Yes, I am aware that deer season has just ended across most of the country. But, now is the best time to get out and hang stands, and cut shooting lanes. The less time we can spend in the woods later in the year the better it will be for deer hunting. This is especially true as deer season approaches. The less disturbance that we can make as hunters where we hunt, the better the odds of success for the upcoming season.
Keep Disturbance to a Minimum
The earlier in the year that we can hang our stands, the less pressure the deer will feel. Pressure
deer quickly go nocturnal, or leave the area entirely.
This is particularly true when you have mature bucks calling your hunting grounds home. Walking through the bedding grounds of a mature white-tailed buck just a few short weeks before season begins to scout and hang stands will all but guarantee that you will not see that buck while hunting. If the area you are hunting has a lot of pressure, big bucks will only take so much human intrusion before they find somewhere else to hang out.
Once you get your stand hung, there is not much need to go back into that area. A lot of scouting can be done from a distance. If you use trail cameras, limit your visits to once every couple of weeks.
Allow Time for The Deer to Get Comfortable
Hanging a stand now will allow whitetails that are normally skittish of something new within their home range to have plenty of time to become accustomed to your stands. By the time deer season rolls around, the deer will not give your stands a second thought.
Sign Is Fresh
From the information you gathered from your post season scouting, as well as from the deer season that just ended, you have a good idea of travel corridors, bedding areas, food sources, and more that whitetails routinely use.
With this information still fresh in your mind, now is the time to hang stands. As long as there are not a lot of changes to the landscape like new construction, natural disasters, change in food availability, the deer will continue their patterns from one season to the next.
Preparing shooting lanes is also something that should be done now. By doing this task now, deer will also have plenty of time to get use to the alternations to their cover. Creating shooting lanes is not something only archers should be concerned with. Remember that the smallest twig can send a bullet places other than where you want it.
Something many hunters do not consider is the sight of fresh cuts left behind from clearing a shooting lane. After you cut your shooting lane, step back and take a look at. Does it stand out like a sore thumb? I bet it does. If you notice it, I guarantee you the deer will too.
It is an easy fix that will not take much time or effort. All that you need to do is smear some mud on the stump left behind. The brown stump will not be nearly as noticeable as the white of a fresh cut. Cut your lanes as close to the ground as possible, and make sure the cuts are thrown off the trails and out of your way, and your shooting lanes are complete.
Thinking About Ground Blinds
Even though now is the time to get your treestands in place, that is not true for ground blinds.
Yes, it is best to get your ground blinds out a month or so before season opens to allow the deer to get use to the new sight. But, if you were to erect them this time of year, you likely would not have a ground blind come hunting season.
The weather would play havoc on, and likely destroy a ground blind. Decide now where to erect your blind, and cut shooting lanes. Return about a month before season to clear an area and erect the blind. Spend as little time as possible in the area, during midday if possible, and do not return until you are ready to hunt.
Even if you plan on hunting out of the same tree the following season, go ahead and take your stand down and check for hazards. Give the stand a good look for weak, lose or rusty bolts. Check to make sure all cables and straps are strong. Only after you are sure your stand is safe is it OK to hang it back up.
Once you locate good locations for a stand, winter is the best time to get them in place. Bucks will notice anything out of place, and a new stand is certainly out of place. By making these changes now to their landscape, whitetails will have plenty of time to grow accustomed to them.