bow set

One mid-October morning in Montana, I froze as an 8-pointer trotted toward me through the woods. He was moving fast, trying to get back to his bed along the Milk River before the sun got too high. Something flashed behind him—a 10-pointer pushing 150 was bringing up the rear!

I was hunting on the ground, and the wind was right. Those woods were flat as a pool table and pretty open, but I wasn’t too worried. I let the bucks come close and step into the ditch in front of me. When they disappeared, I drew my bow and stepped out from behind my hiding tree. The 8-pointer popped out on my side, and I ran an arrow through his lungs at 16 steps. He never knew what hit him. Why didn’t I wait for the 10-point giant? You take the first good buck you can get when bowhunting on the ground, man!

Since that day, a good-sized ditch, old creek bed, or dry irrigation canal that runs through a block of timber has become one of my favorite bow setups. Many other times I have watched bucks get down in those trenches and maneuver through the woods.

You might get a shot by hunting on either end of the runway, where it enters or runs out the woods. If you walk and scout the entire length of a ditch or creek drainage, you will find at least 2 points where trails come together and funnel across it, and those are killer spots for a set. I like the crossings better than the ends on days when the wind is right. Hang a tree stand or hunt on the ground if the situation seems right.