Ever have that feeling, 6:15-6:30 am. It’s pitch black out. You KNOW you put your stand on this corner of the woods by the fallen tree but you can’t find it. Hopefully you hunker down where ever you are and wait for a little light to come into the sky where you can spot your stand. Also hopefully it’s only a tree or two away from you.
When you think in those dark moments as the sun comings up, and you’ve made it into that tree, did I make the right choice for my stand this year? It can take years to correct and hone your stand location.
First off, is woods selection. Are the woods you’re hunting in filled with an ample selection of deer? Or if not is there a nice buck to doe ratio? Are they thick or thin? Can you see from one end two the other, or at least 200 yards?
Once you’ve selected your woods based on fullness and population size then you need to select your stand location. What is outside your woods? Food plots, corn field, roads? How far away is the nearest house or structure? You want to make sure that the deer will pass you at some point to go to the areas around you, preferably a field.
Now you know the wood selection and the area you want to be near but the placement in the woods can be tricky. Are there well beaten trails? Is there coverage for wind? Are there decent trees? The last one I think is the most important because we can get some heavy wind coming into December, so the trees need to be stable.
The last thing you need to do is test drive your stand. Are you going to do a semi permanent ladder stand or a backpack carrier stand? If you’re doing the semi permanent stand then early summer is the best time to install it. Make sure that the animals are not spooked to close to season and this way you can also check on it throughout the summer and early fall to see what kind of activity your area will be getting. If you’re doing a backpack stand you can wait until your morning of to walk to your perfect tree.
The season has come and you’re sitting up in a tree. It’s the rut, or opening day, or any day really and the weather is perfect for you location. How do you feel? Are you happy with your location? Are you seeing the activity that you want? If yes, great!! You’ve found a prime spot that will hopefully bring you a monster buck or excellent doe this season and many more to come. If not, don’t just give up on this one day. Try a second or a third day. Deer may change patterns or get spooked into your woods during different parts of the season. Reevaluate and look around to see where the activity is in the woods. Then plan your spring and summer relocation and start the “stand steps” over.
I go through this thought every opening day. Is this a prime location? Has it been tried and true to me over the years. Living on a farm and hunting for over half of my life most of my stands I sit in year after year with few changes. One year I did walk into the “where did my stand go” situation. Which is another story for another day.
What are your tried and true stand locating tips? Do you change yearly? Use a semi-permanent or a back pack style stand? Each hunter is different in their locations and woods so the tips may vary but if you think you have an excellent one that has worked for you year over year lets hear it! I’m always willing to learn and try new ideas in my hunting style and preparations.