If you have been hunting very long, you realize how important tree stand placement is. On any given piece of real estate, deer travel differently at different stages of the season. There are several contributing factors to this – food sources, weather, water availability, and the rut. Since we are talking about early season, I want to talk about four fundamentals of tree stand placement that will increase your odds of success in the early season.
The first fundamental is about basic tree stand placement. You have to know what trees are good for tree stands. Try to find a tree that is in close proximity to where the deer are traveling; if you’re not close you can’t kill them. Find a tree that is tall enough for you to get out of the line of sight of the deer. If the tree you are choosing is down in a draw or at the bottom of a hill that deer come over towards you, then you need to hang your stands high. Also, find a tree that has good back cover so you are not sky-lighted. A good way to check this is to go to the trail where you believe the majority of the deer will be traveling and simply look up to where your tree stand will be. If you do not have adequate back cover any move you make has the potential to blow your cover! Mature deer, regardless if it is a buck or a doe will pick you off in a second and there goes your chances of harvesting those delicious back straps or wrapping your hands around that trophy rack!
Also, you have got to know your wind. Know the prevailing winds in your area for each part of your season. For us they are predominately south in the early season and shift to the north in the later season. You must play the wind when you’re hunting deer! There are no products on the market that completely eliminate human odor! Deer have incredible noses and will wind you and be gone if you do not place your stands up wind from where you intend to harvest them!
The second fundamental is locate your bedding areas. Deer are creatures of habit. Almost all deer have bedding areas where they consistently sleep. You have got to locate these areas to be successful in the early season or any part of the season for that matter. Deer will travel from these areas in the evening to a food or water source and then back to them in the morning. If you are going to place your stands in the right areas then you need to know where your deer are bedding. Deer prefer dense, well covered areas for this. They can rest in safety there. Also, try not to go through these areas often because if they lose their sense of security they will go somewhere else to find it…off of your property and on to your neighbors. Set your tree stands up in between your bedding areas and your food or water sources.
The last fundamental is to locate your food and water sources. Deer have got to eat and they have got to drink during the hot early season. They are trying to put on body weight that they are going to need to get through the rut and the cold winter. Their fat reserves are the key to their survival. Also, all deer have to have water. If you live in an area where there is not much water in the early season, then you need to have some stands set up near your water sources. The deer will come in there. Also, in the mornings it is a good place to set up because deer will visit these water holes after they leave the food source on the way back to their bedding areas. I have a place picked out right now that I am setting up a ground blind that is just like this!
I hope these early season tree stand fundamentals will help you bring home the back strap and satisfy your hunger for that buck of a lifetime! I hope all you send me pictures and tell me stories of your early season successes! God bless!