Treestand 0002

As white-tailed deer move into the late rut and post rut period they change her feeding habits and behavior. Successful deer hunters should change their tactics as well.  This is especially true of treestand placement.

The latter part of deer season for bowhunters and the start of firearms seasons is a time to move back into deep cover of woods, swamps, farmland sloughs, river bottoms and thick stands of cattails.

Big bucks will stay there and not go out to feed with does and yearlings. At this time the rigors of the rut and dodging hunters wears them out.  They seek isolated locations to rest up.  They find the nastiest, thickest cover around and stay there.  Hunters have to go in there too if they want a big buck.

During the rut, a stand over a breeding scrape is a good bet. All scrapes are not breeding scrapes.  They differ in both size and location.

Breeding scrapes are usually 2 to 4-feet in diameter and normally found in heavy cover with an overhanging bush or tree limb. Deer muddy the scrape with deer urine and leave tracks in it.

Territorial scrapes are smaller and made in more open areas. They usually are located at the corners of wooded areas or along grain or alfalfa field edges.

To hunt a breeding scrape, locate the stand downwind of the scrape about 20-yards and high up a tree. As the buck approaches a scrape he usually does so from downwind.  Do not go anywhere near the scrape so as to avoid contaminating it with human scent.

After selecting the area for the stand it is time to pick the exact location. Try to predict what the deer sees and where he will travel as he passes the stand location.

Placement of a stand should be in natural surroundings. Use available materials to camouflage you and the stand.  If there is a chance a rising or setting sun might outline you forget that location.  You could sit there all season and not see a deer.

Bowhunters especially need a clear shot as a single twig can deflect an arrow and ruin the chance at that buck of a lifetime. Tailor the spot to meet the need for clear shooting alleys by tying back branches and brush more open in the areas you thin a shot will present itself.  Remember later to untie the branches and leave the woods the way you found it.  This is better than cutting branches for cover or for stands.

Choose a stand location that you can get into and out of with a minimum of disruption to the surroundings. Plan your path to the stand so that it will not encounter a trail along which a deer might travel.  It is important that deer not know you are in the area.  If possible enter the area with the wind in your face.

A tree in a clump of trees is better than one more open no matter how good the shooting lanes. A pine tree with some limbs cut away works well as long as you are conscious of what the deer will see from ground level.  Even better is just tying back the limbs so that when you are done with the stand, the string can be cut and the go back to the original place without damage to the tree.

Remember that you will be in the stand for a long time. Think about your comfort and ability to remain still.  People have different levels of tolerance for discomfort.  Judge your stand according to yours.

Once the stand is in place, you might have to move it in order to fine tune it. If you do, then do not use it for a few days so that the deer become accustomed to its presence.  You might even place a gunnysack full of leaves in it so that they become use to seeing a shape in it.  Later remove the sack and replace it with you.

Think like a deer when considering treestand placement. It is hard work but pays dividends during hunting season.


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