Part 5: Fine-Tuning Our Creation
In the last part of this series, we took a look at “concealment issues” in our effort to create the “perfect treestand.” In this installment, let’s consider another topic — the entrance and exit to our hide. “Leave no stones unturned” is the motto of the diligent, consistently successful, whitetail, treestand bowhunter. Let’s roll!
When you have the perfect ambush spot chosen and prepared — and it’s finally time to hunt it — is the task of accessing your hide going to seriously harm your odds for success? For a treestand to fall into the classification of “perfect,” should it not provide a “low-impact” access and exit? Let’s take a look at these issues.
How your enter and exit your treestand area will often determine your success on whitetails.
Often I’ve had a treestand that seemed nearly perfect to me, except for one big problem — by the time that I found my warm body perched in the limbs of my hide, I knew that I had already alerted every deer in the area to my presence! And since we all know that alerted/educated deer don’t make a very good target for bowhunters, is such a spot worth much?
Though often overlooked, access and exit issues are a significant percentage of the overall equation when trying to create the perfect treestand. So what can we do? Oftentimes, not much, and other times — plenty! Let’s consider some options.
I have a certain treestand location that is darn-near perfect. It’s in a great spot, and a common, fair-weather wind is excellent for hunting there. Owing to the fact that a deep, narrow ravine runs right up to the base of the tree, access and exit of the spot is unbeatable! With a south wind blowing down this ravine, virtually no deer in the area have much of a chance of seeing, hearing or smelling me as I enter or exit the location. Further enhancing it’s worth, the deep ravine also acts as a barrier to deer movement downwind of my location. Sound perfect? Well, almost. I have, however, left out one small detail that keeps this treestand from being a “10.” The treestand faces south, so, guess what? — yep, sun issues. Oh well, you’ll not hear me whining much about that little glitch though.
Overcome Stand Access, Exit Issues
I have another treestand location that is darn-near perfect. It’s in a slam-dunk spot for lots of deer movement and can also be hunted with a common, fair-weather wind. Yet because of the fact that access is horrible, the spot has never even came close to living up to its potential. When left at peace, big-antlered bucks fleet to-and-fro through the area — my trail cameras reveal. Yet, when I attempt to hunt the spot under ideal conditions, by the time I get there each morning, I’m certain that I’ve alerted nearly every deer in the area. If I do an all-day vigil, the negative effects of my entrance seem to wear off as the day progresses, and “yes,” I’ve taken some good evening bucks there. I’ve described these setups to illustrate how some places are natural-born masterpieces, while others are tough eggs to crack.
If you alert deer to your presence in the woods on the way into your stand, you will never get a chance to get the string back on one.
A couple of the more common ways that I overcame access and exit issues on troubled treestand locations doesn’t require rocket science, but usually DOES require a good deal of sacrifice and work.
For instance, one excellent treestand that I have, — which appears to have BIG access issues — regularly provides me with good bucks because there is ONE way to beat the system — water access. A nearby creek, some chest waders and slow, patient progress (usually in the dark) provides me a great way to unobtrusively get within 50 yards of my stand. Where there’s a will, there’s (sometimes) a way.
Follow along in the next part of this series, as I elaborate on a few other tricks I sometimes pull out of the hat to gain acceptable access to some of my better treestand locations.
Please read more in Part 6.
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Eddie Claypool provides tips on bowhunting, with an emphasis on whitetails. Claypool has harvested 63 Pope & Young-class recordbook animals including 35 whitetails (Coues included), 16 elk and eight mule deer. All the animals were taken on do-it-yourself hunts.