Converging Hubs! How to Identify and Hunt Them
Shane McDermott, President
Mapping The Outdoors, Inc.
In many of the articles I have written I have identified locations where one or two travel routes come together. These locations are often used to pattern a particular movement, or even a particular buck. This article is entirely different, as the converging hub is like a major interchange on a city highway system; it is the center point of travel activity for a large region. Not that it cannot be used to pattern a single deer, however its primary focus is the fact that there are many trails coming together. This allows for a higher probability of seeing more deer.
Hunting a converging hub can be a blast for a few reasons. Obviously the first reason is the fact that there is a good chance that you will see a lot of deer, which is usually pretty exciting for anybody. But the thing that I really like is that the deer will come from all directions, which keeps my head looking in every direction. The anticipation of where the deer will come from drives me nuts!
So what is the converging hub? I guess the simplest way to explain it is where a group of travel patterns, or trails, come together in one small area. Most of us have been walking through the woods and you see an area where multiple trails come together or cross. This is just like the highway interchange I mentioned above. Some of the trails come together and join, and others just cross over each other. Instead of trying to identify a stand location along one or two trails, you have an opportunity to hunt many more at one location and in my opinion increase your odds at seeing and harvesting deer.
So how do you find this converging hub, since you can’t see deer trails on an aerial photo or topographic map? That is a good question! But there are still features on a map that give us a good idea of travel patterns. Try to imagine a low lying area, maybe a 100 yards wide, where three of four ridges come down to a point and end right in that bottom ground. I have seen many of these types of areas, and they almost always have a ton of trails running through them. One in particular I remember was bound on the north side by a creek, and there were multiple rides that ended in this flat bottom area which was about 30 yards wide and about 100 yards long. There were trails running all over that flat bottom region, crossing and merging in many locations. This is definitely a converging hub. The creek forced some of the movement east and west and the ridges brought the deer movement right down in to the converging hub.
You can get a general idea off of an aerial photo or topographic map of where there may be a possibility of a converging hub, but you really need to go into the woods to verify them. The best type of map to use for something like this is an Aerial Topo, which has both the aerial photo and the topographic features as well, as you need to see how the elevation changes lay on the aerial photo. I have founds several locations on an aerial photo that turn out to not be the active hub I thought they would be. But it definitely gives you a great place to start. My suggestion is to identify a few of them using aerial photos, then head out and check them out in the field. Once you are there, you will know if they are a hot spot or not simply by checking out the trails. Below is an aerial photo of the bottom area converging hub I mentioned before. You can see how the deer movement is coming down from three separate ridges and ending in the bottom ground, and there is also deer movement that is forced to the south of the creek bed, which puts around five different travel routes in one location…right where I harvested a nice buck last year. All of the movement comes together in this prime spot, just as expected.
The deer I shot out of this stand last year actually came from the Northwest, turned south along one ridge, made a 90 degree turn and came back down the next ridge over, and walked right by my stand at about 15 yards. I nailed him with a perfect shot, and he ran about 70 or 80 yards away where we found him. Unfortunately he decided to find the deepest ravine, in the thickest cover in the entire region. But luckily for me my friends Brian and Tara Seiler from the Droptine Divas were out hunting with me that week, so I had plenty of help dragging that brute our of the woods….thanks guys, that would have been a tough one alone!!! It was a great experience, and proves that the right location like this can bring a lot of activity directly in front of you, and then it’s just up to you to finish the job.
Originally posted 2010-06-08 17:06:48. Republished by Blog Post Promoter