Tree stand hunting whitetails is the preferred method of most hunters. Positioned correctly, you should be able to easily avoid the eyesight and scent stream of any deer passing by. This does not mean, however, that any random stand site will produce. There are many factors that come into play when determining perfect tree stand placement. Once you’ve found the area that you want to hunt, here are some tips for picking the perfect tree in which to hang your stand.
The first thing you must consider when trying to select the perfect tree stand site is your ability to enter and exit the stand without alerting any deer within the area. You may have located the perfect honey hole on the property, but if you can’t enter and exit the stand without tipping off the local deer herd of your presence, it’s all for naught. A few such encounters and the deer will begin to avoid the area during daylight hours.
This also encompasses proper scent control. You do not want your scent drifting into suspected bedding areas or preferred feeding areas while accessing the area. This is potentially more damaging than having the deer spot you while entering and leaving the stand.
Even with all the proper safeguards in place, wear knee-high rubber boots and be careful what you touch or rub up against. The scent you leave behind can spook a deer long after you’re in the stand. Walk slowly, quietly and stop often to listen and to control your perspiration. Finally, get into your stand quickly and quietly.
After you’ve found the perfect spot that meets the above criteria, the next important factor is picking the proper tree. First and foremost, the tree has to be safe. It should be living, straight, large enough to support you, and free of any dead debris above the stand. More than one unfortunate crossbow hunter has been knocked from his perch by falling debris from above.
Once the perfect tree has been selected, hunters should use only stands that carry the Treestand Manufacturers Association (TMA) sticker of approval on them. You should wear a safety harness the entire time you are off the ground. No deer is worth dying for. Also, never hunt from a stranger’s tree stand. Not only is it unethical, but it’s also very dangerous. The stand may be defective or may not have been set up correctly.
When hanging the stand, position it no higher than necessary. In some cases a 10-foot perch is more than adequate to be effective, whereas in other situations a stand 30-feet up is required. Keep in mind that the higher you go, the more acute the shot angle becomes on nearby deer.
I prefer to hang my stands before Memorial Day weekend in which case I believe that you can never clear too wide of an area for shooting lanes. Often times I clear a twenty-yard radius around my entire stand. On the other hand, if the season is near or open, I recommend clearing as little as possible. Make sure that you can shoot in all directions, but the less disruption you create at this point the better.
Once the stand is in place and ready to hunt from, additional precautions should be considered. The entire area should remain clean and free of human odors. This means you are careful in your approach and exit routines, and you do not wander around the area looking for more deer sign or pacing off shooting distances. Use a rangefinder if yardage estimation is a problem.
Never hunt the stand if there’s a chance that the current wind direction will alert incoming deer. The perfect stand takes advantage of prevailing winds, and you should have a second or even third stand already in position to benefit from major changes in wind direction and varying weather conditions. Never be tempted to sit in your favorite tree stand if the wind is blowing your scent in the direction you expect a buck to come from. Once a mature buck knows you are lurking nearby, he will undoubtedly avoid the area.
Follow these few tips the next time you’re about to hang a stand, and your chances of success will increase.
Make sure you visit Whitetail Universe for sales on hunting gear, giveaways and expert tips.