Tree Stand Tips | Helpful Tree Stand Tips for Deer Season
Can you feel it? Summer is slowing down and archery season is right around the corner! We have a feeling you knew that already, but it brings up a good point. Every hunting season you probably fall into the same routine as far as getting your hunting gear ready for the season. Washing your hunting clothing, repacking your hunting pack, and of course checking trail camera cards. We all run through this same routine on some level. One of these last minute “to-dos” is setting up tree stands. But this year, you might want to consider some tree stand tips from Nick Mundt. If these quality tips don’t change the outcome of the season, they will at least make hanging and hunting out of tree stands easier for you! Take a look at the tree stand tips below and let us know if you might try them this fall!
As always, you should think of your personal safety before anything else. Every year, hunters unnecessarily fall from their tree stands to be injured or worse yet killed! There’s always a risk when hunting in a tree stand, but we are most vulnerable when we’re in the process of actually hanging tree stands. One of the most important tree stand tips you can take home today is to always stay connected to the tree with a safety harness. You, your family, your friends, and even other hunters would like to see you come home in one piece. There is no excuse…wear a harness or stay on the ground!
Dress for Success
Wearing quality footwear is a good tip for both safety and hunting. Essentially wearing your best hunting boots instead of a pair of flip flops will help you to keep your footing. It also helps to take special notice of baggy clothing or anything that could catch on tree limbs or when climbing the tree. You should take this tip in mind when hanging tree stands before the season, as well as when you are in the tree hunting.
Stand Hanging Checklist
Before you go out make sure to run through a list of gear essential for hanging stands. This will ensure you can complete the entire set (stand to shooting lane) and guarantee you will not have to go back in and disturb the area.
- Safety Harness
- Safety Line
- Extra Straps
- Extra Nuts and Bolts
- Gear Hooks and Screws
- Limb Saw
- Gear rope
Note: Always let someone know where you are and what you are doing when hanging stands or hunting!
Nuts and Bolts
Along with a safety line and safety harness, be sure to check your stands. “One of my biggest pet peeves is getting into a tree stand and when you put the seat up, stand, and get ready for a shot, the seat falls. So, no matter what stand you use, the bolts will almost always get lose as it is worked up and down. Before I hang my stands I always tighten up the seat, that way when you put it up, it stays up! There’s nothing worse than having a floppy seat and you go to stand up to get a shot at a deer and the seats pushing against you. Make sure your bolts are tight. It’s a lot safer, a lot quieter, and that seat isn’t hitting you in the butt when you try and make a shot.” – Nick Mundt
Rust, and worn out metal should always get a look over before climbing or hanging tree stands. You should also look thoroughly over straps to make sure there is no dry rot taking place or rips.
Tree Stand Location and Tree Selection
Tree stand placement strategies could be covered in their own article. Positioning a tree stand is one of the most important steps you can take in the mission to fill your tag. If you set up too close or too far away, too low or too high, too exposed or too overly-concealed, you could blow your chance at arrowing a big buck with your Hoyt®! It’s all about balance.
First, the perfect tree stand location is one you can sneakily access without deer winding, hearing, or seeing you. Use the lay of the land and any vegetation you can find to hide behind. For example, setting up close to fall food plots should usually be reserved for prime weather condition days when you’ve got a real good shot at seeing mature deer on the move. If you risk approaching and hunting it too soon or with bad conditions, you might blow your chance. Know where to look for the right tree throughout the season.
Depending on what type of HAWK® tree stand you’ll hunt from (you heard about this tree stand partnership, right?), the approach should be a little different. Picking a tree for a stand takes a little practice, but that’s what these tree stand tips are for!
- For climbing tree stands, such as the Warbird™ LT Bone Collector aluminum climber, you’ll need to find a tree trunk that it can fit around safely (i.e., not too big, not too small – the Goldilocks tree). The minimum tree diameter for a tree stand like this is a little subjective, but it should probably be at least 8 or 9 inches in diameter. It should not have any branches or burls at least 20 feet up, which would interfere with the climbing. It shouldn’t be leaning much at all either. Make sure that your top and bottom sections of your tree stand are secured together too so you can’t get stranded in the tree!
- For hang on stands, such as the Cruzr™ Bone Collector hang-on tree stand, you can choose larger trees as long as you can get your arms around it to secure the straps. That has a major advantage. You can hide your torso behind the trunk, which breaks up your silhouette. If you’ve ever sat in a skinny aspen tree in the late season, you’ll know the definition of the word “exposed” – deer have you pegged even if you don’t move. But when your outline disappears behind a larger tree (or at least doesn’t stick out from it), you can have much better luck.
Setting Up Your Tree Stand
If you don’t hang tree stands very often or are wondering how to set up a climbing tree stand for the first time, you’ll probably find that practicing before the season will help you a lot. There’s nothing worse than frantically trying to hang one on opening morning while the sun is peeking through the branches. One of the best tree stand tips is to practice setting up and climbing your stand a few times so you are used to doing it before the season. If you do this even once before the season starts, it will help you mentally prepare for the real event.
After bringing your tree stands out to the woods with your side by side, it’s time to set up. At the base of the tree before you leave the ground, lay everything (e.g., ladder sections, straps, etc.) out in the order you’ll need them. Adjust your tree stand’s straps to roughly fit around the circumference of the tree. Once you leave the ground, you don’t want to spend a lot of time adjusting the straps with your limited movement capability. Here’s a time-saving tree stand tip: attach a hoist rope from your various tree stand parts to your safety harness so you can easily lift them up without having to climb up and down.
“Obviously the tree gets smaller as you go up, but you can gauge what your straps need to be at before you go up. So put your stand up against the tree, tighten it up a little bit and make sure it’s ready to go.” This way when you climb up and start hanging the stand, everything is ready to go and you don’t have to take the chance of falling out of the tree or getting tired” – Nick Mundt
One way to hunt several different locations easily is to hang several ladder sections and tree hanging brackets in different locations. These brackets are much smaller and more manageable to hang. Then you can simply carry your platform with you and lower it onto the secure post and socket receiver. Hunt all day and take the platform with you when you go. The next day, you can try a different tree stand location just by bringing your platform with. This is also a more discrete option than a traditional tree stand if you have problems with trespassers or can leave tree stands on public land.
Tree Stand Positioning
Nick Mundt has plenty of experience when it comes to hanging tree stands just right. So much so that he decided to share one tree stand tip that could make a big difference in your hunting season this year!
As mentioned above, one of Nick’s tree stand tips is to pay attention to which side of the tree you set up on. If there are lots of limbs and leaves (such as in an oak or pine tree), you could probably get away with facing the direction you expect deer to travel. Nevertheless, if it’s a pretty bare tree, you should instead set up on the back side of the tree. Why? It provides more cover for you. You can get away with a little more movement and stay off a mature buck’s radar a little longer if you’re on the back side. Sure, you’ll have to stand more often. But when the action is hot, it’s best to be standing anyway. And shooting around the tree isn’t really a big deal as long as you’ve practiced it. Below are some more tree stand placement tips to take into consideration.
Finally, the HAWK® tree stands are durable and quiet, using Teflon washers to help you hunt stealthily all season. But if you’re going to be stealthy in the early season, make sure to bring your Thermacell® insect repellent. It’s hard to stay unnoticed if you’re swatting mosquitoes away from your face!
Hopefully, you can use these tree stand tips this season to arrow a nice buck!