As a general rule, hang 3 to 5 tree stands across a 100-acre block of whitetail timber. Spread out those stands to cover as many food sources, travel corridors and staging/bedding thickets as you can, and to have options for hunting all the different winds. Keep these 5 things in mind when setting those stands:

  1. A solid tree about 15 inches in diameter is perfect. It is easy and safe to get your arms around as you set steps, climb and hang a perch with a strap or chain. Once you’re up, a tree as wide as your body breaks your silhouette, but it is thin enough so that you can turn and look around for incoming deer.
  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 at 17 to 18 feet, 20 tops. 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.
  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.