Getting High for the Hunt

Hunting from a tree stand can put you one up on the game
 
Some successful hunters like to get above it all – in a tree stand. Hunting from on high can provide a good view of the target and a clear shot. But there’s more to it than climbing a tree. Successful tree-stand hunting requires careful planning and the right equipment.
 
Where to Take Your Stand
 
It seems obvious that you would locate your tree stand where game is active, yet too many hunters skip the preliminaries and erect a stand without scouting. So, the first rule is learn the habits of the game, then locate the stand. (For tips on scouting, see our trail cameras article on page 28.)
 
When placing a stand, don’t look for a tree that nicely suits your purpose, look for a site where deer are likely to be active, such as along a trail, near food or where bucks have left scrapes and tree rubs.
 
Once you’ve chosen your hunting ground, mount the stand on a tree that allows a good shot at the target area. Don’t locate upwind from the target site. Locate downwind and at least 30 yards away. The further away from the target you can position yourself, the better, providing you’re in range for a shot.
 
How High is High Enough
 
How far above ground you place your stand depends on some factors. If there are few obstructions to block your view, 10 to 15 feet above the ground is adequate. But if undergrowth extends above that height, you might have to mount your tree stand 20 feet up or higher. It’s all about getting to a position where you can see your target area.
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Covering Up
 
Deer can see, you know, so you should provide cover. One strategy is to locate your stand amidst a group of trees that can shield you. You may have to clear a few branches to open up shooting lanes, but don’t overdo it. And while a duck hunter in the field may wear orange to avoid being shot, you don’t want to do that up in your stand. Camouflage clothing is the order of the day for tree-stand shooters. But keep an orange or red jacket in your equipment bag and put it on before you walk through the woods.
 
Shut Up and Shoot
 
You and your buddy may want to talk about last night’s NFL game. Don’t do it. Deer can not only smell and see, they can hear. And if you start talking sports in their presence, they’re going to hightail it out of there.
 
Selecting a Tree Stand
 
Among the popular tree stands offered at Dunham’s are the one- and two-hunter ladder stands from Big Game Tree stands. Designed to attach simply to a tree, the steel stands consist of a platform with one or two chairs and a ladder. They can be attached to a tree in a matter of minutes, blend well with the tree trunk, and provide a comfortable place to wait out the arrival of Mr. Buck.
 
Conventional steel tree stands from Big Game are similar in design, but come without the attached ladder. They’re available in a variety of sizes. The company also makes a climbing system that can be used with a conventional stand or to help set up a ladder stand.
 
Dunham’s stocks numerous tree-stand products from Rivers Edge Tree Stands. That company’s Twoplex™ Comfort Ladder is an 18-foot, two-hunter stand offering a padded shooting rail, extra-wide ladder and a comfortable mesh seat and backrest.
 
All tree stands come unassembled, but have few parts and go together quickly with common tools.
 
-Deer Abby
 
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