What’s Giving You Away in the Tree Stand?
Ever been busted by a nosy deer in the tree stand? If you’ve been deer hunting long enough, you’re probably familiar with that terrible blowing snort noise that whitetails like to make when they’ve got you made. While it’s impossible to completely hide from a deer forever, there are several ways you can make it easier on yourself and fool them a little longer. More time in the tree stand could be what it takes for you to seal the deal and punch your tag. Let’s get started by looking at the first of these six hunting tips.
1. Tree Stand Placement
Many hunters might give it a quick thought or two, but the placement and arrangement of your tree stand can really make or break a hunting trip. Obviously, you need to make sure you’re in the right area and have a good chance at seeing a whitetail within range. But that’s only half the battle. You also need to make sure the deer won’t notice you when they finally do walk by.
Here’s the first hunting tip: put yourself in a deer’s position. When you walk along their main trail or enter a fall food plot and look up at your HAWK® tree stand, what do you see? Does it stick out like a sore thumb? Or does it blend in seamlessly with the trees around it? Here are a few ways to make your tree stand placement a little better.
- Consider the time of year. Early fall will be full of bushy green leaves to cover your tree stand. Late fall could mean nothing but barren trunks and leave you exposed.
- Are you sitting too low in the tree? The higher you are (within reason), the less likely deer are to look up and notice you. Plus, your scent should carry up and over their noses.
- If they still notice you, have you tried placing your tree stand on the opposite side of the tree? That way, there’s much less to stick out and it can hide your movement from a big buck.
2. Camouflage Clothing
Another major reason you get busted in the tree stand is that your deer hunting clothing is older than that dusty high school trophy you’re still hanging onto. While anyone at any time could still kill deer in blue jeans and a white tee, having the latest camo drastically increases your ability to stay hidden in the tree stand. Most people might not think about their hunting wardrobe for deer hunting tips and tricks, but clothing degrades over time and old camo patterns fade. That’s why Non-Typical™ clothing by Drake® stands out against the competition. The comfortable garments sport Realtree® patterns, which are super realistic and don’t fade. They stay crisp in detail, making you blend in perfectly with your surroundings for many years to come. Plan out the best camo pattern for the area and time of year you’ll be hunting. Wearing late season waterfowl patterns high up in a tree in September doesn’t exactly blend in. That might not be deer hunting 101, but it’s pretty close.
3. Scent Control
Of course, we have to mention scent control – we are talking about deer hunting tips after all. More often than not, a deer will smell you before seeing or hearing you when you’re in the tree stand. One of the most tried and true hunting tips is to play the wind when you hunt. If you’re always downwind, they can’t smell you. But sometimes you can’t avoid it. Maybe the wind’s swirling in a valley or your favorite stand can’t be approached without alerting a doe group. Either way, you need something else.
Start your hunt with D/Code scent elimination products by Code Blue Scents®. From laundry soap, shampoo, to field wipes and sprays, the products will kill odor-causing bacteria on your skin to give you a clean start. From there, you need to use some kind of scent control clothing. The Non-Typical™ clothing’s Agion Active XL™ Advanced Control technology is anti-odor to keep you scentless for those situations where you can’t avoid the wind.
4. Staying Stealthy and Quiet
Whether you’re walking to the tree stand or in it already, one of the first hunting tips most of us heard was to be quiet. That principle applies to your tree stand, your hunting clothing, and your behavior. HAWK® tree stands have a welded design and Teflon washers to make sure your tree stand won’t be the one making noise…as long as you don’t bump your gun or bow into it! If you’re prone to that kind of thing, you might want to wrap your tree stand in athletic tape to dull those inevitable clanking sounds.
Also, take some time to test out your hunting clothes to make sure they’re not loud in the woods. Many waterproof garments are extremely noisy – you might as well wear wrapping paper! Non-Typical™ clothing with HydroHush* is 100% waterproof, but the plush fleece material is absolutely silent! When you stalk a bedded deer, walk to your tree stand, or simply need to stretch in the tree, your clothing won’t give you away as long as you move slowly. One of the best deer hunting tips for early season is to clear some paths in mid-summer to your tree stand areas so deer will be used to them before opening day. That way, you can still sneak into your hunting area without bothering them.
“It is exciting to work with a company that has built a great product like the Non-Typical™ clothing. However, when you combine the product with the whole family and team behind the company, being every bit of great as the clothing they make…now you have got the perfect situation!” – Michael Waddell
5. Don’t Let Deer Pattern You
If you’re a creature of habit, it’s pretty easy to go to the same tree stand day after day, regardless of the weather conditions. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long before deer, especially mature bucks, start to pattern your movements and give you the slip. To big woods bucks, any sign of hunting pressure will cause them to change their routines. Ask a consistently successful hunter for hunting tips, and they’ll probably tell you that you need to switch things up and pay attention to the weather.
For example, pick a tree stand location that you can stealthily sneak into without alerting deer in the first place (remember number one above?). Always stay downwind of bedding or feeding areas, and quietly tip-toe into position. If the wind isn’t right for your location, just don’t hunt it. You might be able to take a doe for the freezer, but the risk of spooking a mature buck is too great. Save your best tree stands for the perfect weather conditions. That alone is one of the most ignored deer hunting secrets that could help you tremendously.
6. Lighten the Load
If you simply have a few hours to hunt after work, you’re probably not bringing all that much gear with you. But if you have to hike into a remote location for an all-day hunting sit or you like to film your own hunts, it sometimes feels like you’re more of a mule than a hunter. It’s easy to fill a backpack (or even two) with all the hunting gear one can collect. And if you have to rely on a deer hunting equipment list, you might be using too much gear. All this extra weight causes you to sweat more on your hike in, is bulky in the tree stand, and may even be a source of noise as you’re banging it around.
As far as hunting tips go, this one may seem counterintuitive. Instead of bringing everything you could possibly need, try downsizing to the bare minimum. Eat some high-energy snacks and chug a bottle of water before you leave the vehicle. Then grab your weapon, ammunition, a knife, your license, and maybe some rope. That should be enough to get you through a hunt with as little bulk as possible.
This fall, consider these hunting tips and see how they impact your ability to stay hidden in a tree stand longer than you could have before.