Five tips for setting safe and effective tree stands:

  1. A solid tree about 15 inches to 20 in diameter is great. It is easy and safe to get your arms around as you set steps, climb and hang a perch. Once you’re up, a tree as wide as your body breaks your silhouette, but is thin enough so that you can turn and look around for incoming deer, and twist, draw and shoot if you have to.
  2. Once you’ve chosen a tree for a stand, back up 50 yards or so, bend and look up into the top of it from a deer’s perspective to see which height and angle provide the best backdrop and cover.
  3. Plan on hanging a stand 17 to 20 feet. That’s plenty high enough to stay above the eyes and noses of deer, but low enough so that you’ll feel solid, safe and comfortable. Also from that height, when a buck passes by broadside, you have a good look and shooting angle at his heart/lung vitals.
  4. If you’re right-handed, set a stand so that the prevailing wind hits the left side of your body (vice versa for southpaws). That enables you to draw your bow with little movement when a buck shows up virtually anywhere 180 degrees in front of your stand.
  5. Once your stand is set, sit down and look around (make sure you’re harnessed in) then stand and do the same. Lift and draw your bow. Saw or prune any limb or leaf cluster that might grab a bow limb, knock an arrow off the rest, etc. All you have to do now is wait for a buck.