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stand Placement During The Summer, For Fall Hunting Season Success

Stand Placement During The Summer, For Fall Hunting Season Success

By: Heath Wood

The excitement of being in the treestand for the first time of the season is a feeling like no other. The anticipation built up throughout the summer months from scouting, checking game cameras, shooting a bow, and hanging stands are enough for any hunter to get a bit jittery come opening day.

As exciting as a new season beginning can be, nothing can dampen the enjoyment faster than realizing, after spending time throughout the summer scouting and hanging stands, that the stand placement is wrong on the first hunt.

Finding oneself in the wrong location begins with what the hunter has done during summer scouting. To confirm that stand locations will be in the right place at the right time, a hunter should have at least three different stand scenarios set and ready before the season begins.

Early Season Stand

One must keep in mind that scenarios change from summer to fall. One of the biggest mistakes I have made over the years has come from patterning deer based on their feeding pattern. During July and August, deer may spend most of their time feeding on green grasses and the abundance of browse found everywhere during the summer.

There are three things to look for when setting an early-season stand location to narrow down a suitable stand location. These three things are high on the priority list in mid-September; food, water, and bedding. Remember that it is still typically warm temperatures during the early season, deer need food and water to survive, and then they lay down to stay cool. To narrow down the right stand location, one needs to find where the least travel is required to get from one priority to another. Again, late summer feeding patterns usually revolve around green grasses; the edge of a timberline that connects with a field, food plot, or crops is an area in which deer can feed then get back in the shade quickly to stay cool. If one can find an area such as this with a pond, creek, or another type of water source nearby, it parallels the perfect early season stand location.

October Stand

During the summer months, deer are in the early season feeding pattern.  In September, these areas may seem ideal for encountering deer movement. However, when mid-September and October roll around, the feeding patterns begin to change. For example, in the Midwest, where I hunt most of the time, it is common to see deer change their travel routes about mid-October when acorns begin falling. When travel routes change, the stand at the edge of a food plot or near a field suddenly becomes less likely to encounter deer. How does one find where deer are located most of the time in September, October, and November when hanging stands in July and August?

The first time I saw a good friend of mine walking through the woods in August with a pair of binoculars, looking up in the trees, I thought he had lost his mind. After quizzing him about what he was looking for, I realized he was very knowledgeable about predicting where the best stand locations would be when the season came around. He explained that he searched the umbrellas of the white oak trees to see which had the most acorns developing. In finding these areas a couple of months before acorns were ready to fall to the forest floor and hanging stands nearby these spots months prior, he could be in the prime when the season is in full swing.

The Rut Stand

The most challenging stand location to predict when hanging treestands during the summer is a stand that will be right for when bucks could be anywhere due to having breeding does and nothing else on their mind.

During the rut, a buck doesn’t have a travel route; it is wherever his nose leads him at any given time, which is why it is hard to narrow down one specific stand location. Since it’s impossible to narrow a location down, it is good to have a stand where there is a lot of visible ground. Areas where the hunter knows deer will be feeding, such as food plots, open areas in the timber, or down a power line, are all excellent areas to see farther distances.

When I find a well-open area, I like to use my Hawk Big Horn ladder stand or my Down & Out Warrior Blind on a raised platform. Using either of these stands allows for a comfortable hunt for a more extended period while watching a larger area. By seeing longer distances, one will have more opportunities to catch buck movement because of the amount of traveling a buck does during the rut. When hanging stands during the summer, the hard part is to make sure to have the imagination of what the area will look like when fall arrives. When hanging stands in the summer, the leaves are still in full bloom; grasses, weeds, brush, etc., are all in full foliage as well. When leaves begin falling during November, an area can change in looks quickly if one will remember what an area looked like the season before or visualize an area without the foliage.

To sum it up, the main reason for hanging stands before the season is to have them ready and in place without disturbing deer. By having multiple stands in different time of the year scenarios, the hunter will be in the right place at the right time without detouring the natural movement of deer. When the big buck arrives, you will be ready and waiting.

Hawk Down & Out Blinds The Permanent Temporary Blind feature

Down & Out Blinds | The Permanent Temporary Blind

Why Use Down & Out Blinds?

Whether you prefer to hunt turkeys or deer, there’s no question that sitting in a hunting blind will improve your odds at harvesting an animal, as compared to sitting out in the open. But since you just can’t commit to investing in a permanent hard-sided blind, you resort to your usual hub style blind. Being outdoors for any length of time exposes it to some battles with Mother Nature, which it usually loses. If you’re ready to end that vicious cycle, check out the new Down & Out™ blinds by Hawk. 

Down & Out Blinds | The Permanent Temporary Blind

Benefits of Down & Out Blinds

The new Down & Out blinds solve a lot of the issues you’ve probably had with other ground blind options. Here’s a quick rundown: 

Down & Out Blinds | The Permanent Temporary Blind
  • As compared to hard-sided permanent box blinds, these hunting panel blinds are a bargain when it comes to cost. If you can’t justify spending money right now on a hard plastic blind, these are a great alternative. 
  • The Down & Out blinds are also much more portable than a traditional box blind. You usually need a tractor to haul and set a box blind up efficiently, but you can simply use the carrying case for these ones (or an ATV if it’s on the back end of your property). That makes it a good option for mobile hunting situations. Best yet, it only takes 10-15 minutes to set up by yourself with no tools.
  • These hybrid blinds are much stronger and more durable than hub style mobile blinds. Because of their strong frame and durable fabric, they can withstand much more than an ordinary soft sided blind. 
  • Down and Out hunting blinds have silent windows so you can stealthily open them when game animals are within shooting range. Try doing that with noisy Velcro or zipper windows common for most soft-sided blinds. 
  • There are several design options to choose from so you can find a size that works for you and your hunting style. 
Down & Out Blinds | The Permanent Temporary Blind

Design of the Down & Out Blinds

There are five different models of the Down and Out panel blind. The first thing you’ll notice about these blinds is that they are truly over-engineered for maximum stability. Starting with the bones of it all, the heavy-duty, powder-coated aluminum frame folds up in six pieces like an accordion, and you simply need to unfold and fit them into place. These things are so strong, there is a lifetime warranty on the aluminum frame and hinges (which is always a good indication). The steel struts form a roof on top capable of holding 200 pounds – plenty strong enough for even a significant snowfall event in most places. The wall and roof are constructed of a 600 denier fabric so they can withstand the wind and snow easily. It is also treated for UV resistance and has a polyurethane coating for additional durability and water resistance. This frame and fabric design allows you to leave it out in conditions that would destroy most hub style designs.  

There is a full size and accessible door to make it easy to access quietly. Each panel has one bow and one gun window, so you have a 360 degree view around you. Each gun window uses the aluminum frame as a gun rest, while the bow windows are long vertically and have shoot-through mesh over them. The Shadow Mesh™ windows have magnet closures, so nothing can see in and you can open them quietly with game animals within range. The interior is dark black to hide your movements even more when the Shadow Mesh is across the opening. Here are the different models of the new Down & Out blinds.

  • Scout – the Scout is the smallest option in this lineup, measuring about 74” to the peak and 59” in diameter. It weighs in at 49 pounds, which is easy enough for a short carry through the woods.  
  • Warrior – the Down and Out Warrior blind is big enough for two people, or one person if you want more room for gear. It measures about 72” wide and 78” tall when assembled and weighs 61 pounds. 
  • Warrior XL – this blind is obviously a larger version of the popular Warrior model, and can fit a couple people easily. It measures about 96” wide and 81” tall when assembled and weighs 81 pounds. 
  • Octagon – the Hawk Octagon blind should be considered a group blind as you can fit plenty of gear or a couple people inside. 
  • Bunker – the Bunker can easily fit three hunters and is arranged in a rectangular shape rather than a hexagonal shape. 
Down & Out Blinds | The Permanent Temporary Blind

Hunting Scenarios for These Blinds

There are a few different situations where the use of these Down & Out blinds would be a no-brainer, and we’re sure you already thought of a few while reading above. 

As a private landowner, there are lots of easy applications for these blinds. Pick a good ambush site for whitetails on your property – perhaps along a field edge or downwind of a commonly used creek crossing in the woods. Assemble the blind in the late summer, and return in the fall for hunting. By that time, the deer will have gotten so acclimated to it, they will hardly notice anymore. Simply sneak into the area, stealthily open the blind, and silently unfold the windows. As long as you have cleared the debris on the floor so there aren’t leaves crunching, they will have no clue you’re there. Alternatively, you can also set one of these ground blinds up on top of a tower platform so you have a better view. 

Of course, you could also use it for turkey hunting in the spring. Set the blind up on a field edge or clover plot in the early spring and let the birds get used to it. Add some cut branches or tufts of grass to the brush loops on the outside of the blind so it blends in well with its surroundings. If you’re a fan of bow hunting turkeys, keep the mesh up and they will never know what hit them. 

For public lands, your choices are a bit more limited. While you can’t leave blinds out overnight on some state or federal lands, you can on others. Of course, you run the risk of someone else discovering it and making away with your blind, so consider that risk beforehand. You could easily set it up on a Friday night, hunt dawn to dusk through the weekend, and pack it out on Sunday. Or you could set it up in a very remote location where nobody is likely to stumble across it (and if they do, they likely won’t want to carry it out). But a better option might be to use the lightweight Scout blind if you can’t leave it on a given piece of land. It’s not difficult to set it up in the morning and take it down when you leave.  

Down & Out Blinds | The Permanent Temporary Blind

These hunting blinds are a great way for many people to get the benefits of both hard-sided permanent blinds and soft-sided mobile blinds at the same time. Once you try them, you’ll immediately see what you’ve been missing.