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.


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.  


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.

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”

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!

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.

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


For more product information, visit www.HawkHunting.com


Hawk Group, LLC
Scott Lee
[email protected]


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 Group, LLC
Scott Lee
[email protected]


Hunt Smarter™ by having the freedom to put your camera in the perfect position without the need of a tree – film field edges, food plots, grassy transition areas or anywhere!  With an XTENDIBLE tube that adjusts any height 22”-51”, capturing that perfect footage won’t be an issue. The Hawk® Camera Stakeout is ultra-stable with the unique 6-inch Deep Earth Auger that features a unique Anti-Tip Ground Plate. Lightweight design is compact & easy to carry so no matter where you go, your camera can now capture it with the CAMERA STAKEOUT™. Utilizes universal ¼”-20 Post and works with any type of small camera.  Also include GoPro® Ready Mount for ground blind, third-angle or decoy filming.

Strong, Quick & Convenient Security for your Game Camera and other equipment! Protect your gear with the HAWK® Defender™ Adjustable Locking Cable. This 7-foot long cable uses a Patent Pending adjustable locking mechanism to hold the cable securely at any position, meaning you can conveniently wrap and ‘cinch’ the cable around large or small items as needed. 5/16” Cut-Resistant Braided Steel Cable is coated with a protective vinyl that protects against scratches and the weather.  Features all-new Hawk® CHAOS™ Camo for ultimate concealment.

Go undetected and blend your trail camera into its natural surroundings with SHAG™ by HAWK®. This is the ultimate camera ‘ghillie suit’, making your game camera practically undetectable from a distance to unsuspecting game, thieves and hunters!  The SHAG features an elastic brand that universally wraps around the body of any game camera in seconds.

Take the hassle out of setting up your game cameras with the HAWK® Game Camera SpeedMount™.   The Quick Socket Adapter attaches to your camera ¼”-20 insert for a fast connection that allows the user to easily take the camera on-and-off the mount throughout the season when checking photos, replacing batteries, etc.  This rock-solid arm features sharp tree screw threads or universal T-Post adapter to work in all situations.

2018 ATA BOOTH #2725


Hawk Group, LLC
Scott Lee
[email protected]


The all-new Ghost™ Cam lineup by Hawk® takes ultra-small, Intelligence Surveillance™ to the next level.  The smallest high-performance game cameras ever offered, the Hawk® Ghost Cam micro-size blends into nature and helps stay unnoticed to game and thieves alike.  Pull out of your pocket and capture detail-packed photos and HD video clips with blazing .25s trigger speeds!  Ghost Cam’s are built with an ultra-fast, reliable image processor and HD image sensor with built-in autofocus and Xfinity™ LED illumination to ensure sharp, detailed high resolution photos up to 20 Megapixels.

Hawk Ghost Cam’s take all of the guesswork out of complicated on-camera settings and are controlled using the innovative Hawk® Sync™ APP.  With Hawk Sync control, the date and time on your Ghost Cam is automatically set, leaving only simplified camera or video settings options to the user. Connect with Bluetooth® to capture a test view photo and check overall camera status, giving you peace of mind your camera operating to expectations.

Buy with confidence as the Hawk Sync App also allows users to register their Ghost Camera within the APP, securing the 2-Year Warranty and helps provide superior customer service.  Enjoy the reliability and outstanding capturing performance, quality and simplicity of Ghost Cam by Hawk® – this is Intelligence Surveillance™.

GHOST™ HD 16                          MSRP: $109.99
GHOST™ HD 16 BLACK             MSRP: $119.99
GHOST™ HD 20                          MSRP: $159.99

2018 ATA BOOTH #2725


Hawk Group, LLC
Scott Lee
[email protected]

Ben Rising vs. Scrape Master – Illinois Booner

My first trip of the year to hunt Illinois is always a exciting time, just being able to leave your own state and leave work behind is a welcome feeling. Earlier in the summer I had strategically placed some trail cameras on field edges, future scrape sites and tight pinches that were easily accessible on the farm I was hunting – looking for a potential candidate to hunt in the fall of 2016. I also had prepped in the summer by hanging some of the HAWK Heliums in some major travel corridors between doe bedding areas close to some normal breeding scrapes anticipating pre-rut and rut activity.

The cameras never lie and after getting pictures of a buck I nick named Scrape Master, the pursuit was on. I knew by the intel that if I was to encounter him and get a shot it would be in one spot close to his favorite scrape that I always got his picture. I had secluded access that allowed me in and out without a lot of detection and the Helium KickBack afforded me the comfort I needed to sit all day when those daylight pictures started showing up.

The Story of ‘KNEE HIGH’ – 172″ IL Brute

With a season of trials and tribulations drawing to an end, Evan Smith climbed into his stand on the 1st of January with high hopes of harvesting a deer he called Knee High. Little did he know that only thirty minutes after being in the stand, that very deer would be standing twenty yards in front of his dad. Evan’s dad, Craig Smith, passed on the deer knowing how hard his son had worked to have the chance to harvest him. The Illinois giant slowly made his way through the hardwoods, where he would soon put on a show for Evan. As he came into view, it would take 12 minutes, a scrape and a rub to get to the moment of full draw. This would become the hunt of a lifetime for Evan and also a hunt that proves a fathers love for his son!


Score: 172 1/8″

Age: 5 1/2 yr old

Date: 1/1/16

Location: Illinois

Treestand: Helium XL

Other Gear: Ranger Traction Climbing SticksSpeed Retract Hoist Reel

Summer Prepping For Whitetails

With the unofficial start of summer here (Memorial Day Weekend), there’s just one season that now separates us from climbing back into a stand for 2017. As summer days slip by, crunch time sets in and only time will tell if all the hard work during summer months will pay off.

In light of those long, hot, bug filled days we’ve compiled several articles we believe may provide some new insight to your summer scouting & preparation. None the less, hopefully some fresh reading to pass the time before Fall.

1) 4 Step Process to Planting Food Plots – Bone Collector 

2) Mark Drury’s Top 10 Pre-Season Scouting Tips – Mossy Oak

3) 6 Classic Summer Mistakes Most Deer Hunters Make – Wired To Hunt

4) Safely Hanging an Invisible Treestand – Robinson Outdoors 

5) QDMA’s Guide to Summer Food Plots – QDMA

6) 7 Steps for Taking Better Trail Camera Pictures – Outdoor Life

7) 11 Steps to a Perfect Deer Hunting Treestand Set-Up – Wired To Hunt

8) 3 Camera Locations for Summer Deer Inventory – Bucks Bulls & Bears

This summer grab your boots, trail cameras and a cold one at the end of the day – Deer Season 2017 is on the horizon.


Days are growing longer, birds are gobbling and crops are being planted – No doubt Spring is here. Below are a few of our favorite photos to remind us just how much we love Spring & everything it brings.


Easily found in a field nearby, toms can be seen strutting nation wide. Photo @Heartland Bowhunter


With strutting jelly heads comes high stakes. Photo @Heartland Bowhunter


Spring is here & so are the ‘Birds & the Bees’. Photo @Heartland Bowhunter


A quick reminder that he’s still out there. Photo @The Legends of the Fall


Listen closely, he’s bound to be heard sooner or later. Photo @Bone Collector

Caught mid stride, this gobbler lets out a bellowing blow. Photo @Team Radical

6, 7, 8 – COMRADERY

Spring is often best shared around a tailgate with a few buds. Photo @Small Town Hunting

Fresh harvest wrapped up in bacon set over a bed of hot coals. Photo @Whitetail Fix

Bringing families closer one gobble at a time. Photo @Bone Collector


Grab some oil & turn the fryer on high! Photo @Team Radical


Taking up close and personal to the next level. Photo @Small Town Hunting

How can a strutter at 10 steps not get your heart rate going? Photo @Bone Collector

12, 13, 14 – SPURS FOR DAYS

We’ve got a limb hanger! Photo @Heartland Bowhunter
And another! Photo @Small Town Hunting
Got Hooks? Photo @The Break TV


A Spring morning well spent. Photo @Final Draw
A different perspective. Photo @Team Radical

Looks like Tom got a headache from this deal. Photo @Trevor Olson

Picture Perfect. Photo @Heartland Bowhunter

Everyone loves a quick nap in the Spring sunshine! Photo @Whitetail Edge

Home of the red, the white and the blue. Photo @Heartland Bowhunter

Who said bowhunting was just for whitetails? Photo @Alpha Strong

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