Treestand placement is the single most important thing when it comes to hunting whitetails from a stand. To close you could get busted. To far and you may be out of range. Finding the perfect spot is determined by many factors. Those factors will lead you to the right location. Once you are in the right location, the odds of getting that golden opportunity go WAY up! So how do you get yourself in the right spot for the golden opportunity?
Find the Deer!
If you are on a new piece of ground you can’t do anything until you determine where the deer are. Start by determining the food sources, bedding, and transition area’s. Once you have located these locations look for sign. Look for rubs, trails, beds, and of course deer! Rubs can be one of the best type’s of sign you can find. An area with lots of rubs indicate’s that there was bucks there during the fall. That means the chance that they will be there again is highly likely. You will want to be thinking about the areas that the deer use and when they will be there. Lets say for instance you have located an alfalfa field with lots of deer feeding in the field. This would be a great location to target in the earlier part of the season. Later on in October deer will abandon this food source. It is imperative to understand where the deer will be and why. Going back to the alfalfa scenario. Lets say you choose to put a stand right on the edge of the field where the deer come out of a small funnel in the corner. How will you get out? Will the deer be able to see you? Do they move over a hill? Will they smell you once they get into the field? Will you bust all the deer when it gets dark? If you can’t get out of the stand without busting the entire field it may not be the best stand choice.
Plan Your Attack
Once you have found the deer and located a place you would like to hang a treestand, its time to plan your attack. This is the most important part when it comes to proper stand placement. We need to ask ourselves several questions to make sure we put ourselves in the best position possible. These are some of the questions you should ask yourself.
How will the deer use this area?
Is this a morning stand, evening stand, both?
Can I to and from the stand without busting lots of deer?
What wind do I need to hunt this location?
Will this tree have enough cover on it when the leaves die?
Will I have good shooting lanes?
When you ask yourself these questions it will allow you to make sure you are thinking about any issues that may arise. All of these things will certainly come into play in the fall. One of the number one things you will want to think about is the wind. Do your best to understand what the wind will do in your location and how it will effect your hunt.
Choose Your Weapon!
When I say “choose your weapon” I am referring to the type of stand you plan to set up. When it comes to treestands, we have lots of choices. Ladder stands, climbers, hang ons, double ladders. Lots of choices! How do you know which one is the best? It is tough to say one specifically is the best. When it comes to snugging something into a tight spot I love hang on’s. Personally hang on’s are my favorite, HAWK Helium to be specific. I love hang on’s for a few reasons. They sit tight to the tree, it is easy to get next to the tree and blend in. You can get them in several locations on a tree including awkward spots. Once you know how to use them they are quick and easy to set up. They are very mobile, you can get through the woods and to a new spot without much resistance.
Ladders are great for the fact that they are relatively easy to set up with two people. They are very stout and easy to get into. They are great to place in locations that you will likely want a stand for in following years as well. Ladders are great to introduce young kids or people who have difficulty getting in and out of stands.
Climbers, I have not used many climbers personally. Where I live it is difficult to find a tree that is either straight enough or does not have limbs in the way to be able to climb. In other locations climbers can be great. You can be very mobile and quick with a good climbing set up. Many people choose climbers so that they can quickly and easily switch locations.
Make sure the stand fits your needs. The right stand goes a long way in tough situations. Whether you choose a ladder or a hang on, make sure you are comfortable with the stand and take all safety precautions.
Picking the right stand location will take time and effort. You will also need to make adjustments. Very rarely will you put a stand in a location and its the perfect spot on the first try. Pay attention to what the deer do and adjust!