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Choosing the right location for your deer stand can feel like a daunting task. Having faced that challenge many times myself, I’ve come to learn that careful research and strategic planning are key in finding an effective site. In this article, we’ll explore crucial factors you should consider when selecting your deer stand location; and provide practical tips on how to make successful choices. Trust me – you won’t want to miss these insights!
Understanding the Importance of Deer Stand Location
A key part of deer hunting is choosing the right stand location. The spot has to let you see the deer before they see you, allow you to use the wind to your advantage, and allow for undetectable entry and exit into the location.
The best place to hang a tree stand depends on how deer are moving through the area during daylight hours. While scouting, I watch for entry and exit points in fields and look for heavily used trails so that I can gain insight into how the deer are moving through the property. My success in bagging trophy bucks grew when I started putting more thought into my stand placements.
Key Factors in Choosing a Deer Stand Location
When selecting the perfect deer stand location, I consider three fundamental factors: identifying how deer are moving through the area, wind, and how to access my stand.
Identify How Deer Area Moving Through The Area
One of the common mistakes that I see hunters make is just randomly putting a stand on a field edge or placing their stand so that they can see more area. Yes, you will probably see deer by doing this but majority of the time the action will be several hundred yards away and out of range.
This is where scouting and identifying how the deer are moving through the area comes in. Once I have identified how deer are entering and exiting a field or moving through a block of timber, I will hang my stand along these travel corridors.
When I started employing this tactic the number of deer I saw decreased but the amount of deer that I had within range dramatically increased, including mature bucks.
Using the Wind
The next key factor in choosing your deer stand location is the wind. When selecting the tree for your stand make sure you are on the downwind side of the deer. The whitetail deer depends on its nose to detect and avoid danger and will often smell you and be gone before you ever knew they were close.
In my earlier years of deer hunting and bowhunting I never paid much thought to the wind. This was during the time when scent control products were starting to gain popularity and I thought that by using them I could neglect the wind. Boy was I wrong. Yes, scent control products are effective to a certain extent but are not a 100% guarantee.
Once I started taking note and using the wind in my hunting and deer stand location strategy, the number of deer I would see on a hunt increased along with my success of harvesting mature bucks.
Access Route to Stand Location
The last and possible most important factor in choosing your deer stand location is access. If you are not able to access your stand without alerting the deer to your presence, then your hunt is often over before you ever climb the tree.
Before you hang your stand think about factors such as where the deer are bedding or feeding and how they are moving from one to the other. Can you access your stand location without going through or crossing these areas? If not, you may want to reevaluate your stand location.
The wind also plays a role in determining how you should access a stand. Make sure that the route you take to get to your stand allows you to stay on the down wind side of where the deer are and their trails.
Best Locations for Deer Stands
Understanding the best locations for your deer stand, whether it’s early-season, rut or late-season, can dramatically improve your hunting success. Explore our insights on how to capitalize on these spots and set up your stands in prime locations for an optimal hunt.
The Early-Season Stand
The early-season stand is key for deer hunting. During this time, a lot of deer activity happens around food sources. Bachelor groups of whitetail bucks stay near these spots in the early season.
Here in Kentucky, I have the most success hunting soybean fields that are still green and in the later part of the early season over cut corn fields. During the early season bucks are still on the bedding to feeding patterns and can be easier to pattern than during the rut.
Just setting up near food isn’t enough though! You also need to remember what we talked about earlier in regard to the wind and access. If the deer smells you, your hunt could be over before it even starts.
The Perfect Rut Stand
During the rut I have found good success in locating my stands in funnels or pinch points and the downwind side of doe bedding areas. This time of year, bucks are on the move looking for a hot doe making these areas great stand locations.
Deer are like us and will often take the path of least resistance from point A to point B. These areas of least resistance are often referred to as funnels and pinch points. The downwind side of these locations make for great stand locations during the rut.
Bucks will also cruise the downwind side of doe bedding areas during the rut and scent check for a hot doe. Look for trails in these types of areas for stand locations. While hunting these areas, I personally don’t see a lot of deer but the majority of the deer I do see are bucks.
Wind direction is still a top factor here too. Always set your stand in such a way that the wind won’t blow your scent towards them! With careful planning, even restless rutting deer can fall into your trap at this prime time of year!
The Late-Season Stand
In the late season, once the rut is over, deer switch into survival mode. They start a feeding frenzy to bulk up for winter. I often employ the same strategies that I use during the early season in the late season.
Trail cameras can be your best friend here by helping confirm high what food sources deer are hitting the most. During the late season I will often employ a mobile approach and wait until I find a buck I want to harvest using a food source. Once I have determined the bucks pattern and the best place to hunt him through glassing and the use of trail cameras, I will go in for the hunt.
Remember though, just because you don’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t nearby! Patience is key during this stage of hunting season.
Choosing the right deer stand location is a big part of hunting. It matters where and how you set it up. You need to know the land, watch the wind, and pick the right tree among many other things.
So keep learning and trying until you find your best spot!