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.


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.