As the level of deer hunting pressure increases, so does the need for your treestand setups to be perfect. Treestand setups for high pressure hunting need to allow you to use them like a predator, without deer ever knowing that you were there. On small parcels you can't afford invasive setups! Do your setups pass the test? Make sure to read the conclusion, because there is one point that becomes a mute point, if you are following the 5 strategies below.
HIGH PRESSURE TREESTAND SETUP STRATEGIES
If you are located in a state with 100,000 bowhunters or less, then these strategies may not matter as much to you because when the level of hunting pressure decreases, so does the need to cover all of your bases. However, I would still make sure that you consider them because the oldest buck in the neighborhood, is still the oldest buck in the neighborhood. But, for high pressure state hunters (which is probably the vast majority of you), here are 5 important questions to ask yourself, when it comes to making sure that your treestand setups aren't holding you back.
1. Spook-Free Parking
If the deer know that you are going to hunt the land, before you even hunt the land, that's a problem. Headlights, the ding-ding-ding of leaving your keys in the ignition, clothing boxes banging the side of the truck, treestands scraping metal and just plain deer being able to see you when you pull in, can all kill your hunt, before you even begin.
2. No Impact Hike
Your access trails do not have to be leaf-free, in fact I would love for all of my neighbors to blow the leaves off of their trails in late October - but no such luck! Your access trails should however, be stick-free. However, debris-free access trails are not the only concern. Do your boots squeak, does your safety harness click or does your clothing make a swish-swish-swish? Then consider some replacements. Also, can deer hear you, see you or smell you on the way too or from your stand locations? Then it is time for major changes. The more that you access your land like a predator, the more success you will find.
3. Hidden Tree Climb
Now I have a new found passion for ladder stands, but just like wearing a nice suit for church, that does not mean that suit or a ladder stand, is perfect for every occasion. Your treestand location is the most extreme and invasive portion of your hunt, so I prefer to make my climb behind the tree that my treestand is located in, and not potentially in front of the deer's view. By using a 20' Ladder Stick and then moving 90 degrees at the top of the climb to get into the stand, you can hide your figure quite well from deer that are outside of 40-50 yards.
4. Quiet Climb - Quiet Setup
Probably the piece of advice that I can give to you out of this entire topic, is to take a hunting buddy to the woods with you, and make sure that you can climb into and get setup in your treestand, without your buddy hearing you from at least 30 yards or more. If he can hear you, drastic changes need to be made.
5. No Impact Treestand Exit
Your exit is just as important as your entrance, in particular after the sun sets, and deer that only move by your stand under the cover of darkness can still be spooked. How many deer are spooked 3 hours after dark because of scent that was more carelessly left after the hunt, than before.
Do your treestand setups pass the test for the level of hunting pressure in your area? The one point that you may be wondering about is the size of the tree or back cover in the tree. Folks in every state I have hunted on both public or private land I have experienced that if you follow the 5 strategies above, deer just don't look up. It is amazing what you can get away with, even in high pressure states, if a deer doesn't see you, hear you or smell you when using your treestands. By using your treestand like a giant predatory cat would use a ledge to pounce on unsuspecting prey, you will be using the natural approach to creating the perfect stand setup!