Which Tree Stands You Should Use in These Hot Spots
Hunters are always looking for that secret hidey-hole spot where they can consistently arrow a mature buck year after year. You know what we’re talking about. It’s that hidden little gem of a spot that you always keep for the perfect weather conditions and don’t tell anyone else about. It’s no easy feat to accomplish this goal, but it can be done with some good scouting, disciplined hunting, and a quality deer stand. If you’re eyeing your tree stands right now, trying to figure out where you should put them for the first early season hunt of the year, then read on.
Why Tree Stand Placement is Critical
If your goal is to kill a big whitetail (why wouldn’t it be?), then you need to be where the big whitetails are, right? During the rut, bucks could show up anywhere in their pursuit of new does. But during the early season, bucks are more predictable in their daily movement patterns and stay fairly close to “home base.” They need food, water, and cover to survive, so that’s your basic starting point. But since there’s not much human pressure for early season deer hunting, they’re not too picky about finding remote thickets to hide out in just yet. A simple spot with good cover and little human intrusion is good enough. Also, food is still plentiful in most areas this time of year, making it easy for them to bed and feed within fairly close proximity to each other.
So if that’s all that’s required, why don’t more hunters repeatedly get their target list bucks? There are obviously more variables than these in a real hunting situation (e.g., weather conditions, scent control, camouflage, hunting practices, etc.) that can complicate the matter. And as far as how to pick a tree stand location, there are better spots within the broad definitions we mentioned already. By locating yourself in one of the high percentage spots below, you’ll be in a great position for tagging out.
Three Best Places to Hang Your Tree Stands
Without further ado, let’s reveal the three best places to hunt deer. But we’ll do you one better than that. We’ll also explain the types of tree stands you should use for each area, since different spots will require a different approach and tactics.
The Farm Field Tree Stand
This one is a given for many people in farm country. If you have access to agricultural fields with corn, beans, or even alfalfa, you’ve likely sat on the edge of them at some point. And why not? It’s hard to resist these spots. You have great visibility and the deer inevitably come out to eat each night.
Why are these spots so great for early season hunts? Bucks are still on their summer feeding pattern, which means they will be chowing down on the easily available forage on the farm fields each evening. And again, as long as they don’t feel pressured, they will continue this pattern until the velvet starts to dry up. At that point, bucks will usually split ways and live solo the rest of the fall. So capitalize on this unique window of time while you can.
The best tree stands for these areas are box stands or ground blinds. They offer almost total concealment, which is important for keeping the deer unaware. There are usually many pairs of eyes on the field watching for danger, so being concealed inside will help you get away with a little more movement. It will also help contain your scent while you’re hunting. The key with this setup is to be tucked into the woods a little bit, where you can sneak out on an access trail. If you’re too exposed, it will be impossible to leave your stand at the end of the day when there are deer on the field.
Similar to the larger field stand, the hunting food plot location works because it can attract hungry deer. But what’s special about this setup is that it is usually located in a secluded spot with good cover around it, which makes it especially attractive to more reclusive bucks. Even early season bucks can get shy about daytime appearances when they start shedding their velvet. But a hunting plot is surrounded by thick security cover, which makes them feel safe to enter during the day.
In order for this to work, the hunting plot should be no bigger than one quarter acre and it should be planted with a very high attraction food plot species. Good options include brassicas, cereal grains, and annual clovers. These species tend to grow fine on shaded, smaller plots. The smaller size will also draw deer in for security purposes, but they are too small to keep them browsing all night. Eventually, they will usually move along to larger fields as night approaches.
The best tree stands for these areas are climbing tree stands. You can easily sneak into one of these areas during the afternoon, climb up the tree, hunt the evening, and shimmy back down when it’s time to leave. The Woodsman climbing tree stand is constructed of lightweight aluminum, yet is comfortable and durable enough for many evening hunts to come.
The Double Whammy Tree Stand
The last spot you should consider hanging your early season tree stands is actually a combination of a good water source and heavy cover. While deer get a lot of their water needs from the vegetation they eat, hotter-than-average early season temperatures will be sure to send deer to available water sources. If you can find or make a water source near thick cover (e.g., dogwood thicket, early successional forest, etc.), you can bet that deer will be bedded nearby.
It’s always a calculated move to hunt near bedding areas. But sometimes fortune favors the brave. The best tree stands for these areas are lock on stands. Why? When the conditions are right, you can simply sneak in and climb into your lock on stand (using a safety harness, of course) without much disturbance. The nice thing about these hunting tree stands is that you can hang several of them in different promising spots and then only hunt them when the weather is right.
There you have it. Three great early season hunting spots and which tree stands you should use in each one. This season, consider whether you have access to one of these areas and strongly consider doing something about it. You might like the outcome.