How To: Mobile Hunting Setups for Success

Mobile Hunting Gear

There are many ways to chase whitetails from sits in treestands and ground blinds, bow hunting or gun hunting, the ways to go about it are endless. That’s the beauty of whitetail hunting–you can figure out a system and a style of hunting that works for you and go at it. One style currently on the rise is “mobile hunting”, which allows you to continually move around without the hassle that typically comes with moving a stand.  

What is Mobile Hunting?

Basically, mobile hunting is simply hunting with some type of lightweight system that allows you to continually move around. It’s for the hunter that likes to consistently setup on fresh sign, not wear areas out, and capitalize on any hunting opportunity that comes their way.  

Mobile hunters are constantly setting up and tearing down, which is why having a lightweight system is essential. They may hang a stand first thing in the morning, hunt until a few hours, tear down, and find a new spot by afternoon.  

There are a variety of set ups out there to get you started with mobile hunting. Among them include climbing stands, light hang-ons, and climbing sticks and saddles—each set up coming with their own pros and cons. 

How To: Mobile Hunting Setups for Success 1

Setting Yourself Up for Success

Mobile hunting is a great tactic for a few different reasons. First of all, it allows you to hunt what’s hot right now. When it comes to having a bunch of set stands, you often fall into a pattern of waiting for areas to get good. But with mobile hunting, you can attack right now. You can toss a stand on your back, scout, and when you find the hot sign, set up on it. After your hunt, you can assess what you saw, and then make another move the next sit.  

Hunting this way is also great because it allows you to keep areas fresh. Again, when it comes to hunting set stands, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of hunting a stand again and again. By doing this, you can easily burn areas out. But with a mobile hunting setup, you’re continually moving and keeping areas fresh.  

Additionally, when you’re hunting with a mobile setup, by default you tend to hunt more aggressively. If you see a mature buck do something out of range, the next sit you can make a move and put yourself into position to be successful. You can get aggressive, because if you make a move and press in too far and ultimately bump that buck, you don’t have to go to the same tree the next day. You can make another move based on what you believe the buck might be doing after getting bumped. And if you think you spooked the deer out of the county, you can head into an all new area the next sit.  

Mobile Hunting Challenges

Pulling off mobile hunting isn’t a walk in the park. You have to become proficient at it, because often times you are hanging a set in the dark or pulling sets in the dark. There needs to be a good balance between speed and quietness. When it comes to climbers, if that’s the route you end up going, look for the lightest climber you can find. It’s not necessarily about being big and roomy. You might be hiking a long way with that on your back. Once you get one, practice with it, and get comfortable.  

Mobile Hang-on Treestands

When it comes to a hang-on stand, you want to get a lightweight stand and sticks—like the Hawk Helium XL Hang-on stand. It weighs only 12lbs and is built for portable, run-n-gun hunters. It’s important to have a lightweight hang on, because this will not only make carrying it in easier, but it also will be much easier to physically setup. When it comes to climbing sticks to combine with a hang on stand, the helium sticks are a great option. These only weigh 2.9lbs per stick and stack very nicely to make hauling them in a breeze. With this setup, you’ve got many options on how you can pack them in, given what kind of pack you have, etc. They are very versatile, and you can get into almost any kind of tree easily.

How To: Mobile Hunting Setups for Success 3 helium xl hang on

Saddles for Mobile Hunting and Platforms

And there are the saddles. These have come increasingly popular over the last few years and will be your lightest weight option. These are perfect for the mobile hunter that consistently has very long walks into the tree. When using a saddle, you have many different options for what kind of steps to use to get up to your desired height in the tree. The helium sticks can play the perfect role for this, given their ultra-light weight. If you are looking for a lightweight saddle hunting platform that doesn’t break the bank, the hangout tree seat might be something to look into. 

How To: Mobile Hunting Setups for Success hang out tree seat 4

Lightweight Climbing Stands

When it comes to choosing your preferred method of pulling off a mobile hunting setup, look at your style of hunting, and the areas you hunt. What makes the most sense? If you hunt big wide-open timber with short walks, it might be a lightweight climber. Climbers are easy and quick systems to handle for mobile and even public land hunting. One stand can take you just about anywhere if you are hunting heavy timber.

How To: Mobile Hunting Setups for Success 4 ultra lite climber

When it comes to mobile hunting, it can take the right level of commitment for it to be successful. But once you go at it full force, not only can it produce very successful hunting, it can be a lot of fun. You’ll consistently be hunting new spots, with scenery always changing, and it can lead you to some of the best hunting you might experience.  

How to Pack out a Public Land Deer

Packing out a whitetail on Public Land

Public land hunting can be intimidating for a variety of reasons–from hunting pressure, lower number of deer, large tracts of land that can be difficult to scout, the list goes on. A lot of public land is only available via foot travel, which can create issues in itself. Mainly, long walks to the stand also mean what feels like a longer drag out when you’re successful. So how do you go about packing out a whitetail on public land, especially when you’re a mile or even further back? While a number of options are available to aid in your drag, one of the easiest lies with the HAWK Crawler Multi-Use Cart

How it Works

The Crawler brings an amazing level of strength, stability, and versatility to the deer cart world. With dual rotating axels and four all-terrain tires, the Crawler makes any obstacle in your path nothing but a bump along the way. Often times, old logging roads further than a half a mile in on public land are littered with downed trees, overgrown brush, and other terrain that can make a drag out extremely difficult. The Crawler’s construction results in the ultimate balance and weight management, preventing shifting and tipping allowing you to cross creeks, downed trees, and other obstacles with ease. Once you’ve gotten your trophy safely out, the Crawler folds up compactly, making transportation and storage a breeze. 

The Deer Crawler Put To Use

Imagine this. You’re hunting a big piece of public land an hour from the house on a Sunday night. You have to work early in the morning, but the weather is perfect for a sit in the stand. It’s roughly a mile hike back into your spot. You’ve got numerous hills you have to hike over, and it’s what you’d consider a heck of a walk back to where you know the mature bucks are most likely to appear in daylight.  

After getting back to your stand, you get all setup. The thought goes through your head that if you do take down a buck, it’s going to be a long night– you’re an hour from the house, and it takes a solid twenty to thirty minutes to hike out of your stand. Dragging a buck out of here would be next to impossible, even if your good hunting buddy is able to make it out to help you. But, you remember that your Crawler from Hawk is in the back of your truck, because you keep it in there most of the fall for instances like this. That eases your mind just a bit. The night goes by and right at sunset, a mature eight pointer makes a mistake and gets out of his bed just a little early that night. He comes by you at twenty yards and you’re able to make a perfect shot. Now, with thirty minutes left before dark, you’ve got some decisions to make on how to execute this recovery.  

You call your hunting buddy and tell him the news. He’s able to come help you track and recover the buck, so that makes you feel better about how the night is going to go. You decide to wait the thirty minutes to dark, and then go check the point of impact. At dark, you go over to your arrow and it looks great. You decide to mark the spot and then walk out to your vehicle. By then, an hour will have passed, and your buddy should be arriving to your location.

Now comes the easy part. Your buddy shows up, the two of you grab the cart, and the two of you head back in. You go back to the point of impact, track the buck, and find him. Instead trying to map out the easiest drag back to the vehicle, you load him up on the Crawler and head out. Within an hour, you’re back to the car with your buck and it couldn’t have gone smoother. You’ll get home in time for a good night’s sleep and make it to work in the morning just fine. At the end of the day, the Crawler not only saved you time, but it saved your back and legs too! 

Conclusion 

Moral of the story, public land hunting hosts an array of challenges and often leads to long drag outs once you land that perfect shot. It can be a real pain to have to drag a deer through thick brush, across a creek, or up and down uneven terrain. The Crawler makes these worries a thing of the past, and lets you enjoy the hunt, without having to consider the downside of taking down a buck on your hit list way back in on public land.  

Treestand Safety Month | Hunting Your Stands This Year Safely and Successfully

Treestand Safety 101: Tips to Hunt Treestands Successfully

Hunting out of treestands is one of the most popular ways to deer hunt across the U.S. There’s all kind of treestands, ranging from climbing stands to hang-on stands, and ladder stands of all sorts. The most important part of hunting from a treestand though is safety, above all else. The last thing you want to happen is to have an accident because of improper treestand use. Today, we’re going to talk a little bit about treestand safety, and the different safety precautions you can take to ensure a successful trip up a tree and back down every time.

Hanging Stands

Some of the most common ways to fall from a treestand are not while you’re hunting, but when you’re hanging a stand. Hanging stands can no doubt be more dangerous than hunting from them. When hanging treestands, a lot of time hunters are trying to do it quickly, and for various reasons, it can create opportunities to fall out of the tree if you aren’t using safety precautions. Whether you want to get in and out fast or are in a rush because you’ve got to hang multiple stands in a day, a lot of time you are trying to do it quick. A major tool you should be using is a safety harness and lineman’s belt. A lineman’s belt connects to your safety harness at your waist, goes around the tree and then connects to the other side of your waist. This allows you to lean back and use both hands while hanging your sticks and stand. You simply slide the lineman’s belt up the tree as you get higher, hang a set of sticks, slide it up the tree and repeat until you get to your stand. You never have to worry about holding on to the tree with one hand and doing the rest with the other. We’ve probably all been there, trying to prop up a stand against a branch or your leg or something else. Spend the small amount of money and make sure you have a good hunting safety harness and linemen’s belt, it can and will save you from falling while hanging a stand.

Hunting

Every time you hunt from a treestand, wearing a safety harness shouldn’t even be a question to you. There are so many great hunting safety harnesses out there now a days, and you can get light, comfortable ones that you barely notice. If you’re not wearing a safety harness every single time you get into a stand, you should change that right now.  

And to take things to the next level, once you have a stand all set, there are products out there that allow you to be clipped in from the ground up. Hawk Treestand’s makes one of the best out there, the safety line. A safety line goes around the tree above where your stand is and has a thick rope that goes all the way to the ground and you tie it off at the base of the tree. It then has prussic knots where you clip in to. As you climb your stand, you slide up the prussic knot which you’re clipped in to, therefore keeping you attached at all times. Should you slip and fall climbing up the tree or into your stand, the prussic knot will cinch and keep you from falling to the ground. Once again, every stand that you have set and ready for the season would highly benefit from you having a safety line with each setup.

Treestand Safety Conclusion  

At the end of the day, deer hunting is something that most of us love to do, and it’s fun for us. We should do everything we can in our power to make sure that when you head out for a hunt from a treestand, that you’ll return safe. People have become seriously injured or even worse because of an accident from a treestand. Taking the necessary steps to prevent this is crucial. Whether it be a safety harness, lineman’s belt, safety line, taking more time when hanging a stand, etc. there are multiple things you can do to ensure your safety when either hanging or hunting from a treestand. Deer hunting is awesome, and we want to be able to experience it for as long as possible. Don’t let an accident take that away from you.  

Getting The Most Out of Your Hang-On Treestand

Multiple Uses For Your Hang-on Treestand

As a deer hunter, there are countless different ways in which you can go about hunting. Ground blinds, permanent stands, saddles, climbers and of course hang-on treestands. Where hang-on treestands have an advantage over other types of hunting is you can use hang on stands in a variety of ways. Most notably are through the uses of running and gunning or setting up a given property with multiple hang on stands, or even a combination of both. Depending on what kind of scenario you will find yourself in can also determine what kind of stand you might want to use.

Running and Gunning Tactics

Running and gunning or being a mobile hunter is a great scenario in which to use a hang on treestand. When doing so, you want to make sure you have the correct stand though. Lugging around a big and bulky stand won’t cut it with this type of hunting. Having a smaller, slimmer stand is what you’ll want to use when running and gunning. This is where having a stand such as the Hawk Combat stand can play a big factor. Sporting a platform size of 21×27”, it’s big enough to be comfortable, all the while being small enough to be packable for any kind of running and gunning hunt.

When utilizing the running and gunning style of deer hunting, often times you’ll have a spot picked out on a map, or a general location in mind. What this can mean, is you may not know exactly where you’ll be setting up or what kind of tree it will be, etc. Because of this, it’s even more important to have a lightweight stand such as the Hawk Combat. Not only do you want a lightweight stand, you will also want one you can trust. When running and gunning, you can be put in a multitude of scenarios, including hunting close to buck bedding and all day sits during the rut. In these situations, you want a stand that is quiet, sturdy and comfortable, which the combat stand provides.

When it comes to running and gunning, it is one of the most popular uses for a hang on treestand. The hang on stand gives you the ability to be mobile and a flexible deer hunter. If you are a public land hunter, someone who likes to save money, or simply an aggressive hunter that doesn’t like to sit in the same tree again and again, consider investing in a stand such as the Hawk Combat to be your running and gunning partner.

Having Multiple Hang on Stands

Another great use for hang on treestands is through the use of setting up multiple stands on a given property. Whether you are someone who owns a big tract of land and wants to set it up just how you want for multiple different hunting situations, or if you operate an outfitter, having multiple hang on stands setup throughout your property can be a big deal for many different reasons.

By having multiple hang on stands setup on your hunting property, you can set it up to tailor how you want to hunt. You can set up multiple stands for certain wind directions, as well as for morning hunts or evening hunts. You can have stands setup for early season, rut hunts and late season. By having all of your stands setup and ready to go, what it allows you to do is have options to choose from, and when the time comes to hunt, you can look at all of the conditions that are present and make a decision as to what stand to hunt. This is especially nice if you share a hunting property with others and need a lot of setups.

When you are going the route of having multiple hang on stands to set up a given property, you can afford to have a bigger, roomier platform. Since you won’t be hauling the stand in when you hunt, the bigger platform can make your sits much more comfortable. This is where a stand such as the Hawk Mega Combat shines. Coming in with a platform size of 24×30’, the mega combat stand provides you with a little extra room. When using multiple stands on a property such as in this scenario, you can hang the stands over time in the off-season allowing you to use a bit of a bigger stand. When you are running and gunning, the smallest stand possible is usually preferred since you are hauling it on your back every time you hunt. But when it comes to using many stands and setting them up at a pre-determined time, having the extra room can be useful for a couple different reasons. Not only is it more comfortable, but they can be great for setting up for others. Some people need a bigger platform, whether that is because of their size or comfortability issues. Either way, if you know others will be sitting the stands you setup, having a bigger platform can be a big plus.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, you want to have the right stand for your style of hunting. The nice thing about hang-on stands is they can suit multiple hunting situations. If you are a mobile hunter and love to run and gun, a small and slim hang-on stand is a great option. You can still be comfortable in the tree while not having to haul in anything too heavy. And if you have a bigger hunting property where you can setup multiple stands, having a hang-on stand with a nice sized platform can be a great way to go. It all comes down to your style and preferences. No matter which way you go, or what scenario a hang on stand is useful to you, Hawk has a selection that can fit your needs. If you want to learn more about the Combat series of stands, head over to our YouTube Channel to check them out.

Tips for Picking Up Velvet Bucks on Your Trail Cameras

Want More Trail Camera Pictures of Velvet Bucks?

While some folks enjoy the activities that summer offers, many of us are also keeping an eye on the horizon. We know full well what’s to come. Before we can kick back in a tree stand again, though, it’s nice to keep tabs on the local deer with trail cameras. The problem is that when we get the perfect trail camera picture of velvet bucks hanging around, it’s pretty much game over in our minds as far as summer is concerned. But what if you’re not getting any pictures of deer in velvet? Does that mean you have no bucks on your property and that you should just pick up golf instead? Not necessarily. Here are some tips for you to get the most pictures of velvet bucks without putting pressure on them or going crazy in the meantime.

Understanding Velvet Bucks

If you have a farm or are frequently on the property you hunt, it’s likely that you get to see deer fairly regularly as you go through various summer preparation steps. During the summer, bucks have one primary goal, which is to eat as much food as possible. All the extra calories in this time of surplus fuels body growth and antler development. Bucks often hang out in bachelor groups during the summer, which has a few advantages for them. Having more eyes helps detect predators, but it also helps bucks in velvet to learn their place in the social hierarchy before it becomes an issue worth fighting about in the fall. Bachelor group bucks are also nice for trail camera purposes because it concentrates their movement patterns and increases the chance of you seeing a few on camera. Whitetail deer antlers can look so impressive when they’re growing and covered in velvet, but it’s even better when you manage to get pictures of a few of them!

During this time period, bachelor bucks often hang around high quality food sources, such as big agricultural fields, lush food plots, or openings with lots of tender regrowth. You can often find them coming out to feed throughout the day rather than just at night like they did last November. Ideally, it benefits them to eat as much as possible and move as little as possible so they can devote the most calories (and ultimately energy) into body and antler growth. As a result, they also typically bed fairly close to food sources.

How to Target Velvet Bucks

If you’re specifically looking to get more pictures of whitetail deer in velvet, you will need to be a little cautious about how you do it. While bucks are much more forgiving this time of year than in the fall, they will still get camera-shy if you’re constantly out on their turf switching things up and spreading the scent of humans everywhere. Here are some tips on where to put your trail cameras, how to access those locations, and how to set up your camera so you get the best-looking pictures.

Where to Put Cameras

As mentioned above, velvet bucks spend most of their time feeding and loafing nearby. Soybean fields are especially attractive and nutritious this time of year, as are summer food plot mixes or young forest regrowth. If there’s a large sumac grove or some mature shaded woods adjacent to the field or food plot, all the better for a buck to escape the summer sun. And if you also have a natural water source (e.g., creek, pond, etc.) or a buried tub that holds water, you can bet that velvet bucks will work that location into their daily rounds too as they stay hydrated. When you get to the access point (discussion below), look for trails coming into field corners or going past shaded spots with water, and you should find some evidence of deer in velvet using that location.

How to Access Camera Locations

This is where many people often go wrong. Thinking they can do absolutely no harm to spook deer in the summer, they charge right out into some of these best spots and toss a camera up, while sweating profusely and touching every tree as they go. Bucks can be forgiving, but mature bucks aren’t stupid either. They can quickly put a pattern together and learn to avoid a spot if they feel like they are being pressured.

To avoid that issue, you need to be a little more covert. Start by glassing fields for a few nights. Try to figure out exactly where the velvet bucks are entering and exiting the fields. Once you get the general idea, go in during the middle of the day when bucks are likely resting nearby. Put on some rubber boots (yes, you will get hot) and avoid touching vegetation as much as you can. Try to be as quiet as possible since bucks might bed within 50 yards of the field edge in the right conditions. Then slip back out as quietly as you can. If you do this right, you can still sneak back in and adjust the camera if need be.

Trail Camera Tips

Although new trail cameras are capable of taking very high quality pictures (including the Ghost Cam HD 16 or Ghost Cam HD 20), you need to set them up correctly to get the best looking ones. Start by positioning your camera so it is not directly facing into the sun throughout the day. While you can get some cool shots at dawn and dusk, most of your pictures will likely look washed out. If possible, keep it in a shaded location just off of the field edge because pictures in the shade turn out much better. Also, position your camera so it is facing the direction of deer travel. For example, if you find a lot of tracks going into the field from the woods, try facing your camera away from the field so you can get pictures of deer approaching. This gives the camera more time to trigger than if it were facing directly perpendicular to the trail, and it gives you a better view of their velvet antlers than if they were walking away.

Don’t Be Afraid to Change

If you go through the steps above and still don’t capture any pictures of velvet bucks, there are likely two reasons. Maybe your property just doesn’t attract or hold bucks during the summer. It’s painful to accept, but it’s just true in some cases. If neighboring properties offer more food and security than your property does, the bucks might just be elsewhere. Or two, maybe you just haven’t found where they use your property yet. After leaving a camera out for 2 weeks and getting no velvet deer, try moving it to a different location or adjusting it to face a different direction. Repeat the steps above and see what happens. If there are bucks on your land, you should be able to get some good pictures to plan ahead for hunting season.

Consequently, if you’re dreaming of early season deer hunting and putting a new velvet buck mount in your living room, we hope you can use these tips to get the best summer pictures of them. If you can pattern them around their summer habits, you stand a chance of taking one before the bachelor groups break up and it’s every buck for himself.

The Advantages Of The Hawk Helium Kickback Tree Stand and Helium Climbing Sticks

The Hawk Helium Kickback Tree Stand and Helium Climbing Sticks

Hunting season might seem like a long way off right now, but you know as well as we do that it will be here before we know it. That means it’s never too early to start planning your hunting strategies or tree stand locations. If you’re lucky enough to hunt private land where you can hang several tree stands ahead of time, you’re probably always on the lookout for new tree stands. The Helium™ Kickback tree stand by Hawk Tree Stands is a great hang on stand to add to your collection, and the associated Helium Climbing Sticks are top notch too. Check out the features and advantages of these two products and see how they could fit into your hunting season plans.

Why Try This Hang On Tree Stand and Sticks?

Although other types of tree stands work great for different scenarios, it’s tough to beat hang on stands when it comes to private property or mobile hunting. You can easily hang a few stands in different locations to allow for hunting in different conditions. For example, you could hang a tree stand on the east and west side of a pinch point to allow you to hunt regardless of the wind direction. Or if a certain location isn’t working out for you, it’s fairly easy to move them around to another site. The other advantage of using a hang on tree stand is that you can utilize large, twisted trees to hunt out of. Climbing tree stands are limited to straight, limbless trees, while ladder stands are restricted to a certain height and may not fit in a given tree very well. But gnarly, twisted oaks with lots of branches are no problem with hang on stands. You just have to navigate the climbing stick sections around the branches, and then you’re set. Check out the Helium Kickback tree stand and climbing sticks below for more information.

Helium Kickback Hang On Stand

The Hawk Helium Kickback stand is very solid, lightweight, and comfortable. It is made from durable aluminum to lighten the pack weight to only 10 pounds, yet it is extremely strong (able to support a load of 300 pounds). The platform is large enough to move about and the thick seat cushion is constructed of memory foam to ensure an enjoyable sit on any fall day. Teflon washers help remove any little squeaks between the pieces before they happen, keeping you undetected in the tree. Like the stacking Hawk Helium sticks discussed below, the Helium Kickback stand features Tree-Digger™ Teeth to anchor you in the tree so you can focus on hunting.

Advantages Over Other Tree Stands

  • Coming in at up to half the weight of other popular hang on stands, the Helium Kickback tree stand can really make a difference when hanging tree stands for mobile hunting or when you face an extra-long hike into a hunting spot.
  • Staying rock-solid is critical with climbing or hang on stands, and the aggressive teeth on this stand really sink in. By adding a simple strap around the stand and tree, you will stay securely anchored.
  • At some point, you’ve probably hunted in a squeaky tree stand and maybe even had it ruin a hunt for you. Teflon washers help this stand remain quiet when you shift your weight.

Helium Climbing Sticks

These climbing sticks (to accompany the Helium Kickback tree stand) offer a new level of quality than you’re probably used to with many other products. The Helium 3 Pack Climbing Sticks are constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum to make them super durable and each 30-inch section weighs only 2.9 pounds to make them extremely packable. The steps fold up and the stick sections quietly and securely nest together using Hawk’s new silent lock technology suction cups. They essentially lock together (via these suction cups) without even using any additional straps. But to further add to the stealth and make the setup in the field even easier, we have added a new versa button and silent strap setup to keep them secure and make setup on the tree a breeze. They are very sturdy on the tree too, using Tree-Digger™ Teeth to bite into the bark and stay there.

Advantages Over Other Climbing Sticks

  • At 2.9 pounds/section, the Hawk Helium climbing sticks weigh on the lower end of most of the market’s options. Yet they are still rated to hold up to 300 pounds.
  • The versa button and silent strap design allow you to quickly and quietly secure these climbing sticks to the tree without using a noisy ratchet strap.
  • The dual-sided steps allow more flexibility while climbing than many of the market’s every-other step design. Additionally, each step has rough grooves to improve traction, which is important for stability on rainy or cold days.

Planning Next Season

As you start to prepare for next season, here are some hunting tips to help you make the most of your new Helium Kickback tree stand and climbing sticks.

  • First, always bring (and use) a safety harness when you are hanging or hunting from a tree stand. There’s always an element of risk when you leave the ground, so don’t take any chances. Connect to the tree as you hang the climbing stick sections and especially when you get to the top to connect the platform itself.
  • Before you climb the tree, connect a rope from your belt line to each climbing stick section and your tree stand. That way, you won’t have to come down to get new sections each time – you can simply pull a new one up as you go.
  • As mentioned above, try to find a tree that is wide enough or has enough cover (e.g., branches, leaves, etc.) to hide your profile. For example, you can tuck hang on stands into some ancient oak trees to remain invisible to deer below you. Whereas you would stand out more if you were in a wide open aspen tree.

We think you’ll enjoy the Helium Kickback tree stand and climbing sticks. They have many advantages over other tree stand options, including being much lighter, very durable, and extremely silent. With any luck, they will help you get that much closer to a mature whitetail next fall!

Objectively Looking at Your Tree Stand Locations

Unbiased Ways to Plan Your Tree Stand Locations

Luck certainly is a factor to successfully harvesting a mature whitetail year in and year out. You cannot control luck, but what you can control is the amount of preparation you put into each season. Preparation starts with planning and evaluating your tree stand locations.

Tree stand placement strategies need to be looked at each year objectively. Information obtained from last year and any data you can gather in the offseason should guide your decisions about setting up a deer stand for the upcoming season. No matter if you are choosing a tree stand spot for the first time or are considering moving an existing one, an unbiased approach to selecting and reviewing your tree stand locations will give you that much more of an edge.

Remove the Guesswork for Finding the Perfect Tree Stand Location

The perfect tree stand location rarely falls into your lap, especially on new ground. Hanging a tree stand on a completely new property or in an untouched area on public ground has its challenges. Many times hunters bias themselves by looking at obvious areas and following the crowd. The best stand locations, however, are found by examining areas and putting the information to work.


There are so many technologies available today to the hunter. For example, you can complete 80-90% of your planning and scout from your home computer. Start by using digital aerial photos and topographic maps to analyze a piece of ground. Many times this data is enough to discount many spots before even setting foot on the ground. Additionally, there are often free state-level resources such as habitat layers, parcel ownership, and land use history available. Information like this can paint a more granular picture of where exactly the best tree stand locations may be. Finally, the last piece of your research should entail historical weather analysis. Historical weather when you are considering potential tree stand placement spots provides an indication of wind direction trends. Sometimes this data can put a likely spot either in the yes or no bucket to start ground truthing.

Off-site information goes a long way but at some point, you have to physical investigate potential areas for hanging a tree stand. Even the best-researched spots from home can go bust when you actually go there. What you have actually gained, though, is you have eliminated hundreds of “good” areas before you spend days hiking around. This allows you to be objective when assessing stand sites for whitetails. From there it is as simple as getting on the ground and making sure what you judged is the perfect tree stand location actually holds up.

Tree Stand Locations and the Factors That Keep You Honest

When is the last time you took a comprehensive look at tree stand locations you have previously hunted? Each day in a tree stand is one more data point that can be used to evaluate whether or not you are dialed in on a high percentage deer stand location.

5 Factors For Unbiased Tree Stand Hunting

  • Weather – Most whitetail activity is dependent on weather. Foraging, bedding and general movements are in some way tied to the weather. Historical observations of deer movement in different stand locations can dictate future activity when you tie it to weather patterns. For example, wind speed and direction determine which tree stands are likely to produce on a given day and which ones are not worth your time sitting in.
  • Hunt Logs – Real observations over time are your best pieces of data. A tree stand location may have all the right attributes and look good but if you never see deer or the right deer from it, it is time to move on. Write down or use one of the many apps to track observations from each stand you hunt. You can document deer sightings, rut timing, and other accounts that can clue you in on how good a tree stand placement may be.
  • Trail Camera Data – Trail cameras are your 24/7 hunt logs. Having them deployed in your tree stand locations gives you data when you are not there. This can help you decided when and how to hunt an area. Trail camera images and videos give you the ability to predict, in conjunction with the weather, what stand makes sense to hunt particularly if you are tracking individual bucks.
  • Past Success – Similar to hunt logs and trail camera data, past success of seeing deer and harvesting bucks are good ways to objectively assess your tree stands. If you have had no success day after day in a stand, it may be time to move or change up to a new location.
  • Seasonal Site Conditions – Each year is different. Another piece to the puzzle is current year deer sign and food availability. It changes yearly in an area and how it changes can be a major factor in if a stand produces or not. Investigate what deer sign you are seeing at each stand locations. Past success is something to consider but if this year’s mast crop is poor or agricultural crops have changed, deer will modify their patterns. Fresh scat, well-used trails and rut activity like scrapes and rubs are all signs deer are still using areas. Use this information in conjunction with other pieces of intel to hunt the right tree stands.

Stop Making Knee Jerk Mid-season Moves

Putting in the right preparation can be key from making off the cuff changes to stand locations mid-season. There are, however, times when even the best stand locations require a change.

Similar to setting up a deer stand on a new property or analyzing yearly hunting spots, the same methodology has to be implemented during the season. For example, rut activity is picking up nearby and deer patterns are changing related to it. Here you are wise to have a good hang on tree stand or climber to make quick changes day to day. Also, trail camera scouting can help with determining exactly when to make these changes.

In addition, tree stand placement during the rut is one of the hardest times to objectively consider where to put or move stands. Deer patterns during the rut season can be all over the place. Staying put in a tree stand all day is not always the answer no matter how much preparation you have put in. Hunt the moment and use available field information from fresh sign to actual observations to objectively positioning your stands.

Planning next year’s tree stand locations can be accomplished one of two ways. Either you put them back up in the same spot you hunted last year or you refocus your attention and objectively put the odds in your favor. The best stand locations do not happen by chance. Prepare and be unbiased with each tree stand placement.

Trail Camera Turkey Scouting | Camera Setups to Help You Kill a Gobbler

Trail Camera Turkey Scouting to Pattern Spring Birds

Trail cameras are now a staple when it comes to scouting for whitetails. Yet, how many of you are using them for planning your spring gobbler season? Until recently, most hunters packed up their game cameras after deer season and left them in storage until they were ready to deploy them back out for preseason deer scouting. Trail camera turkey scouting, however, is one of the best ways to pattern mature gobblers and increase your odds of killing one early in the season.

How to Scout for Turkeys in Spring

There are a number of ways to blow a turkey hunt. Some of which you can control and others you cannot. One that you can control is hunting where there are birds. This is why scouting for turkey sign is so important.

Turkey scouting is not complex in the sense that you need to discover active roosting and feeding areas. To do this, you need to focus on finding ground scrapes or scratch indicating where birds are feeding as well as fresh scat and tracks, which leads to roosting sites. Good scouting can also uncover dusting areas and/or strut zones. Whether it is preseason turkey scouting or scouting during the spring season, locating areas that hold gobblers is intrusive. You run the risk each time you enter a property or are trying to locate turkeys on public land of spooking a mature bird. Doing so once can be bad, doing so multiple times is detrimental. This is why trail camera turkey scouting is so effective.


Begin with aerial maps to locate potential areas where turkeys are likely to be or use past history to start identifying trail camera sites. Early preseason gobblers are bunched up in bachelor groups with a nonspecific routine. Birds then become much more focused on a daily routine driven by annual mating behaviors. Gobblers will split off, secure dominance areas, and seek out receptive hens. Trail cameras for turkeys are able to monitor these behavioral changes over time. Images and videos from trail camera turkey scouting show you exactly how mature gobblers are spending their days when it matters the most.

Information You Get from a Turkey Trail Camera Setup

Trail camera turkey scouting is used to capture five key pieces of information. All of which help you plan your turkey hunting strategy like where to position blinds, time of day to hunt an area, and which areas are likely to produce the biggest gobblers.

  1. Gobbler identification.
  2. Number of turkeys (gobblers, Jakes and hens) using a particular area.
  3. Locating key areas like dusting and strut zones.
  4. Timing of turkey activity.
  5. Determining when peak mating occurs.

Trail Camera Turkey Scouting Setups

Turkey trail camera setup can be overwhelming. There are many different areas where trail cameras can be deployed. Although, spring turkey hunting without scouting usually leads to very little success at the end of the season. Here are the main places where trail cameras for turkey scouting are most relevant and how to set up your cameras in those locations.

Fields

Turkeys at some point in the day will gravitate to a field or other opening. Particularly when the weather is less than ideal, turkeys will move into fields earlier and stay there longer. Generally, however, you would expect turkeys to arrive in fields during mid to late morning. Open fields offer plenty of forage and ideal places for gobblers to pursue hens.

Camera Setup

A unique camera position for scouting fields is to deploy the camera in the middle of the field. A camera stake can be used to mount the camera and by doing so you can capture exactly how birds enter a field. This position also allows for covering more of the field with fewer cameras.

The game camera should be high enough to view as much of the field as possible but low enough capture a turkey in close. Time-lapse image capture mode works well here to gather a history of how birds come and go during the day as well as how they interact over the course of time. A 15-minute interval is ideal to get a good sense of activity at a field location. Remember the goal in this turkey trail camera setup is to document field activity, mostly numbers and timing, in order to plan your hunt.

Roosting Areas

The number one advantage a turkey hunter has is knowing where a gobbler is roosting. Finding possible roosting sites involves on the ground scouting and some knowledge of what to look for such as mature hardwoods with adjacent open areas near cover. Again, sign like scat and tracks will provide clues and validate the areas you are scouting are roosting sites.

Camera Setup

Position cameras where you think turkeys will fly up from and down to. You want to be able to target these areas for hunting so you have to scout them to be successful. Since roosting occurs in the evening around dusk, good trail camera photos can be tough. The best trail camera can overcome this situation or you can choose video mode, which is less impacted by variable light conditions. Another option if you are not using video mode is to set burst mode to three. This will capture three consecutive images of hopefully a mature Tom preparing to fly to roost.


Feeding Sites

One of the best turkey hunting tips when it comes to feeding sites is being able to determine what is pass through feeding and frequent feeding. Turkeys are opportunistic. They will scratch along all day picking anything they can. However, some areas they come to they will feed heavily. These include soft mast producing areas of berries and grapes and also areas where there was a heavy crop of acorns. These frequent feeding sites are where you want to place trail cameras for turkeys.

Camera Setup

Place a game camera about knee high overlooking a feeding site. Any higher and you run the risk of missing turkeys because they are below the trigger sensor. Adjust camera sensitivity down to avoid picking up images of smaller animals since your camera height is lower to the ground. Also, increase the delay between photos. Turkeys will feed around for some time and you do not need a hundred images of the same bird feeding for an hour. The goal here is to assess which gobblers are using the feeding area.

Forest Trails

Finding turkeys on public land is more difficult not because of the pressure but rather the limited options when it comes to habitat. For example, there are usually fewer (if any) large fields for turkeys to use. Among the big timber, turkeys will often find planted logging roads, snowmobile trails, hiking trails or log landings that are grassed or have been planted for wildlife.

Camera Setup

On long straight trails or log landings, you want a turkey hunting camera setup similar to what was described for a field. In addition, you want to decrease the interval between photos. In these tight corridors, a bird can step out on the trail and step right back into nearby cover without ever showing up on the camera.

Trail camera turkey scouting has many advantages. Largely it allows you to scout with minimal disturbance before spring gobbler season and monitor birds throughout the season. Using these trail camera setups as part of your scouting program will help you kill a mature gobbler this spring.  

HAWK® OFFERS NEW LINE OF BLIND CHAIRS

The Hawk® Stealth Series of Hunting Chairs has a seat for you!  All chairs are made with the extremely strong and silent MeshComfort™ fabric that is used on Hawk® Tree Stands with durable, proven extended outdoor use.

STEALTH™ TRI-STOOL    MSRP: $39.99
Get into the game with this comfortable, carry-friendly Tri-Stool from Hawk®. It’s light enough to take on short hikes and sturdy enough for consistent outdoor use. The Hawk Stealth Tri-Stool is your perfect lightweight companion for all outdoor activities – camping, fishing, hunting, sporting event or simply for backyard comfort.  Folded size – 32” x 8”

STEALTH™ PAK-LITE™ CHAIR    MSRP: $44.99
ULTRA LIGHT NEVER CARRY A HEAVY HUNTING CHAIR AGAIN!  Heavy-Duty quality made, yet light weight carry that can be used for any outdoor event.  Ultra-Compact design weights less than 2.5-LBS and folds up into carrying bag that is size of a large loaf of bread!  Take the STEALTH PAK-LITE anywhere; keep one in your pack or hunting tote so you’ll never be without seating!

STEALTH™ SPIN CHAIR    MSRP: $109.99
Bone Collector® trusted, the Stealth Spin® lets you be stealthily in perfect position when it’s time to take a shot. Spinning a full 360-degrees, you can effortlessly turn to shoot out any side of your blind. Contoured MeshComfort™ backrest provides all-day support and cool breathability. Quickly folds down for easy transport with included sling.

STEALTH™ BIG DENALI™ CHAIR    MSRP: $149.99
Extra-wide & Extra-comfortable – This is the chair for those looking for some extra space. An XXL MeshComfort™ Lounger chair with a contoured, high backrest provides un-matched comfort and is even paired with molded foam armrests. Swivel silently 360-degrees for any angle shooting. Adjust each leg independently to level out on uneven terrain and adjust overall height from 18” to 20.5”. Swiveling, large “duck” feet on each leg provide added stability and keep the chair from sinking into soft ground. Steel tubing & powder coat finish provides long lasting use.

Hawk® also offers several other models of seats, both for ground blind hunting and for attaching to the tree.  Visit www.hawkhunting.com to see more.

 

2018 ATA BOOTH #2725

HAWK® – HUNT FROM ABOVE®

For more product information, visit www.HawkHunting.com

 

Hawk Group, LLC
Scott Lee
810-201-8275
[email protected]

HAWK® UPGRADES LADDER STANDS WITH HERCULES™

Hawk® introduces the HERCULES™ Cross-Grip Safety System.  Patent Pending Hercules Tension applies over 200-LBS of Gripping Force against the tree to securely lock the top of the stand in place from ground level, providing unbelievable stability and eliminates tipping and shifting!

This unique system can be described as ‘HERCULES CABLE JAWZ’ for the top of your stand and ultimately provides extreme locking stability.  After raising your stand, the Hercules™ Braided-Steel Cable System applies the extreme gripping force onto the tree that is over 6X greater force than most standard securing strap systems!  The Hercules™ Cross Grip Safety System provides an incredibly solid, safe and secure climbing experience.

The best part??  The Hercules™ Cross-Grip Safety System now comes standard on all Hawk® BIG DENALI™, SASQUATCH™ and several other Hawk Ladder Stands.  The system is easier to use stronger and more effective than any other lock down system available today.  Use Hercules™ to DRIVE SALES in 2018 and improve SAFETY for everyone!

 

 

2018 ATA BOOTH #2725

HAWK® – HUNT FROM ABOVE®

 

Hawk Group, LLC
Scott Lee
810-201-8275
[email protected]