Whether you’re new to hunting or just new to bowhunting deer, we’ve got five actionable tips to remember when bow hunting from a tree stand.
Do you Need a Tree Stand to Hunt Deer?
First things first. Do you really need a tree stand? The answer is it depends. This deer hunting method is proven and especially useful in certain circumstances.
For instance, as is noted in the blog post “Deer Hunting Tips: Tree Stands vs. Ground Blinds”, “ For those who are new to hunting, tree stands are one of the most effective tools you can use when hunting deer. Elevating your position not only improves your field of vision, but also significantly reduces your chances of being spotted by deer.”
With that in mind, let’s now delve into what you should know while bow hunting from a tree stand.
1. Plan Your Entry & Exit and Hang Your Stands Early
When it comes to maintaining your element of surprise – a key tactic for effective whitetail hunting – making sure you’re not scouted out by deer is crucial. Because of this, you will want to make sure you’re sticking to time-tested entry and exit strategies so you’re not seen, heard, or smelled by deer. Did you know that deer can smell humans from about ¼ mile away?
There are scent-blocking boots and other items you can use as well to help hide your tracks, in addition to scent wicks that mimic deer urine and other compounds to attract deer to you.
2. Hit High (But Not Too High)
When deer hunting from a tree stand, the height of the stand is key. Too low and you could be scented or seen by deer. Too high and shooting becomes more laborious and cumbersome and you shrink the kill zone.
In his piece “15 Tips for Deerhunting from a Treestand”, Josh Honeycutt mentions that he finds 15-25 feet to be the ideal height to hang a tree stand. Each individual hunter’s preferences will ultimately be different and as you hunt more you’ll get a feel for what works for you. Still, the 20-foot mark is a good height to start from.
3. Aim from Behind
How your deer stand is positioned is an essential component of the hunt. In his piece “10 Best Treestand Hunting Tips”, Bill Winke notes that he likes to position his on the backside of the tree, on the side away from where deer will be feeding.
While this requires being on your feet for most of the time as you wait for prey to come to you, and you also have to shoot around the tree, it also is a highly-effective method of staying hidden.
Another tip for staying hidden is to choose a tree big enough to hide you in an area with plenty of backcover.
4. Stay Safe
There are several types of tree stands to choose from, but no matter which one you prefer, you should ensure you set it up safely. So use a lifeline system, wear a harness, and make sure you maintain your tree stands regularly so you know they’re safe to use.
5. Learn Deer Anatomy
Increasing your odds of getting a kill shot comes down not only to where you shoot from relative to where the deer is and your shooting technique, but also where on the deer you aim for.
Developing an understanding of deer anatomy will give you a leg up on where to shoot in different scenarios and from different angles.