The view from the top of a mountain is often worth the climb. But can the same be said about deer hunting tree stands? If you love hunting whitetail deer, it’s worth the time to find out before you spend your hard-earned money on a new one. So, we’ve compiled a list of the different types of deer hunting tree stands and the pros and cons of each. We hope this will help you make the right decision on which tree stand to use on your next whitetail hunt.
Many whitetail hunters prefer ladder stands when they want entry into their hunting location to be as quiet as possible. When set up ahead of time, ladder stands allow a hunter to walk quietly to their location without running the risk of metal clanging or of a sweaty setup that could leave unwanted scent on the ground and in the air.
Some hunters believe that when compared to climbing tree stands, ladder stands allow for not only a quiet entry into the woods, but a quieter climb.
Because the stand is already set up prior to the hunt, access can be made without worrying about about assembly. (No loud scraping or searching for pieces and parts of multi-part climbing or lock-on stands.)
Steady And Roomy
Some deer hunters also prefer ladder stands because they don’t feel as safe in climbing stands or fixed position stands like lock-ons. Or, they may simply be physically unable to use climbers or lock-ons.
Ladder stands tend to have large seats and side rails. If set up properly, they are typically secured well to a tree and very sturdy. Many come with the option of a shooting rail, which is a plus for rifle hunters. Ladder stands can also be used for bow hunting if shooting rail is removed.
There are also “buddy” type ladder stands which allow for more than one person to sit in the stand. This feature can be very useful for when you are teaching a child to hunt or hunting with a significant other.
Ladder Stands… Is The Setup Worth It?
Some hunters don’t like to use ladder stands for deer hunting because they can be cumbersome to set up and can be easy to spot if not concealed well. If you have any problems on your hunting land with theft, you might not want to go with a ladder stand. While they can require some sweat to take down and haul out of the woods, a hard-working thief might be up for the challenge.
Ladder stands can also require a “cleaner” tree for setup, as opposed to lock-on tree stands, which can set up without having to cut as many limbs. Some hunters prefer lock-on or hang-on tree stands, as opposed to ladder stands, because ladder stands are typically 20 ft or shorter.
Ladder Stand Manufacturers
Some ladder stand manufacturers include, Millenium Treestands, Muddy Outdoors, Rivers Edge, Big Game, Hawk Treestands, X-Stand and API.
Ladder stand Pros:
• No setup during hunt
• Quiet entry and climb
• Can be used for rifle or bow hunting
• Some accomodate multiple hunters
• Less taxing physically to climb
Ladder stand Cons:
• Setup can be cumbersome
• Tree type can affect setup
• Theft possible
• Difficult to conceal
• Limited height
Fixed Position Tree Stands
Fixed position tree stands include lock-on tree stands, sometimes referred to as hang-on tree stands. Lock-on tree stands are very useful when you know the exact location of where you want to have a stand. For example, you may be hunting the edge of a food plot or attractant location that you know is traditionally well-traveled. Or you may want to have multiple stand locations set up, so you can hunt a particular stand based on current wind direction or deer movement.
Quiet, Light And Incognito
Lock on tree stands (or hang-on stands) are typically able to be set up quickly. With the use of screw-in steps or stick ladders, they also are not as visibly disruptive to the hunting location as ladder stands can be.
While it’s not necessarily recommended to leave lock-on tree stands up year-round, they can be left up for the full season, allowing for quiet entry without disruptive noises that some climbing stands can produce. They also allow for a higher platform height than most ladder stands.
Lock-on stands tend to be much lighter weight than ladder stands, allowing for portability, easier pack and travel, and quick setup. Because screw-in steps and stick ladders can be used with hang-on stands, they also do not usually require as much limb trimming for that portion of the stand to be set up.
While lock-on stands tend to be conducive to bow hunters, without the use of a shooting rail, these types of tree stands can be difficult for a rifle hunter. And, while most don’t have side rails and other movement restrictions, that can leave some hunters feeling unsafe in the tree. (It is important to always use a safety harness when climbing up and down any treestand.)
Unless the hang-on stand you choose specifically has a large platform, limited foot space can be a concern for some hunters. So, if you like to have a lot of room to move around when standing, you should choose a stand with a larger foot platform.
Like ladder stands, lock-on stands can be the target of thieves. There are locking mechanisms available to serve as a deterrent, but a thief who is bent on stealing could still walk off with your lock-on stand due to its portability.
Lock-On / Hang-On Stand Manufacturers
Some notable lock-on tree stand manufacturers include, Lone Wolf, Millenium Treestands, Muddy Outdoors, and X-stand Treestands.
Lock-On Stand Pros:
• No setup during hunt
• No setup during hunt
• Compact and portable for packing and travel
• Quiet entry and climb
• Allows for better concealment
• Great for bowhunters
Lock-On Stand Cons:
• Can feel less safe
• Theft possible
• Some have smaller foot platforms
• Some not conducive to rifle hunting
Some hunters consider climbing tree stands (climbers) to be the most difficult to use. However, with proper practice and safety precautions, climbing stands provide hunters with some advantages in certain hunting scenarios.
Climbing stands can be very useful when you are hunting land that you may not be very familiar with. Climbers give a hunter the ability to search for a hunting location that is has favorable wind and also provides the ability to climb to a higher point without the height limitations of ladder stands, for example.
Climbing stands typically allow for easy setup and removal, meaning that you can enter the woods with your stand and leave with it at the end of the hunt. This prevents theft and also allows a hunter to be truly mobile and not be limited to predetermined deer stand locations.
Climbing stands can also pose some challenges in certain hunting situations. Unlike lock-on stands, climbers need trees with either no protruding limbs, or few enough so that they can be trimmed on the way up the tree.
Climbers also work best when the tree being climbed does not have a large discrepancy in diameter from the bottom of the tree to the height at which the stand will be secured for hunting. If the diameter changes drastically from bottom to top, the hunter may have to begin the climb with the foot platform at an uneven, and even steep angle. This can make climbing not only difficult, but dangerous as well. A properly fastened safety harness should always be used during climbing and at all times when in the deer stand.
To Cover Or Not To Cover…
When it comes to cover, climbers provide both an advantage and a disadvantage, depending on the hunting location.
For example, you might have plenty of trees on a piece of property that allow for easy climbing. However, if there are no other trees near the tree you want to climb to provide some cover for you while in the tree stand, you could find yourself sticking out like a sore thumb. And, contrary to what some believe, deer can and do look up at times, especially if they hear or smell something suspicious. It’s a good idea to climb near cover, so if that buck of a lifetime comes, you are not left wishing you had stayed hidden.
Up, Up And Away…
Climbing stands can also be much more physically taxing than ladder stands or lock-on stands. And, the effort exerted can produce one of the most unwanted by-products during a whitetail hunt… sweat. A sweaty hunter is a smelly hunter. For this reason, some hunter choose other types of tree stands instead of a climber.
Because climbing stands have to be unpacked and attached to a tree, some hunters feel that the risk of metal clanging, and other unwanted noises, isn’t worth the mobility advantages they can provide. Once attached to the tree, climbing stands also will generate noise during a hunter’s climb up the tree.
Climbing Stand Manufacturers
Some notable manufacturers of climbing stands include, Summit Treestands, Lone Wolf, Muddy Outdoors, API and Ol’Man.
Climbing Stand Pros:
• Easily removable to prevent theft
• Allow for adjustable hunting height
Climbing Stand Cons:
• Climbable trees needed
• Potential for noise / sweat
• Limited cover
• Physically taxing
If you are trying to determine which of these types of deer stands might be right for you, we hope you have found this post useful. Best of luck on your next hunt and please practice safe hunting and climbing!
Shop N1 Apparel
Online reviews can sometimes have an agenda of pushing a particular product. We thought it would be fun to give some straight talk from the N1 Outdoors co-founders on the broadheads they have used over the years.
Below, Josh Wells, Maston Boyd and Giles Canter give their thoughts on what they like and don’t like about some of the broadheads they have experience with during their archery hunts.
N1 Outdoors co-founder, Josh Wells
I started bowhunting in 1996. I was 16 years old and began bowhunting with the broadhead recommended by a friend. It was the Muzzy 3 blade in 100 grains…
Muzzy 3-blade broadheads, 100 grain
I harvested my first archery deer, in addition to several other deer with the Muzzy 3-blades. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate this one at 7.
My experience with the Muzzy 3-blade is as follows:
The Muzzy 3-blade broadheads have a simple design. They are durable and easy to assemble, as well as affordable to buy. They also create decent blood trails.
In my experience, the Muzzy 3-blade broadheads have inconsistent and unstable arrow flight. By that, I mean that they fly differently than field points and requires advanced bow tuning skills.
Thunderhead 3-blade broadheads, 100 grain
After several years of using Muzzy 3-blade, I decided to change to something that was more consistent in flight. My choice was the Thunderhead 3-blade in 100 grains.
I harvested several deer with these, as well as my first turkey. On as scale of 1 to 10, I would rate these broadheads at 7.5.
My experience with the Thunderhead 3-blade is as follows:
They are very similar to the Muzzy 3-blade with the only real difference being that they are slightly more consistent and stable during flight.
These broadheads have a simple design and are affordable. They are durable, easy to assemble, and leave decent blood trails.
While the Thunderhead 3-blade broadheads have positive qualities similar to the Muzzy 3-blade, they also share some of the negatives as well. The negatives are inconsistent and unstable arrow flight. They do not fly like field points and require advanced tuning skills as well.
Shop N1 Apparel
Grim Reaper 3-blade broadheads, 100 grain
Sometime along the way, I decided to try mechanical broadheads, due to the reviews that I had been reading regarding massive blood trails, and arrow flight that was consistent with field points.
The broadhead that I chose was the Grim Reaper 3-blade in 100 grains with a 1-3/8” cutting diameter. This is the only mechanical broadhead that I’ve ever used.
I was pleased with the results that I got from these broadheads, but I eventually made my way back to fixed blades due to a lack of confidence in the mechanical heads functioning properly 100% of the time. However, I harvested more than 10 deer with these broadheads over several hunting seasons.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate this head at 8.5. My experience with the Grim Reaper broadheads is as follows:
I found that the Grim Reaper broadheads had arrow flight consistent with field points. I also found them to be durable, with blades that were easily replaceable. As advertised, I experienced massive blood trails. They were one of the more affordable mechanical heads, with each package containing a practice point.
The Grim Reaper broadheads require attention to detail during assembly in order to make sure blades engage properly on impact. This can decrease hunters’ confidence in knowing that it’s possible that the blades won’t engage properly. (I will note that this never actually happened to me, but I’ve heard several other bow hunters say that it did in fact happen to them.
Magnus 2-blade broadheads, 100 grain
Eventually, I decided to go back to fixed blade broadheads. When I did my choice was influenced by the simple fact that shot placement is the most important factor in determining an archer’s successful recovery of an animal.
So, I was determined to find the most accurate broadhead available. I settled on the Magnus 2-blade in 100 grains.
I harvested more than 10 deer with these heads over several seasons. My major reason for changing away from this broadhead was because of consistently poor blood trails.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate this head at 6. My experience with the Magnus 2-blade broadheads is as follows:
The Magnus 2-blade broadheads are super accurate, flying very similar to field points (although tuning is key in this area). They also had very good penetration, were easy to sharpen, and were the most affordable broadheads I’ve ever used.
These heads were not very durable (the tips tended to bend easily). They also produced very bad blood trails (several deer I harvested left no blood trail at all).
Ramcat 3-blade broadheads, 100 grain
The next broadheads that I used were the Ramcat 3-blade in 100 grains. These broadheads were recommended by a friend that kills a lot of nice deer. I wasn’t crazy about the design of the blades (the screws loosen on impact for two-way cutting), but I decided to give them a shot.
I harvested three deer with these before I decided they weren’t for me. While they are very good broadheads from what I can tell, I couldn’t get past the blades loosening on impact (and sometimes in my quiver).
On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate these at 8. My experience with these broadheads is as follows:
They were very accurate, flying very similar to field points. They’re durable, with the blades possessing two-side cutting action. They are affordable and for fixed blade broadheads, produce decent blood trails.
The blades on these heads tend to loosen in the quiver.
Magnus Stinger Buzzcut
The last broadhead that I’ve used (which is the broadhead that I currently use and don’t plan on changing) is the Magnus Stinger Buzzcut in 100 grains.
I’ve used these broadheads now for about five seasons. I’ve harvested more than 10 deer with them.
I am equally satisfied with the Magnus Corporation’s customer service as I am with this broadhead. The Stinger Buzzcuts are on the high end of pricing for fixed blades, but the cost is offset by Magnus’ lifetime warranty, which I have firsthand experience with. I received a package of new broadheads this past season at no cost when they replaced broadheads that had either chips, or were slightly bent due to contact with bone.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate this broadhead at 9. My experience is as follows:
These heads are super accurate, flying very similar to field points. They get very good penetration, are easy to sharpen, and produce good blood trails for a fixed blade. broadhead
So far, I have found none. The only reason that I didn’t give this broadhead a rating of 10 is because I haven’t used every broadhead out there, and couldn’t be certain that it’s the best one on the market. I just know it’s the best broadhead that I’ve ever used.
N1 Outdoors co-founder, Maston Boyd
I have tried several broadheads over the years and am always willing to try something new to compare with my experiences with other models.
Swhacker broadheads, 2-blade, 100 grain
I have found that Swhackers fly true. I have had many a bowhunt with great experiences and performance from these.
G5 Montec, 3-blade, 100 grain
In my opinion these are good, all-around broadheads for bowhunting. My only complaint would be that they don’t leave the biggest hole.
Magnus 2-blade broadheads, 100 grain
Like Josh, I too have used the Magnus 2-blade in 100 grain. I experienced good flight and feel that they are a good blade for pass-through shots. However, there is not always a lot of blood, which can obviously be problematic in tracking the animal.
Shop N1 Apparel
Muzzy 3-blade broadheads, 100 grain
I never got great flight patterns with the Muzzy 3-blade. Plain and simple.
Wasp 3-blade broadheads, 100 grain
I experienced the same problems of flight pattern with these that I did with the Muzzy 3-blade.
Thunderhead 3-blade broadheads, 125 grain
I experienced good flight as well as good performance on game with these broadheads.
Tshuttle 3-bladebroadheads, 100 grain
Good flight and good blood. ‘Nuff said.
Rage 3-blade broadheads, 100 grain
The 3-blade Rage broadheads, in my experience, provided good flight. However, they were inconsistent on game and left me hoping that I didn’t hit bone.
Grim Reaper 3-blade broadheads, 100 grain
I only shot one deer with these. No pass through and no deer. Need I say more? Mechanical madness!
N1 Outdoors co-founder, Giles Canter
I killed my first archery deer in 2000. Over the years I have not been one to chase the latest, greatest, or most heavily advertised broadhead or archery equipment.
Simply put, I like to know what to expect in the field. In my opinion, the worst time to shoot a new broadhead for the first time is when there is meat on the line.
I like to know the positives, as well as the limitations, of the broadheads and archery gear that I use, so that I know what to expect when the moment of truth comes. Because of this, I tend to stick with things for awhile unless I have a good reason to change. If it ain’t broke…
With that being said, I have used a handful of broadheads over the years and here are my thoughts…
Thunderhead 3-blade broadheads, 125 grain
These are near and dear to me since I took my first archery deer with a Thunderhead 3-blade. They give good flight and performance. A simple and solid broadhead, in my opinion.
Muzzy 3-blade broadheads, 100 grain
I used the Muzzy 3-blade for several seasons and killed many deer with them. But, I eventually set them aside because I didn’t feel like the groupings and arrow flight at all consistent with field points shot with the same setup. Call me picky, but I wasn’t crazy about the angled, overlapping blade assembly either.
Muzzy MX-3 broadheads, 100 grain
I like the Muzzy MX-3 broadheads. They have pretty tough blades that can be sharpened or replaced. I have used the same blades for multiple kills on more than a few occasions. In my opinion these fly a little truer than the Muzzy 3-blade, but still don’t group great.
Grim Reaper 3-blade broadheads, 100 grain
I tried these broadheads (2-inch cut) for a couple hunting seasons at the recommendation of a friend with the initials Josh Wells. While I killed several deer and experienced some devastatingly bloody trails with them, I also experienced some deflections as well. These left me feeling, well, grim!
I also once shot a turkey center-breast with the Grim Reaper that flew off with my arrow hanging out of it. This left me feeling grim again! I don’t like feeling grim, so I retired from using Grim Reapers.
I started using the G5 Strikers by accident. My wife asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I am usually incapable of thinking of gift ideas that aren’t hunting related. So, I said, “how ’bout some Swhacker broadheads?”
When I opened my Christmas gifts that year, there was a brand new pack of… Striker broadheads! She said, “those are the right ones aren’t they?” I said, “well, I was looking for Swhackers, but these look great!”
I have actually thoroughly enjoyed using the G5 Strikers. They have proven to be very accurate for me and I have taken several deer with them. The only downside is that they don’t always leave the best blood trail.
Swhacker broadheads, 100 grain
Well, I did finally get my Swhackers (2-inch cut) that I referenced above! I have been as pleased with them as much as I have the Strikers. Arrow flight is great and pretty much like a field point. In my experience, they have left devastating wound channels and great blood trails.
The only thing I haven’t liked so far is that the blades can, especially with more than one use, begin to rattle somewhat during the draw. I am particular about being as silent as possible during a bow hunt. Because of this, I would view this as a negative. However, you have to buy new ones some time, I suppose!
Also be sure to check out our N1 whitetail deer hunting tips.
Shop N1 Apparel
Even when it’s not deer season, it’s important to be thinking about ways to make your whitetail deer season a success. Here are 10 deer hunting tips that hopefully will help you do just that!
Deer Hunting Tips: #1 – Be obsessed with scent control
Never, ever underestimate the importance of wind direction and scent control when hunting whitetail deer. Their noses are sensitive defense systems that help alert them to predators… and that includes you!
Can you just roll up into the woods with a smoldering Marlboro Red dangling from your lips, randomly pick a tree stand or blind to hunt in, and get lucky? Sure, there’s always a story. But, taking this approach is not setting you up for hunting success. If you want to increase your chances of taking a whitetail, you need to be as “invisible” to the deer as possible. This is why being obsessed with scent control is #1 on our list of deer hunting tips.
You smell good… or do you?
Let’s face it, you stink. Sure, you may practice good hygiene, but the truth is, to a whitetail, you are a foul odor! Your significant other may love that you shower and use sweet smelling soaps, but if you want a deer hunting date with destiny, you’d better be diligent with smelling, well, like nothing.
There are a variety of products on the market that allow hunters to get clean without smelling like a perfume commercial. Generously using a scent-free soap when you shower (before you go in the woods, not the night before), is a big step in the right direction. But wait, but there’s more you can do.
What about the towels you dry off with? Do they smell like a rose garden? How much good do you think it will do you to wash with scent-free soap if you immediately dry off with a towel that smells “mountain fresh?” Do yourself a solid and take care of the scent on your bath towels. Your hunting success could depend on it.
Clothe your body with… nothing
Well, not literally nothing. What we mean here is after you have used a scent-free soap on you and your towels, be sure that your hunting clothes are as scent-free as possible. Again, there are many scent-free laundry detergents out there to choose from. Washing your hunting clothes in baking soda is also helpful.
And, it probably goes without saying, but when you dry your clothes, don’t add a sweet smelling dryer sheet to the load and completely ruin all the work you’ve done!
When you’re not wearing your hunting clothes, store them in a bag or tote where they can stay as scent free as possible.
The right hunting gear for the weather
A big part of scent control is making sure that you are wearing the right hunting clothes for the type of weather you are hunting in. A good rule of thumb when thinking through what hunting clothes you’re going to wear is this… don’t wear something that will make you sweat.
Whether the forecast calls for hot weather or frigid weather, when it comes to whitetail hunting, sweat is definitely not your friend. As your skin’s bacteria begins to break down the sweat your body produces, odor occurs. And, of course we’ve already talked about how a whitetail feels about your B.O. So, why give them one more reason to bust your while you are walking into the woods or in your deer stand?
Even if it’s cold weather, wearing too much clothing, especially on a long walk carrying hunting gear, can lead to sweating. Not only will you stink, but you’ll have a very cold day in the deer stand once your body temperature cools down.
One way to prevent sweating is to dress lightly on cold days when walking to your deer stand or blind. You may be cold at first, but as you walk, your body temperature will rise. Once you get to your hunting location, you can add layers to your light clothing. If you’ve avoided sweating and can keep your head and feet warm, you’ll likely be ready for a long sit.
Avoid the sausage biscuit run
Remember, a quick stop at a fast food restaurant before your deer hunt may curb the hunger pains, but it could also undo all the painstaking scent control preparation you’ve done leading up to this point. Hot sausage biscuit smell is not a scent that is natural to the deer woods. So, as good as that greasy goodness may sound to you early on hunting day, try an apple, banana or granola bar instead.
Final scent control steps
So, you’ve been careful to eliminate as much human scent as possible prior to walking to your deer stand or blind… but, you’re not done yet! Scent control clothing is another layer of detection protection against a deer’s nose. There are plenty of scent control clothing items, suits, etc on the market, so it won’t be hard for you to find some options here. It’s important to not only cover your body, but also your head and face, when possible. Remember, the goal is to have as little of your scent floating through the air or left on the ground as possible.
In addition, you can also use scent eliminator sprays to spray down your hunting clothing, boots, etc before walking to your hunting location. Again, there are many available on the market to choose from.
Deer Hunting Tips: #2 – Make the wind your friend
So, you’ve been careful to remove and keep as much human scent off you as possible prior to the hunt. But, that’s only a part of a good scent control hunting strategy. It’s imperative that you pay attention to wind direction each and every time you prepare to hunt. Ignoring wind direction is one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a hunter. That’s why wind direction makes our list of deer hunting tips. And, it goes hand in hand with scent control.
As we’ve already mentioned, a deer’s nose is a defense mechanism. If it smells you, it smells danger. So, you don’t want your scent blowing over areas that are holding deer.
It’s important, whenever possible, to be familiar with deer patterns on the property you’ll be hunting. Know where the bedding and feeding areas are, as well as the travel routes that deer take between the two. If you know where deer tend to be, then you know you need to avoid the wind carrying your scent in their direction. Staying downwind of where the deer typically are is very important.
Paying attention to these details is not only important for when you are hunting in your deer stand or blind, but also when you are entering and exiting your hunting location.
So, what is upwind vs downwind?
Maybe you’re new to deer hunting or maybe you just haven’t ever paid attention to wind direction when you hunt. But, you’ve heard hunters using the terms “upwind” and “downwind” and you’re wondering what that really means. It’s really fairly simple.
Being “upwind” of the deer means you’re above, or upward, of their location. So, that means if the wind blows over you, everything below you would potentially be detecting your scent. That’s not what you want.
Being “downwind” of the deer means that you are below their location as it pertains to the wind. This is what you want. You want to be downwind of the deer so that when the wind blows, it does not blow toward the deer you are hunting.
If you know where deer typically bed down and feed, an easy way to remember how to stay downwind is to try to always have the wind blowing in your face as you approach those locations. This will keep your scent downwind of the deer your are hunting.
Remember, you don’t want a deer’s nose to detect you while you are hunting in the stand or in the blind, but you also don’t want them to smell you when you leave. If they do, they could pattern you and of course, avoid those locations, which means less deer for you to potentially see and kill. So, be sure that your exit route is downwind of where the deer are as well. This takes careful planning.
Deer Hunting Tips: #3 – Let your imagination guide preparation
Every hunter fantasizes about that perfect hunting scenario… There you are in your favorite hunting location. Out walks the buck of a lifetime. If you’re a bowhunter, maybe you imagine him walking 15 yards upwind of your stand. Then, he magically turns broadside, presenting the perfect shot for a clean pass-through. He stands there, looking the other direction, as you stand, draw, put the pin on him and release the perfect shot, at the perfect time, on the perfect buck.
Can scenarios like that happen? Sure they can. But, what is more likely, is that there will be a lot of things that factor into whether or not you get the chance to take the deer. Are you going to be prepared for those factors? While rifle or archery target practice is an important part of honing your hunting skills, you also need to be prepared for the things that can happen during a hunt that you can’t control.
For example, can you shoot your bow effectively from varying stances? Are you as accurate standing up as well as sitting down? Have you practiced shooting at varying heights and angles and in different types of weather?
For spot and stalk hunters, how about on your knees? Rifle hunters, have you practiced shooting off-hand?
Use your imagination and dream up all the possible scenarios that could happen during a hunt. Rely on past experiences as well. Chances are, something is going to happen on a hunt that you didn’t expect… unless of course, you’re ready for it!
Deer Hunting Tips: #4 – Don’t let your deer stand give you away
It’s not enough to know where the deer are on your hunting property and simply hang a lock-on stand or to use a climbing stand. Be sure what that stand placement will look like during the time of day you are hunting.
You might have picked a location for your deer stand that is covered up with scrapes, licking branches, rubs and other deer sign. You may have even imagined what the deer you’re going to shoot looks like. But, you also need to imagine what you’re going to look like to the deer while you’re in that stand.
Let’s say you find a great location to hunt. So, you pick a tree for your stand placement, but it has no other trees or cover around it. And, let’s say you will be hunting that stand at a time of day when the sun will be behind you.
Without any surrounding cover, when that big ‘ole sun shines behind you, the deer could potentially get a silhouette of your body against the sunlight. A wary doe or buck may not hang around to see what happens next. And, they will likely be cautious when entering that area again.
So how can you prevent this? One way is to try and select trees that have a wide base that your body’s shape can disappear against. Trees like this obviously cannot be climbed with a climbing stand. They can, however, be very good trees for lock-on deer stands. If you wear some good camo clothing, it will be more difficult for a deer to silhouette you when you’re sitting with your back against a tree that is wider than you are.
No not insurance coverage! Whether using a climbing stand or a lock-on stand, is to try to pick a tree that has another tree right beside it, behind it, or around it that can provide some cover for you. It’s important to remember that a deer’s line of sight is often different than yours. Try to visualize what you look like from their perspective.
Any leaves, branches or trees that will provide some break up of your silhouette without hindering your shot can be very beneficial in keeping your location concealed.
Contrary to what some believe, deer can and will look up. If they hear you or run across scent near your tree stand location, they might look up to see what that strange looking thing is above them. That usually doesn’t end in success for the hunter.
Hunting higher up in a tree can benefit you in a few ways. First, it can allow your scent to blow higher across the ground, and give you somewhat of an edge in the scent control game. In addition, hunting higher often makes a deer in close range less aware of your presence.
One disadvantage to hunting higher, especially for bowhunters, is that it narrows the window of a clear vitals shot. At steeper angles it can be difficult to get a clean pass-through shot. The last thing you want to do is take a shot that will not allow the deer to have as quick a demise as possible.
So, choose your hunting location after giving much thought to sun location as well as surrounding cover and tree stand height.
Deer Hunting Tips: #5 – Know thy land
If at all possible, you should be familiar with the land you are hunting. Sure, you may get an opportunity to hunt a piece of property, or even public hunting land that you don’t have the opportunity to scout prior to the hunt. However, if you do have full access to the property you will hunt, you should put in the time to be well versed in the details of that property.
Where are the deer and where are they going?
It’s hard to ignore an area of your hunting property that is full of deer sign. But, sometimes, you need to dig deeper into the details. It’s not just important to know where the deer are at a particular time… you also want to know where they’re going. After all, deer tracks tell you where they’ve already been!
Do you know where the deer typically bed down? Are you familiar with the feeding areas and water sources? Where are the travel routes that the deer typically use to move from one area to the next?
For example, it can be very difficult to sneak into and setup in a deer’s bedding area without getting busted. However, if you know where the deer typically go when they leave the bedding area, that’s important to note in formulating a plan to harvest whitetails. Then, be there waiting on the deer when they get there!
Don’t forget the wind
As referenced earlier, all of this must be done while thinking about and paying attention to wind direction. Is your entry route to your hunting spot accessible without having your wind blow to the deer’s location? It doesn’t matter how many deer you may have on your hunting land. If you don’t have a plan to approach your hunting location downwind of the deer, your hunt could be over before it even begins.
This means you should consider having multiple deer stand locations for varying wind directions. So, if the wind isn’t right on a particular day for that location, resist the urge to hunt it until it is.
When possible, take advantage of creek beds and ditches to access your blind or deer stand location, so that you can minimize the amount of scent you leave on deer travel routes and feeding areas.
Also, be sure you are aware of the prevailing winds on the property you are hunting. And, don’t just know the wind direction. Know how the topography and lay of the land can cause wind currents to swirl or move erratically. Remember, the wind can make or break a hunt. So, know how the lay of your hunting land affects it.
Deer hunting tip #6: Aim for low scores in predictability
When it comes down to it, you want to be where the deer are going to be when you are hunting. Hopefully, you have done enough scouting of the land and reviewing of trail cam pictures that you can predict deer movement. But, while you want predictable deer, you don’t want to be predictable yourself.
For example, let’s say you knew that a dump truck would speed by, dangerously close to your front door, every single morning at 8:05 am. You would probably be sure you aren’t anywhere outside your front door at that time of day!
Deer are no different. If you are lazy in your hunting strategy and become predictable, deer will simply avoid those hunting locations during the times you try to access them.
Mix things up. Don’t hunt the same deer stand or blind location every time, even if the wind is right. Have multiple hunting locations and multiple ways to access them. And, of course, always pay attention to the wind when you make your entry and exit.
Deer Hunting Tips: #7 – Be a doe stalker
There are meat hunters and trophy hunters. This article isn’t about arguing which group is more right in its hunting approach. But, there is a hunting tip that helps both groups… hunt the does.
Sooner or later, as the rut begins to heat up, bucks will go on the prowl for hot does. It’s an inevitable part of the whitetail life cycle. And you want to know where the does typically are when it begins.
Even Mr. Big Buck can throw caution to the wind when a hot doe is the prize. If you hunt the does throughout the season, he just might eventually show up in your cross hairs or behind one of your bow sight pins.
You might be a casual hunter, or only have time to hunt a few times a season. Or, you might have the luxury of getting to hunt as often as you like. Either way, knowing where the does are and how they move on a property throughout the course of a hunting season gives you a higher probability of taking a deer, and possibly, the buck of a lifetime.
Deer Hunting Tips: #8 – Know that the rut changes things
Most deer hunters would probably say that if they could only hunt one time a year, they would want to hunt during the rut.
The rut is indeed a magical time of year for the whitetail hunter. Bucks that have been mostly nocturnal can show up out of nowhere, trailing or chasing hot does. But, it’s important for hunters to be aware that while the rut can ramp up deer movement and buck activity, it also brings changes.
For example, prior to the peak of the rut, you may have hunted scrape lines and rub lines, hoping to get a shot at bucks that might be working those locations. During this time, bucks are looking to leave their territorial scent as well as checking scrapes for any receptive does in the area.
But, when bucks are locked up with does during peak phase of the rut, scrape activity can seemingly vanish. It’s important to know be aware that as the phases of the rut change, so does buck activity.
Deer Hunting Tips #9 – Don’t let technology get you busted
Communication while hunting has come a long way over the years. Hi-tech hunting used to mean having a walkie-talkie with an ear piece. Now, cel phones allow us to text our family and friends as well as take and send pictures and video… all while in the deer stand or blind.
However, if we took a poll of all deer hunters, we would probably find that more than a few have been busted by deer because they were paying more attention to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram than they were their surroundings.
If you give a deer enough chances, they’ll eventually be able to spot those busy little fingers texting away on a that wonderful piece of technology called a smart phone. When that happens you’ll wish you had been, well… smarter. Aside from that, there are so many things (other than deer) in the great outdoors that you can miss. Don’t let staring down at a screen keep you from fully enjoying the wonderful creation around you.
Deer Hunting Tips: #10 – Take an ethical shot
Whether with a bow or a gun, taking an ethical shot on a deer is an important part of being a responsible hunter. Now, the definition of an “ethical shot” has certainly been hotly debated. But, however you define it, hopefully it leads to the cleanest and quickest kill possible for the scenario.
To do this requires practice, patience and sometimes even the ability to pass up a shot that is not ideal. It’s part of being a disciplined hunter. Will you always succeed in a clean and quick kill? Probably not. Doing so effectively means you have probably learned some lessons by not taking some ethical shots.
Whatever the case, do your best to learn from others, as well as your own experiences, to take the most ethical shot possible.
There are certainly many more deer hunting tips to be shared, but hopefully these 10 tips have provided you with some knowledge and insight into how to improve your hunting strategy and increase your rate of hunting success!
Shop N1 Apparel