Great Stand Location Doesn’t Produce

Steve S. from West Virginia wants to know why the area he scouted and the stand he hung there grew totally cold once the bow season started. “I was seeing good bucks (one a huge non-typical), the rut was just starting, I hung a stand on a rub line, and the stand produced nothing. Five straight days there, and I saw nary a buck. What happened?”

Dr. Dave Samuel

Steve, I’ve been there and done that. I don’t necessarily have an answer, but let me wander around this situation a bit. The most obvious reason that strikes me might be the way you enter and exit the stand. If you enter or exit in such a way that your trail or your odor could reach any deer coming near the stand, that could explain the problem.

Remember that deer smell 400 times better than we do. Your odor, whether while in the stand, or while walking to and from the stand, will remain in the area quite awhile. The more time spent in that stand, and walking to and from that stand, the more human odor in the area. So, you need several stands, and when the wind is not right, never hunt that stand. Go to an alternative stand where the wind is right.

Another thing that you may have done, also relates to a deer’s nose. If you hunted this stand several days in a row, then you did put human odor in the area. No matter how scent-proof you tried to be, there is no way to totally eliminate human odor. That is one reason that the first sit in a stand is usually the most productive relative to big bucks. With alternative stands, you can move when the wind is not right, and you can move around from day to day so that the area does not build up an excessive amount of your odor.

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Dr. Dave writes a weekly column for If you have a question for Dr. Dave, e-mail your question to Dr. Dave in care of Tom Kacheroski, senior editor of‘s content at Dr. Dave studied deer for 30 years as a wildlife management professor at West Virginia University. In addition he has been a bowhunter for over 40 years, with deer being his main prey. He’s also an outdoor writer and has been with “Bowhunter” magazine for 31 years.

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