Hunting The Roost: Unveiling The Late Season Turkey Hunter's Secret Weaponby Heath Wood

Hunting The Roost: Unveiling the Late Season Turkey Hunter’s Secret Weapon

What is the number one go-to tactic for late-season turkey hunters? As the curtain falls on another turkey hunting season, seasoned hunters face a familiar dilemma: how to coax those wary gobblers within range one last time. Late in the season, turkeys are no strangers to the game – they’ve weathered weeks of relentless pursuit, breeding battles, and constant calling. Yet, amidst the challenges, a tried-and-true tactic stands as a beacon of hope for the determined hunter: the best late-season tactic is getting close to the roost. Though every turkey hunter may not agree, many late-season hunters rely on targeting the roost tree as their ultimate late-season strategy. Let me offer some insights, tips, and techniques to see if you agree and maybe help you finish the season strong.

Understanding the Late Season Dynamic

As the season progresses, both hunters and turkeys transform. The once eager gobblers who woke up each morning with many thundering gobblers become increasingly cautious, staying much quieter on the limb, and silent and call-shy, wary of the constant pressure and relentless pursuit after they get on the ground. Likewise, hunters lose their morning enthusiasm, now relying on a more robust dark roast coffee to widen their tired eyes and resort to more creative tactics in their quest for that elusive trophy bird that can end their season with success. Amidst this late-season dance, the roost tree emerges as a sanctuary of sorts—a haven where weary birds seek refuge under the cover of darkness, making it the best place to hunt late season.

The Power of the Roost

So, why is the roost tree the ultimate late-season hotspot for turkey hunters? The answer lies in the behavior and psychology of the birds themselves. As the sun sets and darkness descends, turkeys instinctively flock to their roosting sites, seeking safety and shelter from nocturnal predators. By positioning yourself near these roost trees early in the mornings, you gain a strategic advantage over these weary birds. One of the most common hurdles that hunters face later in the season is turkeys who become shy, resulting in them hanging up outside of the shooting range because they don’t feel safe or are nervous to come any closer. The best way to eliminate the risk of gobblers hanging up is by being right on their tail moments after they fly off the roost. They don’t have time to hang up, which increases your chances of success.

Hunting The Roost: Unveiling The Late Season Turkey Hunter's Secret Weaponby Heath Wood

Tactics for Targeting the Roost

Successful hunting near the roost requires a combination of stealth, patience, and strategic calling. To maximize your chances of success, arrive at your hunting spot well before dawn, allowing ample time to set up and acclimate to your surroundings. If gobblers are roosted near a field or more open area, hunters can go in during the middle of the day and set up a ground blind such as the Hawk Reveal Ground Blind or Mancave Archery Blind. Once in position, maintain silence and avoid unnecessary movement that could spook nearby birds. When the time comes to call, opt for low-volume, subtle calls that mimic the sounds of a contented hen. One of my favorite low-volume calls is using a wood striker and the New H.S. Strut Camo Cutt’R Slate Turkey Call. The soft calls that can be made on slate calls are perfect for luring gobblers within range without arousing suspicion.

Fine-Tuning Your Approach

Adaptability is critical in the pursuit of late-season gobblers. Pay close attention to subtle cues and adjust your strategy accordingly. If birds respond positively to your calls, resist the urge to overcall, opting for intermittent soft clucks and purrs to maintain their interest. Conversely, if birds remain silent or exhibit skittish behavior, consider switching locations or employing a single hen decoy, such as the Avian X LCD Lookout or Feeder Hen Decoy. This decoy is made to resemble a lone hen who has flown off the roost and decided to hang out close by, looking for a gobbler who is searching for love one last time before the breeding season ends. This single decoy approach can enhance your setup, better than using a bunch of calls that can push pressured toms away. By remaining flexible and attuned to the birds’ behavior, you increase your chances of success in the late-season hunt.

In turkey hunting, the late season presents challenges and opportunities for the discerning hunter. As the days grow shorter and the woods quieter, the roost tree emerges as a last mainstay of opportunity in the quest for that elusive gobbler. By mastering the art of hunting near the roost, you unlock the potential to finish the season strong, securing your place among seasoned turkey hunters. So, heed the call of the wild, embrace the challenges of the late season, and let the roost tree guide you to victory in your pursuit of the ultimate turkey trophy.

Hunting The Roost: Unveiling The Late Season Turkey Hunter's Secret Weapon by Heath Wood
3 Ways To Successfully End Your Deer Season

3 Ways To Successfully End Your Deer Season

As the curtain falls on another deer hunting season, hunters reflect on the challenges, successes, and moments that defined their pursuit of the majestic whitetail. Whether you’re in the season’s final days or have already closed your season, there are strategic ways to conclude your deer hunting journey on a satisfying note. Be it a final effort to secure another harvest, a last-minute pursuit of a mature buck, or a desire to wrap up the season after already tagging a mature buck, aim to conclude in a manner that leaves you eagerly counting the days until the next hunting season begins.

Exiting the holiday season, I found myself brimming with enthusiasm, just not for hunting. I had reached the point of burnout and was ready to move on to something different. At the perfect moment, I received an email offering the chance to try a new crossbow. Eagerly, I accepted, and within a few days, a brand-new bow was waiting on my doorstep. This wasn’t just an opportunity to test a new crossbow; it reignited my passion and motivated me to head out for the final days of the hunting season. On an evening hunt, a doe came within ten yards of my tree after sitting in my stand for slightly more than two hours. With many of the bucks already shedding their antlers, I decided to harvest this doe. Once she turned broadside, I made a perfect shot, allowing me to finish my season off with another successful harvest.

Grind It Out Using A Ground Blind

The late season brings challenges, particularly with the dropping temperatures and the increased focus on hunting food sources. Adopting a grind-it-out mentality is vital for those hunters still pursuing the elusive buck they have had pictures of and have been chasing all season. Utilizing a ground blind, such as the Hawk Hunting Office or Double Box Blind, can be a game-changer for staying in the field longer. Late-season hunts often require enduring long sits in the cold, making a ground blind essential for warmth and concealment. These blinds provide a comfortable and stealthy vantage point, allowing hunters to wait patiently for the opportune moment. By staying concealed and protected from the elements, hunters increase their chances of success in the late-season game.

Re-Energize, Then Hunt

For some hunters, such as myself, the long season can lead to a loss of enthusiasm as fatigue sets in. Taking a small break over the holidays can provide a much-needed reset and an opportunity to regroup. Consider using this time to re-energize and rekindle your passion for hunting. Even hunters with a strong passion for deer hunting can find it hard to keep trying by the end of the season. When loss of drive sneaks in, trying to introduce new elements into your hunting routine can be invigorating. Whether acquiring new gear for Christmas, exploring a different hunting property, or trying a fresh approach, injecting newness can reignite the spark. For example, receiving my new Ravin R18 Crossbow added the excitement and motivation to return to the field before the season’s end, resulting in a harvest and making another memory I would have otherwise missed out on.

Prepare For Next Year

For those who have already achieved success or decided to call it a season, the late season offers a valuable window to prepare for the future. Instead of winding down earlier in the season, when a harvest is made, use this time to lay the groundwork for the upcoming hunting seasons.

This season, the Hunt Stand app has recently become an invaluable tool for pinpointing potential stand sites for the following year. Marking these locations now, while the landscape is fresh in your mind, can ensure strategic placement for future hunts. Additionally, the late season provides an ideal opportunity to scout new areas and implement property improvements. So, don’t quit; keep preparing throughout the entire season.

After scouting, if you still don’t feel confident for the next season, consider enhancing your hunting grounds by creating food plots, practicing timber management, installing new water sources, and improving bedding areas. These improvements contribute to the deer population’s overall health and increase the attractiveness of your hunting property. By conducting these improvement projects several months before the next season, your results have time to reach their maximum potential.

The end of the deer hunting season doesn’t have to be sad or signify a conclusion; instead, it can mark the beginning of preparation and anticipation for what lies ahead. Whether you’re grinding it out in a ground blind, re-energizing for a final push, or laying the groundwork for future success, these strategies ensure that your deer season concludes on a high note.

3 Ways To Successfully End Your Deer Season
Should You Move Your Treestand During The Rut

Should You Move Your Treestand During The Rut

The whitetail rut is a magical time for deer hunters. As the woods echo with the primal calls of rutting bucks and the scent of deer pheromones fills the air, it’s hard not to feel the rush of excitement. However, this period presents unique challenges for hunters, and one of the most debated questions is whether you should move your treestand during the rut.

In the modern era of cellular game cameras, it is more common than ever before for a hunter to receive information that a target-specific buck, or buck movement in general, is prominent in another area than where they are hunting. This data often leads to the hunter wanting to pack up their gear and make a move.

Does it spook deer to move a Treestand during the rut?

Moving your treestand during the rut can indeed create disruptions that may spook deer. The heightened awareness and sensitivity of bucks during this period mean that any disturbances are more likely to send them fleeing. However, there are ways to mitigate these risks.

Plan Ahead: If things don’t go as planned and you anticipate moving your stand, scout and prepare well in advance. Know what your hunting area looks like and where other stand areas could always be.  When you have decided that making a move will increase your chances of getting within shooting range of a mature buck, not having to search the area can minimize the amount of noise and scent associated with the move.

Use Proper Stands and Equipment: Use equipment designed to get into position easily and quickly. A stand setup such as the Hawk Helium Pro Hang On with the Helium 20” Sticks can be ready and in place quickly, minimizing your time and presence when setting up or relocating your stand.

Should You Move Your Treestand During The Rut

Time it Right: Choose the moments when deer activity is lower, such as midday or during lulls in the rutting action, to make your move. Another great time to move a treestand is during a rainstorm or when the weather has minimized deer movement. The rain also helps wash away any human scent before returning to the area to hunt.

When should you make a move on deer during the rut?

Understanding the different stages of the rut is crucial for deciding when to make your move. The rut can be broken down into three main phases: When to make a move can be determined in the same manner that one would decide hunting times.

Pre-Rut: Bucks are becoming more active and establishing their territories. This phase is an excellent time for treestand adjustments due to bucks making rubs and scrapes, which give hunters a visual of where their stand locations should be to get a buck into close range.

Peak Rut: During the height of the rut, bucks are most distracted and often less cautious. This is when you might consider staying put in your existing treestand location. Because bucks are pursuing does, they will likely be on their feet throughout the day. There is almost enough risk during this time of the rut to say, don’t move your treestand at all.

Post-Rut: As the rut wanes, deer behavior becomes more predictable. This is another good time to relocate your treestand. There is not as much as a free-for-all of bucks running around like they have no clue that you or any other danger is near. Moving your stand near a food source during the post-rut is a good idea because bucks want to re-stock food and energy after losing so much during the rut.

Best Equipment To Use When Wanting To Be More Versatile

Portable treestands are a game-changer for hunters looking to make swift treestand adjustments. Options like hang-on stands and ladder stands offer mobility and flexibility.

Hang-on stands are lightweight and easy to move, but you’ll need a compatible climbing method like sticks or steps. As mentioned earlier, The Hawk Helium is a great lightweight option for hunters who prefer playing a chess-like game of making moves until they are in the proper position to get within close range.

Ladder stands, though not as portable as the others, are sturdy and provide comfort, making them a good option for longer sits during the rut. A ladder stand such as the Hawk 20’ Big Denali 1.5 Man SLS Ladderstand is lightweight and easy to get into position, often by one or two hunters. The larger seat area of the Big Denali makes sitting all day during the rut more comfortable, which keeps the hunter focused and ready for action longer.

Should You Move Your Treestand During The Rut

The decision to move your treestand during the rut is complex and is often considered risky by hunters who want to harvest a mature buck. Still, with careful planning and execution, it can be a game-changing strategy. Whether you choose to relocate or remain in your current position, understanding deer behavior during the rut and the best time for adjustments is crucial. Embrace the challenge and adapt your tactics to maximize your hunting experience during this exhilarating time of year.

3 Critical Factors To Remember When Hanging Treestands For Bowhunting

Bowhunting Hot Weather Bucks

With the first day of fall already passed, one often looks to cooler weather, pumpkins, and the changing colors of the leaves, not to mention cool sits in a tree stand while bowhunting.

I recently experienced unseasonable weather in my home state of Missouri; I woke every morning and immediately checked my hunting forecast on my Hunt Stand app. Sadly, the forecast eluded several days of temperatures in the mid-eighties to low nineties for a daily high. The truth is, during the early season, typically the last of September and into early October, the weather can still feel summer-like, no matter what season our calendar shows. Do not let the last hot days detour you from hunting; the bucks are still there.

A few years ago, I saw a mature buck regularly appear on my Stealth Cam Fusion cellular camera. Because his summer-like pattern was routine, I jumped at the chance to get in my tree stand when the wind direction was favorable, even with temperatures reaching nearly ninety degrees. To prevent bumping any deer out of the area, I was forced to get into my stand around 2:30 p.m., when the blistering sun was bearing directly down on me for the first couple of hours of being in my stand. When the sun finally made its way behind the tree line, my comfort level began to increase, and so did the deer movement. As planned, at 6:25 p.m., my hit list buck entered the field, then a short time later, presented me with a broadside shot at twenty-three yards. I made a successful shot on a mature, five-and-a-half-year-old buck. Although I had to do a speedy recovery and quick processing hours later due to the heat, I would do it again in a heartbeat if given the opportunity.

Early-season bowhunting can often present much warmer temperatures than desired for deer hunters. However, summer patterns and bucks not yet thinking of the rut can produce some of the most significant hunting days when pursuing a mature buck. The question it comes down to is, how bad do you want it?

In The Field Scent Control

Of course, when hunting in hot weather, you are going to sweat more often, and you are going to stink fast. That is if you ignore scent control.

A complete regimen of scent control that features washing clothes in Scent-A-Way Detergent, showering with Scent-A-Way Soap and Shampoo, and spraying all hunting gear and your body with Scent-A-Way Odor Eliminating Spray is vital. A must to keep human scent under control—staying scent-free in the field while hunting becomes the most fundamental part of staying invisible to a deer’s nose in hot weather. When hunting hot weather, I often carry my Scent-A-Way Spray so that I can randomly spray down while in the stand to help eliminate any odors that have been created while sweating—another fantastic product to use while on the stand is the Scent-A-Way Field Wipes. The wipes help eliminate human odor from exposed skin, and the wet wipes can feel refreshing and cooling when forced to hunt in unseasonable warm weather. Paying attention to wind directions and the extra details of staying scent-free can help keep you invisible to a buck, even when he is in close range.

Bowhunting Hot Weather Bucks

Last Minute Success

Sitting in the stand until the last minutes of the day is typical for the best deer movement during an evening hunt. During my mentioned hunt, I was hunting from the Hawk 20’ Big Denali 1.5-Man SLS Ladderstand; because of the larger seat and the extra comfort when sitting for extended periods, I was at ease, even in the higher temperatures. Hunting from a more comfortable tree stand or an elevated blind can help tremendously when trying to sit restfully until that last light when deer movement is often at its peak.

There are many reasons why peak deer movement occurs at the last light during the early season and on hotter days. The first reason is that deer are still commonly in their summer feeding patterns at this time. They feed during the last hour of daylight, then continue moving throughout the night before returning to their bedding area early the following day. The second is the most obvious: it is too hot! Deer move during the last few minutes of the day because it is much more comfortable for them to do so.

A Drink In The Shade

We have learned when to hunt and how to stay scent-free when bow hunting in hot weather. Now, let’s discuss the best early-season setup.

To be in the best scenario to shoot a mature buck, staying cool and comfortable remains the most critical factor when it is hot. However, it isn’t just about the hunter’s comfort level when getting a big buck into archery range.  Deer need to be cool and comfortable, too, and finding a spot where that is most likely to take place will provide the best shot opportunities.

The ideal hot weather hangouts for mature bucks will be in wooded, shady areas where temperatures feel a bit cooler than when out in direct sunlight. The most ideal locations are in the bottoms of a deep ridge or underneath the heavier canopy of trees. Another excellent stand location for early season and hot weather is near a water source. A stand set up near a pond, creek, or river will more than likely produce a lot of deer movement when hunting. A mature buck may steer away from specific food sources or other areas where deer sign has been found. Yet, water is a must for survival, making a water source stand setup one of the best early-season hunts available.

In conclusion, hot weather should not deter dedicated bowhunters from pursuing their passion for chasing mature whitetail bucks during the early season. By prioritizing scent control, staying in the field until the last moments of daylight, and strategically positioning yourself near cool and comfortable deer hangouts, you can increase your chances of success even when the mercury rises. Bowhunting in hot weather may come with challenges, but as my experience has shown, the rewards can be well worth the effort. So, don’t let the heat keep you out of the woods; embrace the opportunity and make the most of those early-season days. After all, the pursuit of the elusive mature buck keeps us coming back, regardless of the weather.

3 Critical Factors To Remember When Hanging Treestands For Bowhunting

3 Critical Factors To Remember When Hanging Treestands For Bowhunting

You found a spot where deer signs and movement are ideal for hunting, but is your treestand in the right tree?

Many hunters spend the offseason studying their scouting apps, such as HuntStand, trying to narrow down the right spot to hang this year’s stands. After finding a good spot location, the fine-tuning efforts of scouting begin. Many hunters use their trail cameras, feed supplements, and spend a lot of time on foot, looking for the signs of where their next trophy buck is spending the most time.

As the season progresses, the number of deer signs, such as scrapes, rubs, and well-traveled trails, begin appearing, allowing hunters to gain more knowledge of where the best locations to get within bow range of a trophy buck could be. Hunters often find suitable locations yet never succeed because their stand is in the wrong tree. Many are guilty of finding a well-used scrape or high-traffic travel route and rush to place a stand in the nearest tree. When it is time to hunt, they sadly realize that they are not in the right spot due to many factors that could have been avoided if they had considered a few details of their stand placement.

3 Critical Factors To Remember When Hanging Treestands For Bowhunting

Wind Direction

One of the number one mistakes many bow hunters make when hanging their treestands is wind direction. It is vital to consider if the wind direction will be in your favor, where deer will most likely enter and exit the area, what the thermals will be like on morning hunts versus evening hunts, and if there is any reason to cause deer to travel downwind of your stand location. All these factors should be considered before choosing the proper stand location.

Better understanding the most likely scenarios, including human scent being the primary concern, helps lower the chance that a deer will be spooked by the hunter and ruin their stand location during the middle of the season.

Enter And Exit Routes To Your Stand

Having the wrong entry and exit routes to and from your stand location can ruin a hunt quickly. As with wind direction details, many factors must be considered before you hang a treestand. Will your scent be blowing downwind of where deer are most likely staying? Are you crossing any travel routes or walking near scrapes or rubs? Having a deer smell you or where you have been before the hunt begins can devastate a hunter’s game plan.

3 Critical Factors To Remember When Hanging Treestands For Bowhunting

Another critical factor, besides avoiding being smelled, is not being seen also. When walking to your stand, can deer see you? Are you silhouetted? Do deer avoid specific areas because they know you are headed there?

Once an excellent place to hunt has been secured and an excessive amount of deer signs has been found, the next step is to learn as much as possible about the surroundings and how every move the hunter makes before and after the hunt will affect the chances of success.

Are You Concealed After Getting In Your Stand

Sunlight and cover are some of the most critical factors in determining the proper time to be in the tree hunting. After determining where the wind directions will be and what side of the trail, deer sign, food source, or water you need to be on, next is determining if you have enough cover and where the sun will be hitting you at specific times of the day.

Nothing is worse than waiting for an hour or two after daylight, knowing that a deer will walk out at any moment when suddenly you realize that the sun is peaking through the timber and shining directly on your stand. If you make any sudden moves, a deer will most likely pick you out of the tree. Hence, add sun location to the list of factors before you hang your stand. For the best concealment, ideally, you want the sun at your back during the peak movement times. When the sun is behind you, a deer can look in your direction without having the ability to pick you out.

3 Critical Factors To Remember When Hanging Treestands For Bowhunting

Sunlight can be critical to staying concealed while in the stand. It is vital to wear a complete setup of camouflage, including a facemask and gloves to hide all exposed skin. However, camouflage cannot work to its maximum potential without mother nature’s help. It is vital to have plenty of cover behind and around you, to prevent deer from seeing your movements. Remembering what your area will look like in different parts of the season is vital. Often, hunters assume their stand site is well concealed when they hang them in July or August while leaves are fully grown. Unfortunately, later in the fall, when leaves have changed colors or have begun to fall to the forest floor, the stand site is now left in the wide open. To prevent being seen later in the year, cut branches or use larger trees as a backdrop instead of only relying upon leaves for cover.

Bowhunting whitetail deer can be challenging. Getting within archery range of a mature buck can be even more complicated, which is why when hunters are talking about treestand placement, every scouting technique available should be done to ensure they are given the most significant chance at a shot when a buck finally comes through. If you thought setting a stand was as easy as finding deer and hanging the stand, sadly, you are mistaken. Instead, spend every effort determining proper wind direction, the course in which you go to and from your stand, and being hidden when you’re hunting, and your chances of success will flourish.

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Keep November Firearms Skills Sharp By Summer Shooting

Keep November Firearms Skills Sharp By Summer Shooting

When the fall of 2018 arrived, I planned to shoot the rifle I would be using during the firearms portion of the Missouri deer season. For many years, I would spend the weekend before the season’s opening day practicing a few shots with my deer rifle of choice. Because it has always been an annual tradition, I use the short practice session to ensure everything is dialed in. However, in 2018, I decided to change things up, using a much smaller caliber for whitetail deer. I had my .22-250 rifle dialed in and shooting great due to using it throughout the summer and early fall while predator hunting. Because I spent most of the hunting season coyote hunting, I was confident with the rifle and decided to continue using it on a mature buck.

On Thursday of the season’s opening week, I was awakened to an inch or two of unseasonable snow, with beautiful fall leaves covered with a thin blanket of white snow. A couple of hours into the cold, snowy morning, I used the white ground to my advantage as I spotted a mature buck trying to cross the field. Against the stark white of the ground, he was easy to see. At approximately one hundred and fifty yards, the buck slowly made his way through the snow with his nose to the ground. Although snow covered the ground, giving the scenery a wintry look, the mid-November rut was still in full swing. I quickly moved my bipods in place, aimed behind the buck’s front shoulder, then gently squeezed the trigger, as I had on several coyotes in the past months. The buck flinched as he was hit, then ran forty yards down the hill before crashing nose-first into the wet snow.

I knew I made a successful shot, even before the buck hit the ground. My confidence level was much higher because I was familiar with my gun and how it performed, along with having a lot of practice before the season. Even though I continue to enjoy the weekend before the season’s annual shooting session, I now spend several days throughout the summer going to the shooting range or at home shooting a few rounds with my preferred deer rifle.

New Equipment

Why do many bow hunters spend most of the summer shooting their bows to be the best archer possible? Yet, the same hunter only shoots their rifle once or twice, the weekend before the season.

As hunters, we are responsible for making the most deadly and ethical shot at an animal possible. Shooting the weapon used during a hunt periodically throughout the summer can reap benefits for the hunter. Hunters often say, “I shot my gun before the hunt,” yet they missed an animal and immediately blamed it on their scope or the gun. Unfortunately, ninety-nine percent of the time, they just needed more practice.

During the heat of the summer is the ideal time to purchase a new rifle or scope for the upcoming fall season. Having several months before the season begins allows the hunter to know how the rifle and optics perform, what adjustments need to be made, and how to shoot that setup to the best of their ability before the season.

Less Crowded At The Shooting Range

After everything is in perfect working condition, the hunter can visit the shooting range periodically throughout the summer to practice their shooting skills. I have always enjoyed shooting a few rounds the week before the season. Yet, I typically must shoot at home because all the local ranges are filled with last-minute hunters trying to get ready at the last minute.

Instead, I have taken range time and made it more enjoyable as a family. My wife, son, and I often go to the local shooting range and enjoy several hours of practice. Recently, I have been using the Walkers Disrupter Electronic Ear Buds to keep my ears protected. Yet, I can also safely communicate with my family due to the hearing enhancement while having only the loud muzzle blast be muted for protection. By the end of the summer, we all have experienced fun family time while sharpening my fall skills.

Keep November Firearms Skills Sharp By Summer Shooting

More Confidence

After spending spare time throughout the hot summer to improve my shooting skills, I have found that my confidence level as a hunter has improved dramatically. I have harvested deer from my treestand and Hawk blinds for the last two years. When a deer has made its way into shooting range, I no-longer second guess my shooting abilities or waste less time before making a successful shot.

In the fall of 2021, I sat inside my Hawk Down & Out Blind on a 5-foot tower. I encountered a mature buck chasing a doe nearly two-hundred yards down a steep hill. I would have doubted my shooting ability in years past and psyched myself out. However, due to spending more time during the off-season practicing instead of only shooting a few times the week before the season, I made the long-distance shot with no problems because my confidence was much higher. Taking aim and making the shot quickly allowed me to bring home an excellent ten-pointer in southern Missouri for another successful firearms season.

Keep November Firearms Skills Sharp By Summer Shooting

Moving Ladderstands to Changing Deer Behavior

Moving Ladderstands | Ladderstand Hunting Strategies 

For those who enjoy the comfort of a ladderstand, but hunt with a smaller budget, moving your stand might be the only way to keep up with ever-changing deer behavior

Let’s face it; ladder stands are extremely comfortable for bow hunters grinding out long hours during the peak of the rut. Easy in, easy out—not to mention most modern ladderstands come equipped with an extremely supportive back and foot-rest. Ladderstands are also a very safe option for those fearing heights. If you are a hunter who hunts primarily out of ladderstands, but can’t afford one for every nook and cranny of your land—you need to plan your season and how you will move your stands to keep up with changing deer behavior and patterns. 

The Ladder Advantage

As mentioned, ladderstands provide a distinct advantage for hunters seeking comfort from high above. Hawk laddersstands provide some of the most comfortable perches available. Comfort and safety are the top reasons many hunters choose a ladderstand. They are a great way to introduce new hunters to the sport. A knock on ladderstand used to be the disadvantage of not being able to hunt as high as a traditional hang-on treestand with climbing sticks. Those days are long gone however, as ladderstands are produced in heights well above 20 feet. 

Ladder Location

The location of your ladderstand really depends on your goals, and the season you are going to utilize it. For bow hunters, ladderstands close to heavy trails, pinch points and areas of high deer social activity will produce the best results. Gun hunters need to be looking at certain areas overlooking lots of territory. Ditches, benches and high ridge-top bedding areas are prime. Gun seasons are where ladderstands shine. A sturdy rest and comfortable seat for all day sits, waiting for other hunters to bump deer are crucial to gun-hunting success, and a ladderstand can help you do just that. 

Early to Mid-Season LadderStand Strategies

Setting up and moving ladderstands to changing deer behavior requires coming up with a well thought out plan of attack for each phase of the season. In preparation for early season, have your ladderstands set well before opening day of bow season to give your deer ample time to get used to this new object you placed in the field. Not all deer are spooky around new objects, but some are. Proceed with caution. Early season ladderstand setups can be extremely convenient from a noise and intrusion stand-point. A well-placed ladder along a field edge, water hole, or crop field will allow for sneaky, quiet access during the early season. Those using run and gun type mobile setups may have the element of surprise working in their favor, but in terms of noise reduction, you will have them beat with a ladderstand. 

If you need to move your ladderstand in accordance with changing feeding patterns to catch deer moving in the timber on acorns and other food, do so around the first week of October in most areas throughout the U.S. You can usually expect to see a major change from summer feeding patterns to fall range dispersal about the first that time—like someone flipped a switch. Have a buddy come out and help you move your ladderstand before deer move into their fall range. Getting your stand set up near hot acorn locations and scrapes surrounded by cover and travel routes could be your ticket. 

Rut and Late Season

Many prime rut locations are in line with the mid October locations you may have already chosen for your ladderstand. However, if these locations are different, be sure to have your ladderstand in place and moved by the last few days of October, for those hunting in the Midwest or northern portions of the U.S. Be careful about intruding too much into your best spots, make your ladderstand move quick and painless—get in and out. Preferably you should move your ladder before a rain event to wash away scent.

Ladderstands provide an extremely comfortable sit for bow hunters looking to sit all day during the rut. Plenty of space to stretch out, lay a backpack down, or snack for a minute. Many of the Hawk ladder stands are two-person stands that will fit a buddy alongside with you to get you through those grinding rut sits. A ladderstand overlooking a bedding area ridge-top with trails littered through the area can double as a gun and bow hunting set up. Concentrate on the trails for bow hunting and maybe even sweeten a converging trail location with a mock scrape for a close shot. During gun season, being able to overlook all the trails and a general bedding area will give you ample opportunities for a gun harvest. 

Late-Season ventures using a ladderstand can make your hunts painless as well. In areas with steep terrain and varying land features, field edge trees sometimes lean sharply out over a field and offer no chance to get a hang-on up, and safely hung. Ladderstands allow you to lean the platform against a side of the tree most fit for a secure connection. A tree doesn’t have to be very straight for a ladder stand to be hung. Late season is much like early season as bucks might be back on a bed to feed pattern over an area such as a picked cornfield. Finding a prime late-season spot for your ladderstand will allow you to take advantage of the changing behaviors deer experience throughout a season. 

Wrapping It Up

A successful season is all about adapting, changing and tweaking your strategies to best take advantage of deer behavior. With the right tools and planning, moving ladderstands can be painless, it just requires a more planned attack for each phase of the year.