What is the Best Hang and Hunt Setup for Deer Hunting?

How to Effectively Use a Hang and Hunt Setup

There are so many different kinds of deer hunting strategies you can use during the season. From spot and stalk approaches to deer drives to setting up in ambush locations, there’s something for nearly everyone. But depending on the tree cover and habitat in your hunting area, you may or may not have tried hang on stands in the past. Maybe you’re intimidated by them or don’t think they could be used in a true hang and hunt setup. But here’s how a few members of the Hunting Public use this strategy to consistently sneak in close to bedded deer and kill mature bucks. We’ll discuss the benefits of this approach, the best way to pack it into the woods, how to hang a tree stand, other essential hunting gear, and how to adjust your hunting tactics based on different areas.

But first, what exactly are we talking about when we say hang and hunt setup? This is a scenario where you want to quietly sneak in on the day of your hunt to hang a tree stand and then immediately climb up and start deer hunting. For this specific situation, we’re also defining it as using a hang on stand versus other types of tree stands (you don’t really “hang” ladder stands or climbers, do you?). Hang on stands, or lock on stands, consist of simple platforms with chairs that you attach to the tree of your choice with ratchet straps and cables. The chairs may be simple platforms themselves or comfortable mesh backs. Muddy® has several hang on stand options, including the Boss Elite AL or Original Muddy Boss XL. To get up into them, you need to attach several ladder sections (also called “climbing sticks”) to the tree – also using ratchet straps or rope. Some examples from Muddy® include the Pro Climbing Sticks or Ascender sticks.

Benefit Over Other Options

So what makes this hang and hunt setup better or more appropriate than other tree stands or options? There are several reasons below, but at its simplest, you couldn’t really call it a hang and hunt setup if you were propping up a ladder stand, could you?

  • Tower stands and box blinds work great for hiding your movement and scent from deer, but they are obviously not very quiet to install. You will probably have to use tractors or heavy machinery to install them, which will likely put the local deer on high alert for at least the rest of that day. 
  • While ladder stands are somewhat mobile, they’re certainly not mobile in a hurry. They are also fairly loud to cart around through the woods and you definitely need a partner to do it. Moving one around would make it tough to hunt that area the same day, so it’s not ideal for this hunting application. 
  • Climbing stands are the other obvious mobile tree stand option besides the hang and hunt setup. After all, climbing tree stands are also quiet, easy to carry and use, and you can hunt as soon as you climb into them. But they are limited to straight and limbless trees under a certain diameter. If you live in an area with a lot of old gnarly oaks and cottonwoods, you know that climbers are fairly useless for you. 
  • Last, although you can quickly and quietly move ground blinds, they may spook the deer slightly if they’re not used to seeing them. You might be able to get away with that approach just by brushing them in well, but you would have to be very quiet doing so.

Importantly, a lot of this does come down to your own hunting preferences. Depending on which type of hunter you are and the area you hunt in, one of these other tree stands or blind options might appeal to you more. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they will be easy or good to hunt the same day you put it up.

How to Pack a Hang On Stand

In the video below, two members of the Hunting Public show you exactly how they use the hang and hunt setup to consistently kill mature deer each season, even sneaking in close to bedding areas. They’ve used it for many years with great success, and you can too. After the video, we’ll break it down further for you.

As you can see, it’s totally possible to pack a hang on stand and some climbing sticks on your back. You can easily bring it with you into remote locations, set up your stand, and hunt it without ever being noticed. Here’s the process they discussed broken down into several smaller steps.

You have a few options for carrying a tree stand and climbing sticks for a hang and hunt setup. The sturdiest and probably quietest option is to use the first method demonstrated in the video above. Using a ratchet strap, you can stack 2 or 3 climbing sticks together on each side of the tree stand platform (or 4 or 5 all in one stack), and then secure them all together. This approach makes no noise when you shake it, and you definitely won’t lose a climbing stick while walking in – plus, it leaves your hands free to carry your bow or rifle as you go just in case you get the chance to shoot a deer. Of course, if you’re not comfortable using a ratchet strap because you think it will be too loud to operate, you could also use bungee cords or even rope to strap everything together. It just might not be as quiet and secure.

Alternatively, you could stack all the climbing sticks together and ratchet strap them together to carry them separately. The downside to that approach, of course, is that you then can’t carry your weapon as easily. Another option they mention in the video above is a product called Stick Talons, which allows you to connect your climbing sticks to your stand platform in a few different configurations.

How to Hang a Stand

Next, you’ll need to know how to hang a tree stand by yourself. Once you get everything back into your hunting area, you need to keep your guard up more than ever. Accidentally banging it against a tree or letting the climbing sticks clang together will not help your chances of seeing a mature buck. As Aaron and Zach said in the video above, you can silently hang a tree stand yourself – it just takes a little more time and patience. Here’s the general process you should follow when doing a hang and hunt setup on your own.

First, make sure you are wearing a safety harness throughout the process of hanging your tree stand and hunting – it is an essential piece of your hang and hunt setup. You might be asking yourself, “Are lock on stands safe?” When used correctly, the answer is absolutely yes. But any time you leave the ground, you are taking a risk. So before you hang your first climbing stick on the tree, attach your safety harness to the trunk and periodically move it up with you as you climb.

As for hanging tree stand hacks, you can also tie ropes from your safety harness to each ladder section and your tree stand. That way, you can just pull up additional pieces as you go instead of climbing up and down each time. As you make your way up the tree, attach additional climbing sticks to whatever height you want to hang your stand at, making sure you thoroughly seat them on the tree by pushing down on them. When it’s time to hang your stand platform, pull it up and use the ratchet straps to attach it, again making sure you thoroughly push down on it. Of course, you also then need to know how to get in a hang on tree stand. Your last and highest climbing stick should be located directly underneath your tree stand platform. Use the platform to climb up into it, making sure you stay connected to the tree via your safety harness at all times.

Hang on stands are great for public land hunting because you can easily bring everything back with you, quickly set it up, and start hunting in short order. When you’re done for the day, you can pack it all back with you, since some public lands don’t allow you to keep stands on them. And again, you’re not limited by the kinds of trees present either.

Other Essential Hunting Gear

After you hang your tree stand, the idea is that you can start hunting immediately. That means you not only have to pack your tree stand and climbing sticks in – you also have to carry everything else you might need for a deer hunt. If you’re planning on only hunting a single afternoon on your own property, you don’t have to carry as much gear as you shouldn’t get lost and won’t need much. But if you’re hiking miles back on new public land, you should plan on packing food, water, and navigational help just in case you get lost. Here are a few essential hunting items you should pack with you on any given hunt. 

  • Backpack (quiet material with lots of gear loops) 
  • Hunting knife 
  • License 
  • Extra ratchet straps and ropes 
  • Compass and map 
  • Water and snacks 
  • Clothing layers to suit the weather conditions 
  • Various deer calls (grunt call, doe can call, etc.) 
  • Scent elimination sprays or cover sprays 
  • Deer scents

Hang and Hunt Tactics

The last part of this hang and hunt setup is being in the right area so you can actually kill a deer – that is one of the goals, right? The deer hunting tactics you use will depend greatly on the area you are hunting in. For example, public lands will likely require you to move your stand with you wherever you go. On the other hand, if you’re hunting on private land, you could set up several hang on stands throughout your property and just bounce around between them depending on the weather conditions and wind.  Here are a few ideas for you as you prepare to go hunting.

Public Land Big Woods 

For heavily wooded public properties, you usually can’t effectively hunt feeding areas (since deer can browse throughout a broad area), so you need to depend on bedding areas or travel routes. If you’re bow hunting, you will need to be closer to the deer action than when hunting with a rifle or shotgun. A good way to do that is to set your tree stands about 15 to 20 yards away from major deer trails, especially if the trails come out of good bedding areas. During the middle of the day, you can quietly sneak into one of these areas without getting too close to the bedding area. After taking your time to set it up quietly, wait for the deer to file out of the bedding area along one of the trails. As long as you are high enough or in a tree with good branch structure and cover, the deer shouldn’t notice you.

Private Agricultural Areas 

When you’re hunting on private land, especially those with agricultural fields or food plots in the region, your tactics and hang and hunt setup will change a bit. In these areas you can depend on deer traffic within and to fields and food plots where they will feed in the evening. As mentioned, you could hang several tree stands ahead of time in this situation. But sometimes you just need to try a new location because the deer are using a different approach or the wind isn’t right for your other areas. In that case, you can quietly bring a hang on stand to your desired area, quickly set it up, and hunt the deer as they come to feed.

Get Started

So if the approach above sounds like it would work for you, grab your tree stand, climbing sticks, and bow or rifle, and head out to the woods. It’s not too late to use this hang and hunt setup and strategy this year. And if you take your time setting things up, you shouldn’t spook many deer in the process either.

 

tree stands for public land | Muddy Outdoors

The Perfect Tree Stands For Public Land Hunting

2 Perfect Tree Stands for Public Land

With deer season approaching you may be feeling the pressure to start figuring out your hunting properties. While some deer hunters might stick to the old routine properties and the same “killing tree” their father’s father used to hunt, you might be considering something differently entirely. This is the year you swore to tackle public land, and you might seriously be questioning whether or not that is a good move. Listen, we get it…that large chunk of forestry or that hefty section of public land calls to hunters all too often, but it takes a special hunter to hear that call and actually pursue it. Why? Besides hunting pressure, public land deer hunting is just a plain, flat-out struggle mainly due to hauling in gear great distances. The number one piece of gear that causes the most grief is the tree stand. Luckily, we have the perfect tree stands for public land hunting.

Tree Stands For Public Land Hunting

The number one issue with tree stands for public land hunting is weight. To get to the deer, hunters must bushwhack into the interior or far reaches of the public land. Doing this with 30+ lbs. might as well be impossible or be called “training” and not hunting due to the energy and activity required. Trimming the weight down on tree stands, in order to make them perfect tree stands for public ground is difficult, but not impossible. Trimming weight is easy, but trimming weight while at the same time keeping the stand safe and comfortable is a challenge. With this in mind, muddy has created two perfect tree stands for public land.

Light Hang-on Tree Stand and Climbing Stick Combo

The first of the tree stands for public ground is what is shown in the video above, the Muddy Vantage Point Hang-on. The Muddy Vantage Point is only an astonishing 13 lbs. which should ring beautifully in the ears of any public land hunter. In addition to this hang-on stand, a hunter will need climbing sticks. The Muddy Pro climbing sticks offer very lightweight but sturdy climbing sticks that have a single characteristic that make them perfect for public land. Together the Muddy Vantage Point and Pro climbing sticks are “packable”. They are designed to fit onto one another like a glove, making a quiet and comfortable design that can be slung on your back and tracked in miles without issue.

hang-on tree stands for public land | Muddy Outdoorshang-on sticks tree stands for public land | Muddy Outdoors

PRODUCT SPECS

  • CONSTRUCTION: Aluminum;
  • FOOT PLATFORM: 20″ Wide x 32″ Deep;
  • FOOTREST: Flips Back;
  • SEAT SIZE:15″ Wide x 11″ Deep;
  • SEAT STYLE: 3″ Triplex Foam, Waterproof, Flips Back, Removable;
  • SEAT HEIGHT: 24″;
  • ADJUSTABLE ANGLE: Foot & Seat Platform;
  • PACKABLE: 2 Backpack Straps Included; Designed to Pack with Several Compatible Muddy Climbing Systems (sold separately);
  • FASTENERS: 1 – 1″ Silent Cam-Buckle, 1 – 1″ Looped Ratchet Strap;
  • ACCESSORY BAG: Included;
  • STAND WEIGHT: 13 Lbs;
  • TREE SIZE: Minimum 9″ Diameter;
  • WEIGHT RATING: 350 Lbs;
  • HARNESS: Full Body Fall Arrest Harness Included

Climbing Tree Stands For Public Land

Climbing tree stands have always been a favorite among public land deer hunters. The simple combination of 2 pieces of equipment allows the hunter to quickly scale a tree without the hassle of spending a lot of time hanging stands, or climbing sticks. The issue most hunters have with climbing stands is again weight but also a struggle to climb up the tree as a result of poor design. Some climbers simply do not have the right design as far as teeth and foot straps to actually create a good climbing stand. Again Muddy, with the hunter in mind, designed and created a climbing tree stand for public land hunting.

The Stalker Climbing Tree Stand from Muddy weighs only 15lbs. as it is built from Aluminum. This feature, with the hybrid climbing chains and with well-designed tree teeth will grip the tree for a solid climb up.

climbing tree stands for public land | Muddy OutdoorsPRODUCT SPECS

  • CONSTRUCTION: Aluminum;
  • FOOT PLATFORM: 20″ W x 28″ D;
  • SEAT SIZE: 21″ Wide with Adjustable Depth;
  • SEAT STYLE: Nylon Net;
  • SEAT HEIGHT: Adjustable;
  • CLIMBING SYSTEM: 2X Hybrid Climbing Chains;
  • PACKABLE: Folds flat, 2 Backpack Straps Included;
  • FASTENERS: 2X Hybrid Climbing Chains w/ Spring Bolt Knob, 1-1″ Cam-Buckle Straps;
  • PADDING: Armrests & Seat Bar Padded for Extra Comfort;
  • STAND WEIGHT: 15 LBS; TREE SIZE: Minimum 9″ Diameter;
  • WEIGHT RATING: 300 LBS;
  • HARNESS: Full Body Fall Arrest Harness Included

If you plan on tackling public land this year then you need to the tools for the job. Whether you prefer a hang-on tree stand, or a climbing tree stand, muddy has the perfect tree stands for public land deer hunting

bow hunting deer hunting plot | Muddy Outdoors

How to Plant a Hunting Plot for Bow Hunting Deer

Bow Hunting Deer Made Simpler with the Right Food Plots

Do you know the absolute best way to guarantee you’ll see deer from your bow hunting tree stands this fall? Alright, we don’t either. If someone knew that, they sure aren’t sharing it with anyone. But there is one method you can rely upon to increase the attraction of your hunting area, particularly as it applies to bow hunting deer. The simple trick is to set your deer stands in strategic places near hunting food plots, or plant these hunting plots near a great tree stand.

How To Plant Fall Food Plots | Steps To Create A Hunting Plot
Fall is on its way, now is the time to follow these steps on how to plant fall food plots and hunting plots.

 

That sounds simple enough. So where do most hunters go wrong? There are usually two culprits for this problem. One, the food plots or corn/bean fields are usually too big or too exposed to really hunt effectively without spooking game animals (especially whitetails) from them routinely. The second issue is that tree stands are often hung in places that might offer great shots, but they can’t be accessed without alerting deer to your entry and exits. This is pretty much a no-win scenario for eager bow hunters. Let’s look at the right way to use food plots for bow hunting deer below.

What is a Hunting Plot?

bow hunting deer hunting plot | Muddy OutdoorsA hunting food plot is different than a large agricultural food plot in a few ways. Hunting plots are small in size (i.e., less than ½ acre) to make sure you can kill a deer from anywhere within them. Your deer hunting stand locations should be in strategic places that work well for ambushing animals. And they should usually be planted in highly attractive food plot species, such as brassicas, peas, annual clovers, or cereal grains. This combination makes them perfect for bow hunting deer.

Size is important for these plots, as anything over ½ acre really limits your ability to shoot across them with a bow, unless your food plot is a narrow and winding lane. Their small size also means that you should be able to sneak into and out of your tree stands for bow hunting, since the chance of running into a deer is slim in a smaller area. One way to further sweeten a plot is to add a mineral site nearby. They should be tucked into tight cover to allow you to stealthily approach and stay concealed while in your hunting tree stands. Last, the species you plant are important. For hunting plots, you want your plot to be the most palatable and attractive food option in the neighborhood when archery season opens. That means quick-growing (usually annuals), highly digestible, protein- and carbohydrate-packed species like those listed above.

How to Plant a Food Plot for Bow Hunting Deer 

Now that we’ve defined what it is you should aim for, let’s talk about how to make a food plot. First, you’ll need to find a spot like we described above. It could be a small woodland opening, an old trail, or a brushy corner of a larger agricultural field. Whatever works for your plan of attack. Then you’ll need to clear the existing vegetation using chainsaws, brush saws, mowers, weed-whippers, and/or herbicide. Make sure to leave a fringe of cover around the edges, if possible, and definitely don’t remove potential trees for bow hunting deer out of!

After you clear the area, you have a few options. Depending on how much soil is exposed, you could simply rake the area clean of leaves and debris, burn the residue off, or simply disc everything under (a garden rototiller works fine for such small plots). Once the soil is exposed, you could test it using a soil testing kit from the store to be most accurate. Or for these small plots, you could just wing it. It will almost certainly need some lime or calcium spray to raise the pH of the soil, and you should also scatter a couple 50 pound bags of general 10-10-10 or 13-13-13 fertilizer to raise the nutrient level. Then the really fun part begins.

Whether you plant the species we mentioned above or do your own homemade food plot mix, it’s important to consider when to plant food plots. If the archery season opens in late September, but you don’t plan to be bow hunting deer until mid-October, time your planting to be at peak attraction when you’ll physically be out in the woods. How? Look at the days to peak maturity on the seed you’re planting, and count back from the day you’ll start hunting. That will give you the earliest time you should plant your hunting plot. You can plant them a little later than this date too, as young plants are very attractive, but the plots may be over-browsed quickly due to their size. Using this strategy, you can really produce some quick and easy food plots for hunting.

Where to Hang Your Best Bow Hunting Stands? 

bow hunting deer hunting plot | Muddy OutdoorsNow the third piece of the hunting plot puzzle; where should you set up your bow hunting deer stands? If you planned the shape right, there should be a suitable tree standing in heavy cover within 10 yards of the edge of the plot. You don’t want it right on the edge so that it completely sticks out, and that’s also where the heavy cover comes into play for camouflage purposes. You’ll want to be able to sneak into the plot quietly using a cleared access trail, and then silently climb into your stand to hunt mornings and evenings.

The Muddy Outdoors Sportsman lock on stand is perfect for this setup. Then in the early afternoon hours of your first hunt, you can hang the Sportsman tree stand and get comfortable. The seat flips back so you have full use of the platform to have a steady bow stance.

Conclusion

While there’s no way to absolutely guarantee you’ll get a Pope and Young buck while bow hunting deer in these plots, using this method will substantially raise your hunting effectiveness. And that’s at least something to celebrate.

hunting big woods bucks in wilderness settings | Muddy Outdoors

Hunting Big Woods Bucks in Wilderness Settings

Tricks and Tips for Finding and Hunting Big Woods Bucks

There’s nothing quite like a truly remote, wilderness hunt for whitetails. After traversing miles on foot, you settle into a hunting site with promising sign. You can’t hear or see any sign of humanity – nothing but the sounds of nature around you. When you do see a deer, you know it probably hasn’t seen many people in its lifetime.  That’s the beauty of hunting big woods bucks.

What is Wilderness?

While you can still find some remote wilderness areas out west and certainly further north, it’s harder and harder today to find a truly remote area in the eastern half of the United States. Development and increasing road and trail networks are shrinking the natural areas of the world. But you owe it to yourself to seek the remaining ones out. You don’t have to make a trek to Alaska to find one either. We’ll define a wilderness area here as a spot without human disturbance (e.g., building, road, or trail, etc.) within one mile. Most people aren’t willing to walk a mile through the woods to get to their hunting spot. In fact, most stay within ¼ mile of a trail. So in many ways, hunting big woods bucks opens up additional hunting opportunities for you.

hunting big woods bucks in wilderness settings | Muddy Outdoors

It might seem like going through all the extra work would actually limit your hunting opportunities. But remote areas often have “good hunting” for hunting big woods bucks for a few reasons. First, the deer there are mostly unpressured since nobody takes the time to hunt them. As long as you hunt them smartly, that doesn’t have to change either. Two, since they are unpressured, they follow pretty normal and easy-to-distinguish patterns. This makes them a little easier to hunt in the long run. And third, these areas can often act as sanctuaries for gun-shy deer. By being in the right place at the right time, you could find yourself surrounded by deer when they get pushed from the easily-accessible areas.

How to Deer Hunt in Remote Areas

Let’s look at a few details you should consider when you decide you want to start hunting big woods bucks. Whether you’re completely new to the area or you’re somewhat familiar with it, there are a few things you shouldn’t overlook.

Getting to Your Destination

Depending on where you’ll be hunting big woods bucks, you may be able to simply walk out your back door to a remote area. More than likely, though, you’ll have to drive somewhere first. You may be able to take an ATV down a trail to where you want to park it for the day, and then set out from there on foot. But no matter what, you’ll be walking. A lot. Make sure you have good hunting boots and break them in before the season starts. A mile walked through the woods is very different than a mile walked on a sidewalk. There are obstacles to navigate around and uneven terrain to trip you up. Practice with a loaded backpack in the pre-season months, so you know what to expect.

The other thing about hunting big woods bucks is that the places they live are usually very hard to get to. Not just because they are a mile back in the woods, but because they are often separated from the trail or road by a marsh, stream, or river. In these cases, the sanctuary effect is even more pronounced. Big whitetail bucks love these areas because they know they should be secure there. Make sure you bring waders or a canoe so you can cross the obstacle and get where you need to be. Again, that might seem like a lot of work to commit to for the chance to see a deer. But that’s the reason the deer hunting should be better on the other side; nobody but the ambitious wants to go through that work.

Navigating a mile back in the woods does require some basic woodsmanship skills. You should be comfortable using a map, compass, and terrain/topography features if you’re going to do this, especially if you’re in unfamiliar territory. Otherwise, wandering around a remote section of woods could turn into a very long and potentially dangerous day. Alternatively (and where legal), you could cut a small access trail or mark it with reflective pegs or flagging tape so you can find your way back and forth easily. But the problem with that is that it just opens up the possibility that someone else will follow it. Making it easier for you will also make it easier for everyone else. And the last thing you want to do is clue everyone else in on your plans to go deer hunting big woods bucks.

What Kind of Tree Stand?

During typical tree stand hunting, you can easily pack a lot of gear with and be comfortable all day. But hiking a mile or more back into the woods means your options are somewhat limited. Since you can’t carry a lot with you, you need to be able to either hunt on the ground, using a ground blind or relying on excellent camouflage clothing, or carry a lightweight climbing tree stand with you. You could also use lock on stands if you want another lightweight option. It is critical in these situations to hang the stands carefully and quietly. You can quickly alert every deer around on a calm morning if you’re not careful. That would defeat the purpose of even having a tree stand for hunting big woods bucks in the first place.

hunting big woods bucks in wilderness settings | Muddy OutdoorsThe Stalker Climber is a very lightweight climbing option by Muddy Outdoors that anyone who plans on tree stand hunting can appreciate. It is crafted from lightweight aluminum and features sturdy backpack straps to haul it with you wherever you go. This versatility and ability to bring it with you on remote trips makes it one of the best tree stands for hunting.

Finding the right tree will be just as important if you’re tree stand hunting. You need to be able to see a good distance from up in the tree, and have enough openings to shoot through when the opportunity arises. Particularly when you’re bow hunting, you’ll need enough room to thread arrows through the brush. However, all of this is really hard to see in the pre-dawn blackness. For that reason, it would be much easier to do all of this if you could go out and scout before your hunting season starts, so you know what the area looks like.

Scouting whitetail deer in these areas is a delicate process. You don’t want to tromp around so much that you leave lots of human scent everywhere. That would again ruin your chances of sneaking into and hunting a remote area. The king of big buck hunting tips is to remain as invisible as possible, including when you’re scouting. Try to find out as much about the area from aerial photographs as you can, so you can target only the best-looking spots to hunt. If you find a couple promising trees that would work for tree stand hunting, you could flag them or use reflective pegs to easily find them with your headlamp. If you’re using climbing stands, you’ll also need to find a straight-trunked tree with few or no branches in the lower half in order to climb it well. Whereas, if the area you’re hunting in had lots of mature trees with branches along the trunk (e.g., white oaks), lock on tree stands may be a better option.

How to Hunt Deer

Bear in mind, you’ll have to leave very early in the morning to get to a spot and get your stand hung before daylight in one of these areas. The sheer distance and effort required is something you’ll underestimate the first couple times, so add 10-20% onto whatever time estimate you come up with. Otherwise, you’ll probably show up at your hunting tree stand after the sun is up. Similarly, it will take a long time to get back in the evening, so plan accordingly. Because they are so far away, it really only makes sense to hunt a spot like this if you hunt all day. That way, you can make the most use of the effort it takes to get there.

In order to do that and remain comfortable all day, be sure to bring along high-nutrition foods and snacks, as well as enough water. Especially if you’re bow hunting big whitetail bucks in the early season, you may also need to bring insect nets or repellents. And please don’t forget to bring a urinal bottle and toilet paper! There are no outhouses in the wilderness.

Packing Deer Out of Public Land or Wilderness

hunting big woods bucks in wilderness settings | Muddy OutdoorsIf you follow the steps above and luck out while hunting big bucks, take a moment and congratulate yourself! You’ll have accomplished something few can do. But the reality is that the real work now begins. Remember how hard the walk in was? Now you get to do it while dragging a mature buck behind you, plus your hunting gear. There are no ATVs, side by sides, or trucks to make the journey any easier. And dragging a deer across the ground for a mile can ruin the hide and introduce debris into the chest cavity, compromising the meat quality. Besides that, it’s a heck of a lot of work. The Mule Game Cart by Muddy Outdoors is a perfect companion for a trip like this. You can haul your tree stand and other hunting gear with you on the way in. And if you manage to tag out while bow hunting big bucks, the game cart is rated to 500 pounds, so you can haul the deer and your gear back out at the same time. As long as you don’t have to thread the cart through dense brush or tree cover, it’s a great option.

If you were wondering how to go deer hunting in remote areas, hopefully you’ll be more encouraged to try it now. It does take more work to hunting big woods bucks, but the reward can often be worth the effort.

Tree Stands and Hunting Blinds Preparing for Next Season | Muddy Outdoors

Tree Stands and Ground Blinds | Essential Preparation for Next Season

Spring Maintenance for Deer Tree Stands and Portable Ground Blinds

Hunting stand and blind maintenance is an afterthought for most hunters after the completion of a long deer season. Hunters are often preparing for spring gobbler or dusting off their trout rods for opening day in anticipation of warming spring weather. Spring, however, is an ideal time of year for revisiting your hunting spot and either removing or inspecting your tree stands. Take this break between outdoor activities to return to your tree stand locations, pull and/or inspect stands or prepare your pop-up ground blinds for turkey season or storage until next deer season.

Pulling Portable Tree Stands

The first thought before engaging in any activity involving hunting stands should be safety. Always approach climbing into your stand the same way, whether for a day long hunt or spring removal, safety first using proper safety belts and harnesses and general awareness on what you are about to do. Don’t take anything for granted, even ladder tree stands have risks associated with climbing and removal.

Portable stands, like hang-on tree stands and ladder tree stands, are best maintained by removing them after each hunting season. Not only does pulling your tree stands reduce weathering effects from temperature and precipitation but in some states it is illegal to keep your hunting stands on public grounds after each season. Having the stand on the ground gives you the opportunity to completely evaluate and repair all aspects of your stand and tree stand accessories such as climbing sticks or shooting rails.

Tree Stands and Hunting Blinds Preparing for Next Season | Muddy Outdoors

Maintenance Activities

  • Visually inspect your tree stands for signs of metal fatigue like stress cracks, especially in older stands.
  • Check each nut and bolt, tighten (or replace if necessary) any that may have loosen from use.
  • Proactively fight rust by priming and repainting areas showing signs of rust or parts that have been nicked or scratched from use to prevent further damage.
  • Examine cables, straps and pins for wear. Replace stand straps as needed or based on manufacturer recommendations, which is typically every two years.
  • Care for seats by checking for rips or tears. Cushioned seats are notorious for animal damage and wear faster than unpadded nylon seats.
  • Clean dirt and debris from climbing sticks, shooting rails or other accessories before storing.
  • Check safety systems for wear. Most harnesses have a lifespan of 5 years and should be replaced if older or if showing signs of wear that may impact performance.

Although safety is the most important reason for checking your hunting tree stands, maintaining stands also helps to improve your hunting experience. Rusty platforms and ladders along with loose bolts create noise that could be the difference between a successful hunt and one that sees your trophy running the other way as you move for a shot. Squeaks and other noises can be detected in stand and noted or attach your stand a few feet up in a tree at home. Move around your platform, lift the seat up and down and use the shooting rail to identify areas of noise and treat with a lubricant where applicable.

Parts that need replaced should be done with replacement parts from the manufacturer to preserve operating capability. Certain parts have specific specifications for their use and are designed for safety, using other parts may reduce safety or stand performance. Even the best hunting tree stands have a life span. Repairs can only go so far, know when a stand has exceeded its life, retire it and purchase a new one.

Neglecting Permanent Hunting Tree Stands

We all have it, our favorite deer hunting tree stand in that perfect location that you hunt year after year. Or perhaps it is a tried and true permanent stand along a field edge. Unlike portable tree stands, these stands stay out year round and often get overlooked when it comes to maintenance yet they still require upkeep to ensure safe hunts. Visually inspect for sturdiness on ladders or steps, rust on metal platforms, missing or loose bolts at connection points or worn strap on trees. Store any seats to prevent weathering or animal damage and loosen straps to allow for tree growth over the course of the growing season. Note any maintenance issues, acquire replacement parts and repair as needed so each stand is prepared for the start of next season. It is also a good idea to re-check permanent hunting stands prior to hunting the fall season to tighten straps and confirm the stand is safe and ready for your next hunt.

Ground Blind Preparation

Blinds like The Redemption Ground Blind by Muddy Outdoors are becoming more and more popular each season with hunters. Although constructed of durable, long lasting fabric these modern hunting implements still require care after each season and are often overlooked. Check tie down ropes as well as the shell itself for any signs of wear. Deer only blinds should be cleaned with a damp rag to remove dirt and grim from outdoor exposure and stored in the carry bag until next season. Prepare those that will be used in spring turkey by wiping down and checking that internal frames are fully functional.

Muddy Outdoors | Redemption Ground Blind Hub Style Set Up
(Video)- The Redemption Ground Blind by Muddy Outdoors is constructed with durable, long lasting fabric, and has extremely easy set up for reliable and portable use.

Secondary Benefits to Stand Maintenance

Unless you will be pulling your stand and opting for a new setup in the coming season, spring can be an opportunity to enhance your hunting location. The lack of vegetation gives you the same prospective you will see hunting in the fall. Take advantage and trim existing shooting lanes or create new ones by removing branches or small trees that may impeed future shots. If a portable hunting blind is more to your liking, make sure setup locations are free of debris and clear shots are available from all shooting windows. Be sure to preserve a balance between shooting lanes and concealment. Completing these activities in the spring also eliminates additional work, scent and disturbance in the critical weeks leading up to deer season. All that is left is a few snips on any new growth when you return to hang your stand or place your blind.

Tree Stands and Hunting Blinds Preparing for Next Season | Muddy OutdoorsShooting lanes are important but don’t forget about entry and exit points to your hunting spot. While pulling you stand or checking your set location, trim your trails. Clear fallen branches from winter and widen trails to avoid scent and noise that may spook game as you enter and exit during hunting season.

Reflect on the past season and determine if that tree or blind location is the best spot for success. Perhaps there is a better tree or setup based on your hunting experiences last season. Spring gives you the flexibility to analyze slowly and make decisions without the added pressure of deer season approaching and the stress of late summer heat and creepy crawlers.

Tree stands and hunting blinds are a tool and like any tool they require maintenance to perform as designed. Post season, spring-time is a great opportunity to get into the woods again. Revisit you hunting stand locations to remove and maintain your portable stands, check your permanent stands, care for blinds and spruce up your hunting locations, all in preparation for future successful and safe hunts.