Some people would say that my priorities aren’t quite correct. For example, I had a dozen treestands in place before I had electricity upstairs … .
I found four old, handmade wooden treestands in the woods of my farm. I would never, ever hunt from a wooden stand, or allow anyone else to hunt from such a stand. However, perversely — I wanted to prove that I was really good at choosing a stand site — I didn’t hang treestands near the old stands.
And I watched from my new stands as deer strolled within bow range of the old stands … .
Obviously the former owners of the farm had figured out deer movement. (They hadn’t figured out the basics of hunter safety, such as, hunt from Tree Stand Manufacturer’s Association approved, safe stands, but they did have a handle on what deer did!)
As I reflected on their site selection, I realized a few basic lessons:
Don’t let the location of the “perfect tree” dictate where you hang a treestand. The former owners had used various pieces of lumber to accommodate odd-shaped trees. We, however, have the benefit of better technology — there are treestands designed specifically to handle that type of problem. Crooked tree? No problem, just choose a stand designed for that.
No Big Trees
Don’t eliminate an area because it doesn’t include any trees, which are big enough to hold a treestand. If it’s a good spot, say a travel area thick with young saplings, consider a tri-pod stand. Yes, the tri-pods may seem cumbersome to set up, but once in place you’ll like the generous platform size. Pop-up blinds are another great option and are so comfortable — you can get away with much more movement in them than with a treestand. Definitely consider a blind if you’re taking a youngster along with you.
Once I understood the prevailing wind patterns, the location of the old wooden stands made perfect sense. A wind from the northwest is most common in my area (northeastern Pennsylvania), and deer moved into the wind. The best stand sites were adjacent to their trails, but far enough from the trails to escape detection.
I had arrowed a young doe, which disappeared over a ridge. After I trailed, dressed and prepared for the drag, I looked up to calculate the path up of least resistance to the truck. And from that spot, which was at the edge of a thick bedding area, I could clearly see one of my “lock-on” stands. And I realized how easy it would be for the deer to keep tabs on me. Make it a point to view your stand sites from distant locations.
I believe I’ve gotten fairly skilled at hanging stands; yet, I was constantly surprised to find I’d been exactly wrong on the timing — was it a morning or afternoon stand? That’s when scouting cameras come in handy. If you haven’t made this addition to your gear, and you do, you’ll be very pleased at how much they add to and improve your hunting. When I checked my camera, I found that a big doe was going through an area each day, around noon. Feeling foolish, I went to that treestand at 11 a.m. I’d never gone to a stand that late in the morning. And, as if she were punching a time clock, the doe showed and I had meat for the freezer.
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