Most hunters, whether bowhunters or rifle hunters, utilize a deer stand while deer hunting. The reason is obvious. Deer have incredibly sensitive noses and are continually sniffing the air to identify danger. And bear in mind, that doesn’t only include just humans. A deer may be just as afraid, even more afraid of a mountain lion than a hunter. But the major reason to hunt from a deer stand is to keep your scent from wafting out to where the deer will smell you.
And that brings up one mistake that deer hunters make, locating their tree stands too low to the ground. To be effective, a deer stand should be a minimum of 20 feet in the air, with 25-feet even better. This is particularly significant for bowhunters, who may need additional practice at longer shots at their target.
Another key principle is to create your tree stands early in the season. It’s a wise idea to create locate your stand early, before the deer hunting season starts. The noise in creating the stand is generally significant enough that it may scare off a deer for a couple of weeks.
Where should you consider putting up a stand?
The first thing to do is to scout the area and locate deer where they feed and drink water. Deer will drink muddy water from a small depression in the ground if necessary, but they are naturally attracted to small pools of water. Many hunters, using a shovel or backhoe and plastic PVC, create their own watering holes. Make a watering hole near a location where there are a lot of edible shrubs, acorns, mushrooms and you have a sure fire winner to attract deer.
Also, it’s important to understand that deer feed most often an hour or so after getting up, in the afternoon, and shortly after the sunsets. This means you want to get up into your stand early in the morning to catch deer feeding, and you might not want to give up so early in the afternoon.
Another factor is cover, and at the same time, accessibility. If you choose a tree stand with too much foliage, your vision, as well as your degree of range in swiveling your rifle or moving your bow will be restricted. If necessary, use a saw and get rid of a few branches, but if you find yourself cutting down half the forest, you’ve picked the wrong location.
Also, consider road access to your stand. If you only have to hike a mile to your stand, that’s good. However, if you have to hike 10 miles from your car to the stand, not only will that take you a few hours, but if you hit a deer and are ready to field dress it, that’s a long way to hike back with 40 or 50 pounds of excess weight.
With these helpful tips you will be able to identify the best places to attach your tree stand and have success this hunting season.