Proper Stand Approach

Proper Stand Approach

By: Heath Wood

Whenever my coworkers and I would gather around reminiscing about past hunting adventures, the oldest of our group would be lingering around in the background, listening to our stories. He was an older man who worked a few days a week, only to have something to do. Yet, he was full of knowledge on football, baseball, and my favorite, deer hunting. After hearing our stories of past hunts, he would always chime in to give his opinion and tell us how people hunted in his earlier years. After the gentleman took me to his house one day to show off his trophy wall, I decided I should probably pay attention to his strategies, judging from the quality of deer displayed on his walls.

Out of ten plus years working with this gentleman before he sadly passed away, one of the best pieces of deer hunting advice that he shared was how he approached his stands in the mornings and left them when the hunt was over. It was unique in the way that he was sitting in his stand, ready to go, two hours before first light. His dedication and attention to detail paid off for him by harvesting multiple mature bucks in his lifetime.

Proper Stand Approach

One of the biggest mistakes made by hunters is pressuring deer away from their area hunting. When trying to harvest a mature buck, whether with a bow or rifle, the more painstaking effort one puts out, the more likely they will succeed. Three things can cause pressure. The deer see, smell, or hear something they do not like, alarming them enough to spook out away from the hunter. The older gentlemen that I had the privilege to work with spoke of stand approach often. He explained that he would sneak his way into his treestand two to three hours before daylight so that he didn’t push away any deer. He still had time for the woods to calm back down before legal shooting light when he performed this maneuver.

Approaching Your Stand

Approaching the stand correctly is vital to keep mature bucks in the area where you are hunting. Having an entrance and exit route that is the shortest distance isn’t always the most important. Instead, one must approach the stand with the wind direction in the face to prevent human scent from drifting into the area where deer will be approaching when hunting. Other factors for the proper entrance route are walking on a quieter surface, such as a road, creek bed, or bare dirt. The more the hunter can walk without being heard, the less likely deer will be alarmed, causing them to flee the area. When walking to my stand in the morning, I allow myself time to get there quietly. One factor in helping to go to the stand is knowing where to travel in the dark. I do not want to make unnecessary steps or noise because I don’t know exactly where I am going. I use the Muddy Outdoors Remote Beacon Illuminator to steer me in the right direction to prevent getting off course. The Remote Beacon Illuminator is a multidirectional green LED light that attaches to the treestand. With the aid of a compact remote, the hunter can signal a flashing light from up to three hundred yards to help locate their stand early in the morning.

Proper Stand Approach

In the ideal condition, I prefer my stand approach to come in on the backside. I try not to cross or walk in the areas where deer will be approaching my stand area when I am hunting. I attempt to keep the wind in my face and stay hidden from any deer in the area. Using the terrain and structure such as trees or brush helps to keep the hunter concealed and from being silhouetted by deer in the distance.

Planning Leads to Success

Planning out an entrance and exit route must start when hanging stands before the season. After scouting has been done and a stand sight has been selected, think about how you will enter and exit before hanging the stand.

A month before my home state of Missouri’s opening day of last year’s firearms season, I hung a Muddy Odyssey XTL ladder stand near the edge of a narrow pinch point that separated two large stands of timber.  I found a grown-up fence row that led within a few feet of the tree where my stand was hung to make the set better. When the opening morning of the Missouri firearms began, I eased my way down the fence row to stay hidden and climbed into my stand approximately an hour before the first shooting light. When the light started to build across the open field, I caught a glimpse of a nice ten-pointer who was cruising across the open area in search of a hot doe. After a quick minute of watching the buck through my scope, I was able to squeeze the trigger and make a successful shot at a mere fifty yards. Within the first few minutes of legal hunting light, I had a mature southern Missouri whitetail buck on the ground.

Just as my late veteran co-worker had always told me, this was accomplished by easing to my stand quietly an hour before hunting.

Manage Your Scent

After a stand approach has been planned, stands are in place, and it is time to hunt. There is one last measure to take to ensure a smooth entrance. That step is to remain as scent-free as possible. As mentioned earlier, the approach must always be with the wind in the face when walking. However, as a bit of insurance, it is necessary to use scent elimination products as well. I wear carbon-based clothing that absorbs and prevents odors in conjunction with Scent A Way Laundry Detergent. After dressing in the field, I spray down my complete body, feet, and hunting gear with Scent A Way odorless spray. By spraying down last, I am confident I will not leave any odors along the path to my stand that could spook deer.

By paying attention to details such as where to hang stands, wind direction, subtleness, and scent control, you will have assembled the perfect combination to a practical stand approach. When all these factors are considered, deer feel less pressure, keeping them on their natural travel routes, making them easier to pattern when hunting.

 

Holiday Gift Guide for Deer Hunters

The Deer Hunting Holiday Gift Guide You Need

Each holiday season, people spend an awful lot of time pondering what to get for family members and friends. While it’s good to be thoughtful about gift ideas, the process will be a lot easier when shopping for deer hunters if you use this holiday gift guide. And if you’re a hunter, feel free to nonchalantly leave this Christmas list somewhere your loved ones will notice it. Whether you’re looking for some new items for deer camp or simply want to add some new hunting gear to your collection, there are some great ideas in this hunting gift guide.

1. Pole Saw

For those with land to manage and tree stands to move around, having the right tools makes a big difference. Whether you have a limb blocking a shot from your tree stand or you just need to clean up some trees while doing timber stand improvement projects, the Muddy pole saw is the perfect companion. Its dual-purpose design allows you to use the serrated blade for larger branches and the pruners to cut smaller ones.

2. Trail Camera

Is there such a thing as too many trail cameras? We don’t think so, which is why it deserves a spot on this holiday gift guide. The Pro-Cam 16 Bundle provides everything you need to quickly put it out yet this winter or save it for next spring. Either way, the 16 MP camera takes great pictures or videos and the invisible flash doesn’t spook deer. This is a great hunting gift idea.

3. Shooting Bench

Having a sturdy and well-made shooting bench is important for sighting new rifles in or just plinking practice. The Extreme Shooting Bench has a steel benchtop and comfortable, padded seat, and the seat and top can swivel independently or in tandem. The rubber molded gun rest will keep your firearm sturdy and keep you on point. The bench is equipped with some interchangeable accessories, such as a gear hook, gear basket, and cup holder.

4. Safety Harness

If you’re willing to consider items on a holiday gift guide, there’s a reasonable chance you love the person you’re shopping for. What better way to show that than get a new safety harness for them? The Ambush Safety Harness is weighted for 300 pounds and should be used every time a hunter leaves the ground. As you do your holiday shopping, keep their well-being in mind.

5. Camera Accessories

If the person you’re shopping for wants to start filming their hunts, consider getting them a critical self-filming accessory: a camera arm. The Basic Camera Arm is a great introductory option for people to start filming their hunts. It is fully adjustable and has a quick-release mount to make things easier in the tree stand. A camera arm is a great gift idea for hunters.

6. Shooting Rail

When you have to shoot a rifle from a tree stand, it helps to have a shooting rail to keep you steady and improve your accuracy. The Muddy Universal Shooting Rail attaches to any tree stand setup and adds a layer of stability to help in that critical moment. This makes it the perfect tree stand accessory.

7. Seat

If you prefer to hunt from blinds (whether on the ground or in a tower stand), it can keep you more comfortable in different weather conditions. But to stay comfortable all day, you need a good seat. The Swivel Ground Seat is reasonably packable at only 15 pounds, and swivels 360 degrees so you can make the shot when needed. Since most hunters tend to opt for a 5 gallon bucket, this is a sure hit on this holiday gift guide.

8. Hunting Blind

If a swivel seat will impress, imagine their surprise if you got a new hunting blind for them. The VS360 blind sets up quickly and can fit a couple people comfortably. It has large windows with shoot through mesh and includes brush strips so you can quickly brush it in and disappear. Including hunting blinds on your holiday gift guide will quickly make you #1 on their list.

9. Game Cart

Depending on where you hunt and how close you can approach your hunting location, having a good way to get the deer out of the woods is an important consideration. The Mule Game Cart allows you to haul a 300 pound deer easily and the rubber coated handles make it more comfortable and ergonomic.

10. Lift System

Once you get a deer, it’s nice to have an easy way to lift it up to allow for easier skinning and butchering. The Magnum Lift System has a weight reduction pulley system to lift up to 500 pounds easily and by yourself. It has an automatic self-locking system to stop once you get to the height you need the deer.

Must Have Tree Stand Accessories

Essential Tree Stand Accessories

For a whitetail deer hunter, there is no place you would rather be during deer season than in the tree stand. Countless hours are spent in preparation for the time in the stand: running trail cameras, tending to food plots, creating habitat, and studying the wind to find the perfect spot for tree stand locations. When the time is right, when the wind is perfect, and the deer are on their feet; it’s time to get in the stand and make something happen.

Time in the tree stand is magical, it is where hunters long to be, but it’s not always the most comfortable. Long hours in the tree stand waiting for that bruiser buck to make an appearance can take its toll, but with a few tree stand accessories you can make those long sits more comfortable, more productive, and hopefully fill that tag.

Tree stand accessories can be broken down into a few categories to help you determine what tools make the most sense for your setup and your hunts. Accessories for hunter comfort, for organizing equipment, and for your weapon are all important details to polish off your tree stand setup and insure you will be ready when that critical moment arrives. 

 Accessories for hunter comfort help extend tree stand sits, making sure you are in the woods when that hit list buck makes an appearance.

Seat Cushion – A good quality seat cushion is a must when you plan to spend much time waiting out a mature buck. The added comfort will not only help you stay longer in the stand, but also help you to sit still during the hunt. Squirming around trying to find a comfortable way to sit is a guaranteed way to get picked off by a wary buck.

 

 

Waterproof Seat Cover – One of the drawbacks of using a foam seat cushion is when they get wet. Rain and morning dew will soak into a seat cushion like a sponge. A sure way to ruin your days hunt is to sit down onto a wet cushion first thing in the morning. By adding a waterproof seat cover you can be sure that your cushioned seat will be dry and comfortable for your entire hunt.

Lumbar Support – Supporting your lumbar during long sits is the ideal solution to a stiff and sore back due to long hours spent hunting. A quick attach, lightweight support that works with any stand is a fantastic way to make sure you are focused on the hunt, and not aches and pains.

Accessories for organizing equipment make effective use of the limited space available when you are in the tree. Keeping your gear organized and at the ready can make the difference between notching a tag or going home empty handed.

Screw-In Single Hook – Non-slip rubber coated screw in hooks provide a variety of uses like: hanging a pack, quiver, or rattling antlers. Keep a couple of these in your daypack all the time and you will find a variety of uses for them.

Multi-Hook Strap On Holder – Using a strap on accessory holder that fastens around the tree gives you the flexibility to put up multiple hooks quickly and quietly. Drilling into heavy bark is no issue, and they easily fold up and store in your daypack between hunts.

 

Pivoting Multi-Hanger – Every tree and every tree stand setup is unique. Having the flexibility to adjust a gear hanger for the situation at hand can be paramount. A pivoting hanger offers the flexibility to adjust the hanger height and angle quickly and quietly during the hunt.

Accessories for the weapon are designed to provide hunters with greater accuracy and reduce motion in the stand. By having your weapon at the ready and steady for the shot, these tree stand accessories offer hunters an edge of confidence.

Universal Platform Bow Holder – Having your bow at the ready, out of the way, and in a vertical position reduces delay and motion in the stand to make the shot when it presents itself. A rock solid support that is rubber coated not only prevents damaging the bow, but is silent as well.

 

Gun or Bow Organizer  A safe out of the way place to keep your rifle or bow helps to keep you comfortable in the tree stand. It’s critical to keep your hands free for glassing and calling, but to still have quick access to your weapon. An adjustable quick organizer designed to keep your weapon at the ready will make you a more effective hunter.

Shooting Rail – For firearm hunters, nothing affects accuracy more than steadiness. Having a solid rest is crucial to executing an accurate and lethal shot. Whether you are hunting with a centerfire rifle, a muzzleloader, or a shotgun; a stable and sturdy rail to shoot from is imperative. Look for one that is easy to set up, and flips up out of the way when you are entering and exiting the stand.

 Using a tree stand to get the upper advantage on a wary whitetail deer is a fantastic proven tactic. After investing so much time and effort to find the right tree, and make that stand location perfect for the hunt, be sure to bring along the right tools to help you stay comfortable, organized, and accurate in the stand!

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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.