The Time Is Now To Fine Tune Your Tree Stand Location
August is always a good time to get ready for the upcoming deer season. Looking for new setups and retooling old stand locations is something I have always enjoyed. Trying to figure out wind direction months in advance, finding the proper height and the right tree, tree diameter are just a handful of things one needs to put together a game plan for the fall.
We all have our favorites areas. Whether you’ve found success at a certain hunting site, or you just simply love the view from a particular knob, it’s enough to keep you coming back. Factors like easy access, forgiving winds, being in the middle of picturesque country and a high success rate help cement that love affair.
Unfortunately, playing favorites can hinder your success rate and create hunting pressure. With repeated exposure to a specific area, wild game can pattern your actions with incredible proficiency.
Here are some ideas that we have developed that will help your strategy, allow you to have continued hunting success and allow you to never give up the freedom to enjoy your favorite hunting sites.
Animals focused on survival are acutely aware of their surroundings. Despite taking great precaution to eliminate scent, reduce noise and cloak your movements, you will undoubtedly leave evidence of your presence, like vehicle activity and residual scent.
Use various access routes to avoid leaving scent trails and to accommodate wind variables. Doing so will make it more difficult for wild game to identify a single pattern.
The simplest answer is rotation, although it may not be the easiest depending on your property situation. Ideally, you simply have to hunt different areas.
This can be a simple as hunting a different piece of property or different food source. While some of us don’t spend the amount of preseason scouting time in the woods as we would like, we will have to make adjustments during the season.
To ensure the big game you’re pursuing can’t pattern you or your favorite vantage point, consider the following: Work hard to secure another location or two so you can rotate between them. Leave a site alone for a weekend. Visit the different properties on a rotational schedule or simply base it on what site works best for the day’s wind.
In certain public areas, hunters are forced to park at marked access gates, causing wildlife to pattern the hunting flow going to and from these areas. Find at least two routes (if not more) in and out of your favorite spot.
If you must hunt the same area over and over again, vary the sounds you use to call animals and vary the use of decoys. You can mix up your approach, too. For instance, go from calling to stand hunting.
There’s nothing wrong with playing favorites, unless you do it with such frequency that every wild animal in the area knows your playbook. Mix it up, and your success will increase.
For years I have been huge fan of not over-hunting a stand for more than two settings. Keeping these flexible, different locations will do many things for your season. Use the theory of not over hunting; letting a stand/location rest for three days seems to work for us in the last few years. Of course, stand locations have to be huntable in regards to the travel patterns. This is tough when we are hanging stands in July and August. I use the following general rule: if you have to travel a trail that is going to be affected by summer winds, then do just the opposite, because the wind will be 180 degrees opposite in the fall.