Fine-Tuning Stand Locations

Recently, I discussed a short 20-yard move I was making with one of my treestands. Doesn’t seem worth the effort, does it? Yet after nine seasons of hunting the existing stand, I realized it was off just a tick. Here is the progression of how that awareness occurred. 

Typically, when I put up a stand in a fresh area, I use every resource available to me at the time: deer sign, topo maps and aerial photos. That, and many years of experience, will usually get me in the right general area; however, it rarely gets me in the exact perfect tree. Being in the right area will definitely get you some shots and produce some success, but there may be (and likely will be) some bucks or does that slip through the net. That is where the fine-tuning process comes in and that is what this blog is all about.

Spending time on a stand is the final cog in the machine that produces awesome stand sites. Pay attention to everything you see when on stand. Over time, you will start to see patterns emerge, tendencies that you need to address. For example, with the stand I moved last week, I had hunted it for nine years. During that time, I noticed that deer sometimes used a trail behind the stand that was downwind. They didn’t use it much, but they did use it. Then last season, I had two nice bucks use that trail and both got away. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I knew I had to make a move. There was also one other travel route that had emerged over the years that was problematic. If deer used it (which they sometimes did, though rarely) they would be downwind too. I needed a new tree that allowed me to hunt both of those routes effectively without giving up any of the other travel routes I was hunting from the existing stand.

After all those years, I finally had enough information. Sometimes you have to make a number of assumptions when picking a tree in a new area, but after several years, you have the information you need to eliminate the guesswork. The new stand is only 20 or 25 yards from the original, but the move permits me to shoot any buck passing on the two travel routes that I was losing before. And it allows me to get into the stand and out of it easier without alerting any nearby deer—all of this without giving up any of the travel routes I was able to shoot to in the past. I gained something without giving anything up. That is what the fine-tuning process is all about. It takes time on stand (I think it takes several years) to gain the experience needed to answer all the questions. 

Once you get a stand to this level, it is an awesome place to hunt. I love all my fine-tuned locations. I have four of them, and am working on a few others. Within a couple more years, I will have those figured out, as well. Every year I become a bit more effective in my hunting because of this process of fine-tuning my stands. It is something you should build into your own hunting strategies.

As for this season: Times are a changing in the deer woods right now—bucks are shedding velvet and scraping—breaking up their bachelor groups and drifting toward fall ranges. These next couple of weeks of scouting will be some of the most challenging of the entire year. I will bring you along the whole way via the Whitetail Season episodes. Good luck and enjoy this week's video.

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