View Full Version : Do deer shun powerlines?

September 11, 2009, 07:02 PM
I found some nice, remote, accessable area to hunt deer here in WA for the early deer season, which starts in just a few days. I've mostly hunted elk in Idaho, haven't had much luck with blacktails and muleys here in WA.

So, I'm just wondering, do the deer shun the high-tension powerlines? If so, I'll have to go to plan B.



September 11, 2009, 07:16 PM
Sure they do! That's why so many deer are hit by cars on highways with powerlines running inside the road easement.


Sorry, sometimes I can't resist sarcasm. Good luck on your hunt.


September 11, 2009, 07:23 PM
Not in NC! It's a pretty productive method.

September 11, 2009, 07:41 PM
I've read more than one article linking big bucks being actually attracted to powerlines. As for myself, I've hunted around high tensioned powerlines and found some truth in this.
Maybe you should stick to plan A.

September 11, 2009, 07:50 PM
Deer take the path of least resistance....in many ares that means a powerline road/jeep trail......The EMF has nothing to do with them, food, water, escape means everything

September 11, 2009, 07:50 PM
Lots of folk set up in the clear cuts around power lines.

Blacktail are pretty hard to hunt. Try to go with whitetail and mule deer for a start. I've had real good luck in the Wenatchee and Ellensburg areas.

September 11, 2009, 07:56 PM
I think it really depends on the habitat and amount of hunting pressure. If they are heavily pressured, I've seen deer sneak up to the edge of the right of way, look both ways and haul butt across the lane. In heavy timber, there is precious little for deer to eat and they depend heavily on the browse provided by the forest openings so they can be magnets.

If the surrounding land is a patchwork of habitat types, they won't necessarily be drawn to the powerlines but they won't shun them either as long as they aren't heavily pressured. The wide swaths of relatively open ground should give you a nice, long shot in both directions if you pick your spot well.

I would walk the lines as far as I can and look for deer sign and signs of other hunters. If I see a lot of A and none of B, I would stick with plan A.

Art Eatman
September 11, 2009, 08:31 PM
Generally, deer like edges, and don't wander out in the broad open. Power line clearings provide miles of edges. Commonly, the movement is more acrros than along, so look for trails. Often in low areas where the brush gives a bit more cover.

September 11, 2009, 08:51 PM
Not in NC! It's a pretty productive method.

Indeed it is..........

September 11, 2009, 09:03 PM
Most deer no, but two from last year will never go near another power line;)

Double Naught Spy
September 11, 2009, 09:10 PM
Most deer shun power lines, but not all of them. Some of the more arboreal and wirewalking-inclined deer are actually attracted to them even if they have little actual experience with electricity.


distant view

Otherwise, you won't find deer going anywhere near downed sparking power lines. The same can't be said for humans.

Since most power lines are 20 feet in the air or buried, the deer are never in actual proximity to them and hence most are not bothered by them too much.

Brian Pfleuger
September 11, 2009, 09:19 PM
The most productive hunting area I have ever had access to is an area where deer cross high tension power lines.

September 12, 2009, 06:09 AM
bout a mile long going through the middle of our lease. We have 4 shooting houses on platforms placed at different points along the way. They are placed in areas to ensure safety first. We have killed more deer from these stands, over the years, than from stands placed in the wood.

Nowhere Man
September 12, 2009, 07:08 AM
Nobody told them high-tension powerlines cause brain cancer. ;)


Uncle Buck
September 12, 2009, 07:09 AM
Deer are sorta like us, they hate going through the brush if they do not have to. Every year I take the lawn mower and cut a few paths from the fields, through the woods and back to the fields on the other side. I put a few 90 degree turns in them.

Every year the dear wander down these lanes and end up in someones scope. When I was a kid we used to put tree stands on the power line poles and shoot the clearing. (I know, not the brightest idea, but we were young and going to live for-ever.)

September 12, 2009, 09:59 AM
Our club erected stands every 100 yds. or so along a transmission right-of-way and we harvested many whitetail there over the years.

Old Grump
September 12, 2009, 11:46 AM
Deer are edge feeders. Woods for shelter, pastures for grazing. Right of way is nothing but perfect manmade edge.

September 12, 2009, 11:58 AM
Anywhere you have clear cut land you will have a better chance of takeing a deer over the next several years. Just remember the oldest bucks and does will only show in most open areas when ruteing, pushed or with the help of moon phase. It does not matter if the clearing is under powerlines or a 200 acre clear cut. I have seen many deer right out in the middle of them. Just got to put in the hours to see them. I have shot more good deer in a rain or at lunch time than other times of day and alway use clear cuts for finding deer movement . Get out and mow if you must to help your chances if brush is too high.

Double Naught Spy
September 12, 2009, 12:02 PM
Deer are browsers, not grazers...just a technical distinction.

September 15, 2009, 05:52 PM
Since I havnt hunted whitetail untill recently, I cant make much observation about them yet. I can say that both mule and blacktail seem to travel parallel to power lines. You can usually find their trails fairly close to them depending on cover. They will cross them however and it is usually at an area where they find the most cover.

September 15, 2009, 05:57 PM
Heck NO!!! I always scan down a powerline when driving as it is my longest view for the most part... I see them under all sizes of powerline... I was out all night friday and saturday nights runnin' with a buddy and his deer dogs getting them ready for season and they were under and around the main powerline all night... never a mile north or south of it and deer crossing under many times...

September 15, 2009, 07:17 PM
If you have a power line running through the middle of a bean field there are no more deer under it than anywhere else. Same for forest land unless you have planted something on the right of way for them to eat. But, it sure makes them easier to see.

September 15, 2009, 07:55 PM
I wouldn't say the powerline itself attracts them but as already said it is so easy to see 300-400 yards deep. I will also add that I seen so many tracks of various size deer and the tracks were more more than just numerous. Piles of scat everywhere too. Not just one trail used to get from one side to the other...

September 15, 2009, 09:06 PM
A lot of times there is good browse on a power line compared to what is in the woods. Mature forest don't offer much accept when the acorns drop.

James R. Burke
September 17, 2009, 06:50 PM

September 17, 2009, 07:04 PM
Anything that has been cut will offer the best browse for the next 3 or 4 years . Typicaly a better choice for the deer to feed on . Ask any biologist. If you want to improve any natural area on your property just have it bushhoged in the spring and the deer will show on it. may be just as many in the wooded areas but you can sure see them easier on the cut over.

September 17, 2009, 08:35 PM
Thanks for all the replies...way more than I thought I'd get. It's 'high buck season' here in WA, and any blacktail I target must have min. of 3pts on one side, but thanks to ya'll I'm hunting a nice stretch of powerlines tomorrow. Hopefully, the deer gods will bless me...regardless, at least I'm outside huntin'.


September 17, 2009, 08:44 PM
regardless, at least I'm outside huntin'.

Rule NUMBER ONE!!! Enjoy!

September 18, 2009, 05:58 AM
These two don't seem to mind at all.


Taken from my driveway, down the powerline.

September 19, 2009, 06:14 AM
Haven`t read all the post(excuse me if I repeat) but my experience is that, in the right set-up, deer love powerlines as there is more browse for them to munch on. A powerline with lots of foreage running through a deep/heavy canopied woods is a great spot to set up. Especially if there`s no open farm fields around and water is also close by. The more open,well sunlit fields with browse the less attractive the powerlines become. One of my all-time fav. spots to bow hunt Ohio`s late pre- rut was just such a spot as described above. I`ve taken several nice bucks from there. Do to health reason`s, I today, can`t make it to the spot. The spots in good hands though as I turned it over to a young man I`ve taken hunting since he was a kid. Thats a sore subject with my son`s.

September 19, 2009, 07:07 AM
Power lines are one of my favorites areas to hunt. We use dogs to hunt dear here in Virginia and if there is a power line any where around the dear will usually cross it during a chase. Same applies to still hunting.

September 22, 2009, 06:54 AM
would agree they do cross powerline clearings often and may even travel down them for awhile if its easier for them to use, but ive never had much luck hunting a powerline mainly due to hunting pressure usually see some but never was able to get a shot as they moved right across the clearing quickly during deer season, I would suggest you atleast think about another strategy as hunting powerlines may not be very effective after the first couple of days of the season if the area is hunted much.

September 22, 2009, 05:41 PM
I have a natural gas line above my parents house serounded by woods. Elk and Blacktail are the most prevalent game in the area. I know to choose my shots wisely on the gas line, would black tail frequent the pipe line do you think?