What’s Your Stand On Stands?

Hanging stands, climbing stands, ladder stands, homemade stands, shooting towers, ground blinds, or just an old bucket against a mighty oak? With so many options, what’s a hunter to do? This is the time of year we need to finalize our choices, get these stands set up, and finalize all the details for our “perfect set up”. Today, I want us fellow hunters to help each other get our own perfect set up. Please share with all of us your experiences, the things that have worked, or not worked, in your set ups.

For myself, here are some of the things that I look for, and do, in an effort to get my perfect set up. Stand placement is like real estate, it’s all about location, location, location. Close to the food, not to close to the sanctuary bedding areas, the “right trail”, and so on. After finding the right location and confirming that with the use of trail cameras, see “Hot Summer Whitetails” from last month, I play the wind.

Deer traversing a bowl where the winds swirl Wind and Stand Location

I don’t care how well you bathed, deodorized, washed and contained your clothes, and sprayed down, I believe you always have and always will have to play the wind. Set up your stands so the wind is always in your face. I have a saying, “If you can feel the wind on your back, you’re probably not going to see any racks”. If you use hangers or ladder stands, and that trail is that “hot”, set up stands on both sides of the trail for wind options.

Sun’s Glare

Next, I play the sun. I always look for a setup that will keep me or put me in the shade as much as possible. This isn’t about trying to be comfortable; this is about making sure I don’t have a spotlight on me, or I can’t take the shot I want because the sun is glaring in my eyes.

Background Cover for Stand Placement

Then I evaluate my backdrop. This is very important if you are hunting edges of open fields. If you have a trail leading out to a crop field or food plot, and you plan to hunt it in the afternoon when the deer will be making their way to that food source, please make sure your set up is deep enough in the woods that you don’t outline yourself against the sky. Any of you that have had a deer close to your stand staring up at you, know how important this is.

When this is all done and I find that perfect tree, the stand goes up. Once my stands are up, there are 3 things I address from the seat. Obviously shooting lanes is a big one. Make sure you know where the deer should be coming from, and trim enough branches to allow numerous opportunities for a shot. I like to leave the branches under me and behind me a bit thicker the try to create a bit more cover for when that unexpected deer pops out of nowhere.

shed hunting late in the year Silence is Golden

Next is noise. If I had a nickel for all the times my stand squeaked, or a bow limb tapped to stand, and the game was over, man oh man. Make sure your stands are silent. Do they make noise when you sit down, or stand up to stretch your legs? If so, fix it now. I also like to add plumbing pipe padding to areas of the stand that I, or my bow, might accidently bump into. This is very cheap insurance against unexpected noise. Last, but the most important, safety.  Do you know that tree stand accidents are the number 1 cause of injury or death in hunting sports? It has even passed gun accidents. So please make sure you are set up safe so you can hunt more than just that one day.

So, that’s how I find my perfect setup, how about you? Oh, and if anyone was wondering, I own all of these types of stands, except a tower, but ladder stands are my favorite. Have fun, and if you would like to enjoy the view from one of our stands at Harpole’s Heartland Lodge this deer season, give me a call or drop me an email and I will be happy to arrange that for you.

Interested in a whitetail hunt? Click here for more information! 

Kirk T. McKeown

Last Updated: September 8th, 2022

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