- –Rather than clumping cross country and deep into the woods, set your stands 50-100 yards from a logging road, power right-of-way or field edge if it works out with the deer sign and movement patterns. Much of the walking to the stand will be quiet and easy and you won’t jump many deer. Use Google Earth or an aerial photo to determine the best routes in and out.
- –After finding a potential tree for a stand, turn around and see where the various winds will push your scent, especially the predominant wind in that location. If an old doe circles behind your stand and catches a whiff she’s liable to stamp and blow for 10 minutes, ruining your hunt. It’s best when the wind drives your stink over a dead zone where few if any deer move—a pasture, river, rocky ravine, etc.
–Don’t throw stands or steps or bang them around as you hang a set. Don’t talk or laugh loudly. Be quiet and quick. Set up without spooking any deer that might be bedded or walking nearby.
–Try to hang a stand at a height where limbs, vines or a fork in a tree will help to break your silhouette. Seventeen to 20 feet high is about right.
–Face a stand into the wind or, better, quartering slightly into the wind. You’ll see the most deer out front and off to the sides, and you’ll be well positioned to stand and shoot easily.
–A pole saw can be a hassle to carry, but you need one to cut out stand spots and trim shooting lanes. Trim 2 or 3 clear lanes on the upwind sides of a stand. Cut enough to shoot an arrow, but don’t do a pulp wood job in there. Drag away cut saplings and brushy tops so deer won’t smell your scent on them, and so they won’t block a buck’s approach into bow range.
–Face a morning stand somewhere to the west and an evening stand toward the east. With the sun at your back as you hunt, you’ll have the best visibility and be hidden in shadows. You’ll also maximize shooting light at dawn and dusk.
–Use a climbing belt when setting steps and stands. Switch to a 4-point, full-body harness for hunting. No short cuts here, be safe!