There are many methods you can use when hunting whitetail deer. What is agreed upon by many as the most effective is hunting out of a tree stand. A tree stand gets the hunter off the ground. Out of the line of sight of the deer. Their scent off the ground and blowing away. Increases the hunters field of vision. But more important than just using a tree stand is proper tree stand placement. We are outlining 3 deer stand placement diagrams in the article that follows. You can pick a deer stand placement strategy that follows and apply it to your hunting situation.
Getting the tree stand into the right tree, the right area, or even the right spot in the tree is very important in staying concealed from the deer. First, we will discuss finding the right area to hang your tree stand. A very big trend in deer hunting right now is getting in tight and trying to hunt where a big buck beds down. This is a very deadly tactic and can really help to get you close to those big bucks to get a chance at catching them move through before dark.
Grunt, Snort-Wheeze, and Rattle this to your buddies!
Once you have found where a buck is bedding, now you must know where to set your stand to capitalize on it. My first recommendation is to not hunt over the bed itself. Find the bedding area and back off just a bit, maybe 50 yards to the trail he is using to come into or leave the bed.
As you can see in this diagram the bedding area is outlined and the two tree stand locations are marked. The deer stands are backed off just a little bit on the side that leads to ag field, and on the other side that leads out to a big CRP field. You can hunt either one based on what the buck is doing and the wind. Pushing in too close will bump the buck out of the area before you ever get a chance. Staying out too far will give the buck the chance of slipping out without you ever getting a shot. Find the travel corridors to the bedding and cover. Back off of the bedding area and place your stand in the travel corridor.
Another target location to hang your deer stand is a pinch point. These are little terrain features that funnel the deer through a certain area. Usually there are heavily used trails in these areas and a lot of times lead from bedding to food. Finding these pinch points and setting just off them is a sure-fire way to see a lot of deer and give you ample opportunities for shots especially during the rut.
In this diagram, the tree stand is placed right at the funnel that the deer come out of the bedding (outlined in red) and walk into that agriculture field.
The last area we will discuss is a field edge. These spots are usually right on the edge of an ag field or a CRP field, and they can be very good in the rut or late season. My favorite time to hunt a field edge is late season on an ag field. The deer will funnel to the food and waiting on that edge can give you many shot opportunities.
In the diagram the tree stand on the north side is right on the field edge and is very good for late season.
Now that you have your area picked out, how do you find the right tree? There are many factors that go into this. The first question is what kind of tree stand are you hunting out of? If you are in a ladder stand, you are going to want something relatively straight that doesn’t have a lot of trash around the bottom. These stands are favored by the gun hunters, and bowhunters that like to have a little more of a stability feel to the stand. If you are using a climber, then you will need something that is very straight and has no branches up until the height you want to hunt at. These are great for hunting mobile.
The most versatile however is the hang on stand. A hang on or lock on stand can be used in almost any tree. Giving you the most versatility and comfort to hunt out of. No matter what tree stand you use you need to find the right tree to get setup for the best shot. There are light models that are great for mobile hunting, and there are even models with gun shooting rails on them.
Next you need to find the tree that works best for your stand but is still relative to the area you are trying to hunt. Find the tree that works best for your stand type and is in your designated area. There are several things that tie into what tree you need to choose. The right tree must be able to blend you in very well to keep from being seen.
For many years hunters thought you need to get as high up as you can to stay out of sight. This is wrong, however. If you get up too high you risk being silhouetted. Silhouetting is where you stick off the side of the tree. With nothing to break up your outline with the skyline. Let’s face it, no matter what camo you use, they will not hide your silhouette to those weary deer.
Instead of worrying only about how high you are in the tree. Find the spot in the tree that lets you blend in the best. Make sure the tree has a good number of branches around you. With a solid back drop behind you that breaks up your outline.
One aspect to be carful of when considering a tree with lots of cover. Make sure the stand location gives you ample shooting lanes when Mr. Big decides to step out.
A couple of statements as we wrap up.
These are three options of deer stand placement strategy that you can use to hunt whitetail deer successfully this year. Find the terrain features and travel corridors that deer use. Setup between a food source and a bedding area in the staging area or travel corridor and get ready. We hope the information contained in Whitetail 101 helps you harvest a trophy deer this fall.