Dec 10, 2018

Stand Hunting

Identifying the best location and the best type of stand for the upcoming season

By David Kese

It’s that time of year again, and one of the most important things you will do to achieve success is to pick the right type of stand and the right stand placement.

So how do you pick the right stand and the right spot? If you are hunting private property in an agricultural area on 40 acres, stand placement is probably very simple. On the other hand, if you are tackling vast tracks of public land, stand placement may not be so obvious.

One way to approach it is to put stands in the same places as the year before that work well. Some stands are good year after year. But most of the time you will need to make changes based on current deer movement.

Stand placement

During the last 36 years I have spent 99 percent of my time deer hunting public land in the Northwoods of Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. One thing I have found is the deer are in different areas every year – sometimes unexplainably – but usually they change their areas slightly based on food sources or human interference. Even in agricultural areas, dear movement can vary year after year because of crop rotation or change of preferred food sources.

Both gun and bow stand placement is absolutely critical to success. So how do you decide where to put your stand?

The main factor for me that decides my stand site is trail camera information. The best stand sites can vary throughout the season. A great early-season stand might be very poor in late November and vice versa. A late season stand might be awesome in November or December, but not good at all in September.

So let your cameras dictate where you go. The more stand site options you have, the better your chances of success.

If you don’t have trail cameras or don’t use them, I would highly recommend you start. If that’s not up your alley, then setting up a stand over heavily used trails or over rubs, scrapes and food sources will also work.

What kind of stand?

You’ve picked out your stand sites, and now you must decide what type of stand to use.

I spend the majority of my bow hunting season in a portable tree stand. I love the advantages of a portable tree stand. Your scent is usually carried above the deer, and visibility is much better then in a ground blind. I love being able to see in all directions and to see the deer coming, which gives me a chance to get ready.

Often there is just not a suitable tree in the perfect stand location. This is where a ground blind is the answer.

With a handsaw and clippers, I can set up and brush in a ground blind in a very short time. Take the time to brush in your blind – it makes a huge difference. Bring a hand clippers and simply cut branches from the surrounding area, then tuck them into your blind and lay them on top. If you brush your ground blind in properly, you won’t have to worry about deer getting used to it.

A ground blind also has the advantage of containing your scent, as well as containing your movement. Usually I will just open one or two windows where I expect to get a shot. Make sure the windows behind you are closed so you don’t cast a silhouette.

I also use my Ozonics at all my stand sites and believe it makes a huge difference. Of course, if you are able to hunt private property, hunting out of permanent stands – especially huge box blinds – can make for a comfortable and enjoyable sit. Sitting on an office chair with a heater in below freezing weather will make it easier to sit for extended periods and is a great choice for taking out kids or beginning hunters.

Remember the more options you have, the better chance you have for success. Take the time to set up multiple stand sites and you will hunt more often and enjoy it more.

No matter what type of stand you use, remember all your safety rules and equipment for tree stand hunting. Tree stand hunting can be dangerous. Don’t get complacent and remember when setting up and taking down any tree stand to always have a partner assist you. Always use a harness and all other safety equipment. And always maintain three points of contact when ascending and descending your tree stand – you will never fall if you always maintain three points of contact.

Enjoy your time in stand. The greatest time of year is here!