Hunters looking to harvest a mature deer from a treestand should pay close attention to treestand placement to maximize their chances of success.
Many hunters have questions about treestand placement. “How high do you go in the tree?” is one of the most asked questions on the topic. Every situation is different and there aren’t any set rules. However, there are some general practices that will help in most situations when placing a treestand.
Location To Hang Your Stand
It is imperative to hunt where the deer are in order to be successful. Focus on trails leading to a food source, along the edges of overgrown thickets or trails leading to bedding areas in the thick cover. Put in the extra effort by scouting in the off season to determine where the deer are moving. You can influence the route deer are traveling. Clearing out narrow trails through thick-covered areas is a good traffic control strategy; within a few days, deer will start traveling your trails. You can use these homemade deer paths through easy-to-hunt ambush points of your choice. A rake, folding hand saw and loppers are all you need to make perfect whitetail roads. Adding buck urine to these make-shift paths can also add a natural degree of realism. Connecting mock trails to current food sources and potential thick-covered bedding areas is another good tip that can help you successfully harvest this season.
Place your stand as high as you can go in a tree without limiting your shot opportunities. I prefer to bow hunt around 20 feet up in the tree. Getting up the tree higher usually lets you see further, makes it harder for the deer to see you, and most importantly, it keeps your scent off the ground. I have a few sets that are 30 feet high which is great but your shot angles become the problem at those heights. If your scared of heights, try hunting 14-16 feet off the ground in the cover of a tree. Getting off the ground has many advantages, just be careful and always use a safety harness.
Play The Wind and Sun
When choosing the location to hunt always know the prevailing wind and where the sun will be during hunting hours. You must hunt downwind or cross-wind of where you think the deer will be. This is the most important decision when choosing your treestand set. Another important decision is to determine where the sun will be when you want to hunt the site. Make sure you are not looking directly towards the sun.
Use Cover Of The Tree
Hunt a tree that will provide cover. Look for trees that lose their foliage late, clusters of trees, or trees with a Y in the trunk for concealment. Position the treestand so that you will have an easy shot opportunity sitting and standing while concealed in the natural cover of the tree. If there is not ample cover you can either go higher up or make shift your own concealment.
How Far off Trails
Almost all my sets are between twenty and thirty yard shots to trails. At closer distances you run a greater risk of being seen or heard in the tree. The shot angle also becomes more challenging at close distance, increasing the risk of a single-lung hit. Longer shots may allow you to get away with a bit more movement in the tree, but dealing with moving deer or deer that are likely to jump the string becomes a challenge. Twenty to thirty yards is perfect!
The one thing to not overlook is the entry and exit routes you take to get to and out of the treestand. If the deer know you are there they won’t come to that set. If they know you were there, they will become more cautious in that area in the future ruining your set. You must take precautions such as scent control and routes that do not go through the shooting area while getting to the stand and exiting the stand.
Good luck this season my fellow hunting friends and be safe out there.
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