EARLY SEASON TREESTAND PLACEMENT   Leave a comment

Jay Everrett 4

Successful white-tailed deer bowhunting here in the Midwest is particularly dependent upon intelligent placement of tree stands.

The primary thing to remember about treestand locations is that they be flexible. That is, a stand placement in the early part of the season can be right then but totally wrong later in the season. If carefully chosen a strand can be red hot even in a heavily pressured hunting area.

A stand placed on an escape route in a heavily hunted area gives the bowhunter all kinds of action. You are allowing other hunters to drive deer toward your position.

Pre-season scouting aids in locating deer during the first part of the season. Their trail toward a feeding area can be located and a stand placed near it. At the very beginning of the hunting season, deer are not as easily spooked as later in the year. Therefore, a stand located near open areas works well. However, a few days into the hunting season and deer, particularly big bucks, change their feeding habits. They come to open feeding areas much later, usually after dark. At this point it is time to move to another stand location.

Some hunters move 20 to 30-yards back into heavy cover along the same trail to the feeding area and about 15-yards to the side and downwind. Big bucks seldom walk directly on game trails but will follow it off to the side. If the hunter is downwind from the usual prevailing wind, the chance of deer smelling him is less.

Bucks tend to hang back from does and yearlings. As the does move into the open, the bucks tend to stay in the heavy woods until darkness conceals them completely. If the hunter is there he is set to take him.

The hottest area to stake out is a crossing. This is a place where deer have to cross to get from their daytime bedding or resting area to the nighttime feeding location. Being a prey animal, a deer is nervous by nature and will stay concealed as long as possible while traveling.

Crossings are where the edges of two or more types of cover meet. As an example, a point of woods extends out into an open field that in turn touches a grain field. The deer are likely to cross along the wooded portion closest to the grain field. In this way they remain hidden for a maximum amount of time as they enter an open area.

Deer wait until the last possible moment to expose themselves in the open.

This is why they are often observed moving along drainage ditches, fence rows and fingers of woods that extend out into agricultural fields. If this situation is present, a good stand placement is on the thicker side of the heavy cover.

Crossing areas are particularly good stand locations because deer also use them as escape routes to safety when startled. If a hunter is in an area with other hunters, being in at a crossing can be quite productive.

Regardless of whether you are making your own stand or placing a commercially made one, you need to use your head to think like a deer. It is work, hard work, but pays big dividends during the early hunting season.

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