Before the shot you have to make sure that the flight of arrow is free and clear to travel to the whitetail deer without hitting a limb or branch. When it comes to trimming shooting lanes, keep it simple. I create three to four shooting lanes five to ten yards wide and out to 75 yards deep. It is very easy to make this more complicated than what it needs to be.
Here is the most common method, my hunting partners and i use. Imagine that your tree stand is in the middle of a clock, and you are facing the number twelve on the clock. I try to put a small kill plot in front of all of my stands, directly at my twelve o’clock. Kill plots are easy to install and very inexpensive. Normally, I make my kill plots, 10 yards wide and 30 yard long. The advantage of a 30 yard kill plot is that I know that once a deer steps anywhere in the food plot I will be using my first pin and wont have to waste time ranging the deer.
I like to cut shooting lanes at approximately nine, twelve and three on the clock face. That gives me three solid shooting lanes to take a shot especially if I can’t get the deer to stop in the first lane. There will be times where I will alter that to ten, twelve, and two on the clock face depending on the travel routes of the deer. I try not to cut my shooting lanes until I know the major travel routes of the deer in my area. I like to know how they will enter the food plots or go to bedding areas.
I cut my lanes wide enough so I can see the entire deer and have it take a few steps, that is why I cut them five to ten yards wide. This gives me enough space to fully judge the age and size of the deer. The wider you cut the shooting lanes, the more opportunities the deer will have to see you. It is a game of give and take. You just do not want to give too much away. At the end of the day five yards is wide enough for shot and to judge the size of the deer effectively. Find your sweat spot and stick to it.
When it comes to shooting lanes, if you just keep it simple and you will be just fine. Only cut shooting lanes as far as you are comfortable shooting. If you are only comfortable shooting out to 30 yards, than do not cut the shooting lanes out to 40 yards. Cut them out to you max kill distance and stop, this way you will instantly know whether a deer is in range or it is not. Limit the shooting lanes to three or four and when that whitetail deer of a lifetime steps out in front of you, just let your arrow fly.