A good deer stand placement strategy is vital for a successful hunting season. The key to getting this right is to be prepared and to put in the work well before the season begins.
Still, it can be tricky to find the perfect location to set up your deer stand.
In this guide, I’ll give you all the tips you need to find the right location and set your deer stand up properly. With this information, you should be looking at a productive season.
The Best Types Of Trees For Tree Stand Placement
The type of tree that’s best for your deer stand placement strategy depends on the type of tree stand that you use. However, the main thing you’ll always be looking for is good camouflage.
You certainly don’t want to be hanging off the side of a tree in plain view. Being silhouetted against the sky is also something you need to avoid.
There are four main types of deer stands. For each one, there’s a preferable type of tree that you should aim for. Let’s examine them and see which type of tree I’d use for each one.
Hang-on tree stands
Using a hang-on tree stand gives you a lot of versatility. It can be used in most trees, including crooked ones. If you have the right climbing sticks, you can maneuver yourself around branches and place your stand in almost any tree.
For maximum hunting success, I’d always recommend using hang-on tree stands. Tree stand placement is more difficult when using any of the other types. Remember, you still need to find a try that gives you plenty of cover. The aim is to blend seamlessly into your surroundings.
Climbing tree stands
A climbing tree stand is really easy to use, but it will limit your options. It’s made of two pieces, the climber and the platform. This means that you can only really use them in trees that are pretty straight. You also need a tree that has no branches up to the height at which you want to place your stand.
When I’m using climbing tree stands, I look for a stand location that is surrounded by other trees. This gives me some extra cover when I’m sitting on the stand. If you can find a tree that has a few trunks, then this is ideal for this type of stand.
It’ll give you a good amount of camouflage and make it easier to hide.
I sometimes find that I need to use my climbing sticks to climb up the trunk and then attach my climber. I’m then able to climb up to where I want to be.
The main benefit of using climbing tree stands is that they tend to be more comfortable than the hang-on variety.
A ladder stand also has the benefit of being really comfortable. However, ladder stands are difficult to camouflage, and they are pretty intrusive. When I’m using one of these stands, I usually attach evergreen boughs to it using zip ties. This gives it some extra camouflage.
With these types of stands, you always want to aim for straight trees that are easy to navigate. You should also look for trees that provide plenty of natural cover.
I’d recommend setting up a ladder stand well in advance of deer season. This will allow the deer to get used to it before the season opens.
2-person ladder stands
2-person ladder stands are ladder stands designed to hold two people. If you want to introduce your kids to hunting whitetails, then they’re a great way to do it. When I use these stands, I always place them in large trees with plenty of foliage. This makes sure they’re well hidden.
To avoid affecting deer movement, you should place these stands well in advance of deer season.
How Should You Get To The Tree Stand?
This is a key part of a successful deer stand placement strategy that is often overlooked. However, the most experienced hunters plan out how they will get to their tree stand location well in advance.
Your route to the location should be mapped out ahead of time. This is to ensure you can reach it without spooking deer. To do this, you need to have quiet access to the location. Your scent shouldn’t be blowing toward the deer, and you need to avoid bumping them.
In an ideal world, you’ll avoid crossing the trail that the deer are going to use altogether. This can be very difficult to achieve. I try to ensure that I don’t walk on the trail and that I don’t touch any branches close to the trail.
Mature deer can easily detect scents, so you need to practice proper scent control.
Consider Wind Direction
When it comes to proper tree stand placement, wind direction is one of the most important things to consider. When you start deer hunting, one of the first things you learn is to always be downwind of the deer.
So, it’s absolutely vital that you place your stand downwind of where the deer are going to come from. Setting up a stand where the wind will be blowing from you to the deer is a guarantee for failure.
Whether you’ve just started bow hunting or you’re an experienced pro, this is the main tip for deer hunters to remember. When hunting for deer, always make sure you’re downwind of where they’re coming from.
How High Should Deer Stands Be?
Whether you’re bow hunting or gun hunting, your deer stand needs to be at the same height. A deer stand should always be between 15 and 25 feet off the ground.
If your deer stand is below 15 feet, then there’s not much point in using one. This is because you won’t have the advantage of being above the line of sight of the deer.
If your deer stand is above 25 feet, then your shot angle is going to be compromised. If you’re that high up, then you’ll have major problems hitting the deer’s vital area. This greatly reduces the size of the effective kill zone and raises the chances of a bad hit.
This is what any good hunter wants to avoid.
When Is The Best Time To Hang A Tree Stand?
Another important factor in proper tree stand placement is placing the deer stand at the right time. Ideally, I look to have my stands set up a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks before the season begins. This gives the deer plenty of time to get used to the stand being there.
In my experience, the first time that you use a deer stand is when it’s most likely to be successful. So, I’d advise arriving at the deer stand early and staying late the first time that you use it.
Check out my guide on the best time to hunt deer for more advice.
The Best Locations For Tree Stand Placement
The next important part of your deer stand placement strategy is the exact location where you’ll set up your stand. I’m going to guide you through the deer stand locations that typically have the highest success rates.
A pinch point is often the best place for you to set up your stand. This is a natural bottleneck or funnel that forces deer to move through specific areas. There are varying terrain features that cause a pinch point to occur.
For example, a bottleneck could be narrow strips of wood connecting two large wooded areas. Or, it could consist of a small wooded area that’s sitting in between an area of open fields.
One of the best ways to find natural funnels is to study a topographic map of the area. Look out for steep drops such as cliffs. Deer will often travel over the top of the cliff, making it a great natural funnel.
Remember, pay attention to the set-up tips I’ve given above when placing a stand at a pinch point. Being well camouflaged and downwind of the deer are crucial for making a pinch point pay off.
Another great location for a tree stand placement is a travel corridor between bedding and feeding areas. Feeding areas could be things like food plots where the deer go to eat. Bedding areas are the places where they go to sleep.
If you can find the perfect location between their bedding and feeding areas, then you should be in for success when hunting for deer. The way to identify a food plot or a bedding area is to look out for deer sign. As well as deer sign, there’ll also be distinct trails that the deer use to travel between the areas.
You’ll need to work out what food source the deer are feeding from. It could be food plots, oak trees, or agricultural fields.
One thing to look out for when hunting whitetails is white oak trees. These trees will usually drop acorns every other year. Deer absolutely love acorns, and a white oak tree that’s dropping them is guaranteed to attract plenty of deer.
If you notice trees that aren’t dropping any acorns this year, make a note of them. They’re likely to be a good spot for next year.
For the ideal location, look for trails that are clearly heavily used between the bedding areas and the source of food. Then, identify a tree that’s around 20 to 30 years away from that trail.
If your aim is to hunt mature bucks, then you’ll need to identify the trails that are less used and are parallel to the heavily used trails. Mature whitetails favor these trails over the main ones. Again, look for a tree 20 to 30 yards from the trail that provides really good cover.
You can also try using a really good hunting blind to conceal yourself from the deer.
Using trail cameras can also be an essential part of a good deer stand placement strategy. By setting them up in high-traffic areas, you can determine where the most activity is taking place. Generally, I set them up close to the bedding areas or food source.
Depending on the time of year, field edges can also be a good place for you to set up your deer stand. During the early season, field edges are great for evening hunts if you’re hunting for bucks.
This is because bucks will still be in their bachelor groups at this time of year. This means that they’ll be entering the field at the same time and in the same place each day.
Still, once the early season is over and the pre-rut begins, this tactic will stop working. The behavior of the bucks will become more unpredictable as the bachelor groups start to disperse.
Once the rut has begun, I like to start using a deer decoy in the field. I set up at the edge of the field and then wait for the bucks to be drawn in by the decoy. This is a great way to create some action.
Field edge placements can also be effective during the late season. As the temperatures drop, food sources become limited, and you may find that the field you’re in has become the main food source. This means that whole herds of deer will start visiting the field during daylight hours.
Most of the water that deer need is provided by the plants they eat. However, during the early season and in warm climates, they will need to drink. Setting up your tree stand near a watering hole is sure to provide you with lots of action.
If possible, you could even build a watering hole yourself. This will attract deer once they leave their bedding areas.
When Should You Get Into Your Tree Stand?
The last thing to consider in your deer stand placement strategy is when you should actually get into it. The most important thing is to make sure you don’t scare away any deer whilst you’re getting into it.
You should be aware of when the deer in your area are most likely to be moving, and make sure you’re in your stand well before then. Remember, most deer move are moving during mid-morning and the afternoon.
Generally, I like to be in my tree stand and ready to go before dawn. This allows things to settle down before the deer get moving.
Can I hunt the same stand after killing a deer?
Yes, you can still hunt the same stand after you’ve killed a deer from this location. However, you need to make sure that you recover your kill quickly and efficiently. After you’ve retrieved your kill, leave the location by the same route you would if you hadn’t killed anything that day.
Can I hunt from the same stand location every day?
It’s fine to hunt from the same stand location for quite a long time. Still, if you go there every day for multiple seasons, then it’s very likely you’ll experience stand burnout. At some point, you will have to move to a new location.
Can I pee out of my tree stand?
It’s definitely best not to pee out of your tree stand. Doing so releases lots of human odors into your surroundings which might scare off deer. When nature calls, it’s best to find a spot a good distance away from your stand.
How long will it take deer to get used to my stand?
Generally, it takes around 3 to 6 weeks for deer in the area to become accustomed to your stand. It’s best to set it up well before the season begins so that the deer have plenty of time to get used to it.
Achieving the perfect deer stand placement can be difficult. The best way to find the right location is to do your research and identify your location well before the season starts.
Remember, wind direction is always the most important thing to consider. If the deer can detect your scent coming from your stand, then you’re not going to be successful.
As long as you use the tips in this guide, you should have no problem placing your stand. So, good luck and happy hunting!