to build them a trail is not an option. For example I have been seeing on large buck in a fence corner on the north edge all summer, but I am yet to see where he comes from or where he goes because it is different every time. depending on wind, disruptions by humans, other deer, wolves, coyotes. I have patterned him and that is he likes the thick cover on the North line but from there I have no idea.
No food plots to draw them in or any other attractants.
I do see game trails coming and going but I am yet to get him on camera on any of the game trails.
Mow the paths, and then plant with clover.
Must be a Generational Thing.
Just seems to me that you guys have an awful lot of this stuff backwards....
I mow mine all the time. The deer use them like crazy!
Yes....I figured many folks do it. From last week using the trusty rider. This morning I set a cam up on another new path I cut last week. It already has some nice size tracks on it. More to follow on the next cam check....
I've never mowed paths, but I have on numerous occasions cut trails through blowdown timber and such and they definitely use them. It figures that mowed paths would do the same.
Yes. Two weeks ago I cut several with my 6' three point brush hog through my native Grass. Deer are already using them.
These pics are on paths we mowed with DR mower
Been doing it for over 25 years with great success.
Yes, to the OP question.
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My experience with cutting trails through woods, is cut a big one for the deer to use, and a smaller one to your stand.
If the paths have the same amount of clearance, deer will use both, and you can bust deer getting to your stand.
Cutting trails in the woods is another thing, mature bucks do use them in our woods. The thicker the woods, the more use these trails get. I toured a woods with clear cuts, with trails cut through them. You want to see deer usage, holy cow! This year we mowed our prairie trails thinner to see if we could get more activity by all deer. We shall see if that makes a difference.
Maybe mature buck usage of these trails depends on how the property is layed out? BC
Bucks regularly use logging roads that I maintain. They are obviously thru the woods but they always get torn up with rubs and scrapes as well. Most of my stands are with in 50 yards of these logging roads.
I have been doing it for years and it seems to work very well and you can get to your stand much quieter. I have walked to within 10 yards of deer feeding along the edges of my mowed path as I'm going to my stand several times throughout the years. The last doe I killed last year on January 1st walked to within 25 yards of me as I was standing on a wide open path alongside of a cedar tree to keep the north wind off of me. She was a very mature and wary doe and I was wearing hunter orange.
We cut narrow two trac through our log out areas all the time.
We cuting lanes here just a few weeks ago. In flat we hunt by River. Deer will use gravel bar to cross walk up this cut right by one of four trees we have groomed for climbing.
Easy. Hard part is cutting this every August.
It's already working guys. This one followed it right to the beans!
2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019 - took some of my best bucks off same stand that was FIRST selected based on being wind-proof to the deer over 90% of the time. When I hunt it I can't be winded on nearly all directions deer come from. It's also easy access easy exit with little impact to the deer. (Hard to find but golden when you do). Then I mowed various paths from power lines 300 yards back toward my stands. Several trails... Created a super highway with an intersection and cul-de sac near my stand... It's so damn effective sometimes I feel like I am cheating.
Jack good for you bud,I don't read statements on here like yours that often,don't feel bad for doing your homework and getting A's! I wonder if perhaps the mature bucks use the cut trails before daylight an after dark,as when they move more confidently? I'd think..
"I wonder if perhaps the mature bucks use the cut trails before daylight an after dark,as when they move more confidently? I'd think.." I don't overthink they "why or how" they use it. it's amidst some very thick bedding and the property abuts a powerline. Powerlines are by their nature, a common travel corridor. The path's create great natural browse and the basic "path of least resistance" They lead from the powerline to a big field I keep mowed that also provides natural, native food. The path's are all designed to lead deer "in range". I also create community scraps throughout. Out of 6 really good bucks taken from this setup, only 1 was during the rut. Last Tuesday was earliest (first in September). Last year (my highest scoring NJ buck) was October 4th. So most buck action is always up to and including some "pre-rut". It's always best for me when it's all still lush and green. Once all leaves are down and green turns to brown and rut is in high gear, it's still a good option but hit or miss like many rut spots where it's more like roulette
I've used mowing and clearing lanes through briar patches to my advantage for years also. As many have said, it does work. I cleared a lane about 5 yards wide through a huge briar thicket leading out in front of my stand. The key was hunting it on a NE wind (yellow arrow) and the animals primarily came from the E/SE and move N/NW/W. The deer were still walking with wind to their face or to their advantage for the most part, but would cut the corner (blue/green arrows) through this lane and the NE wind was perfect for me. This work led the buck pictured past my setup for a less than 10 yard shot.
I've also watched the deer (mature bucks too) use the mowed trails like many here have discussed. It works well where tall grass is abundant. Jack, your scenario sounds like a great setup. That's why you are successful. Well done!
^^^ Mr Embry gets it and is one of the BEST deer hunter's I know...