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Home >> Hunting >> Deer >> Treestand Placement << Back

Where Do I Put My Treestand?

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Of all the preparation a rifle or bowhunter does deer each season, little affects the outcome of his/her season than effective treestand placement and setup. It is critical to the bowhunter because of the obviously limited shooting range capabilities of archery gear. Getting close enough to a deer is the challenge of any sort of deer hunting that must be overcome if the hunter is to harvest a deer for the season and to get a shot at a trophy buck.

Certain stand location will produce consistent results annually. Other treestand sites effectiveness will depend upon local agricultural practices and food availability in the areas you are planning to hunt. Consider, funnels (areas where deer traffic is narrowed from a wide to narrow corridor) and saddles (lower points on ridgelines), stream crossings, farm fields, connecting cover, blowdowns and human traffic can all act as impetus to direct the deer into tighter quarters are good bets for deer traffic every year.

These sort of "deer highways" in the woods are utilized primarily for the advantage of cover they provide and the ease of travel they offer. So a deer's travel patterns are not always linked to food availability alone. Stand sites located along the trails of these traditional “migration routes” can be expected to produce annually, for they are a part of the deer’s daily path.

Placing a variety of treestands along a well traveled will produce many opportunities for you to take the shot. Simply varying the place you hunt each time you hunt means the deer will be unable to pattern you because we're never in the same stand.

Locating treestand sites over preferred food sources are always a good idea. The problem is determining which food source is in demand on any given day. Whitetails have a varied diet and in the early fall when food is plentiful, their diverse palate will often have them bouncing from place to place in search of different foods. For this reason, stand sites that overlook food sources can be either “hotbeds of activity” or practically barren of deer from day to day. As it gets later in the season certain food sources will become more plentiful and you can position yourself in and around these locations

When choosing a stand site that takes advantage of traditional travel routes, it is important to leave the area around the stand undisturbed. Deer are intimately familiar with their surroundings and quick to notice subtle changes in the areas adjacent to these highways. Try to set your stand back off the trail eight to 10 yards and on the side of the tree away from the expected approach route. Put your stand in a tree that offers natural cover in the form of trunk girth or limb placement.

Try not to hang your stands on the sides of bare trees overlooking travel routes. This is a big mistake. All this does is alarms the deer that something in their normal environment has changes and often times will cause them to alter their course of daily travel and put them in “survival mode.” Then you do nothing but end back at square one.

Pick a site that offers you some advantage other than the obvious one of elevation. Often times placement along a hard curve in the trail, a creek crossing, a steep grade or any other natural obstacle the deer must negotiate as it travels along a trail can be a big advantage to the hunter. When a deer moves along a trail it normally browses or meanders, stopping frequently to survey its surroundings. When it approaches an obstacle, its attention will be diverted to the obstacle along the trail, putting you in the right spot to make the shot.

Also another tactic is to think "probability". Pick the convergence of two or three trails or get near the corner of a field or transition zone. But make sure you don't set up right on top of the suspected travel route. Get back 10 or 15 yards and try to have enough other trees and branches to break up your outline. And try to stay out of their line of sight. Your movement is much easier to spot if they are coming right at you or are on the high ground.

Placing stands over food sources is a common tactic of bowhunters. Grain fields, orchards, food plots or oak ridges heavy with mast crops are favorites. When selecting sites for these stands, consider the prevailing wind directions and favorite bedding locations. Then, it is a simple matter of observing the field or feeding area and ascertaining which trails the deer use to enter and leave.

Wherever you end up putting your stand consider the location a temporary scouting spot. If you see no action after three or four hunts move or lay off until the travel patterns change in that stands favor movement and activity in the direction of it. Paying attention to detail when selecting your treestand locations will pay off in more and closer encounters with more opportunities at a trophy buck

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