Treestand hunting is not an exact science. We all learn with experience, and there is definitely an element of “feel” involved when it comes to choosing stand locations and hunting them.
That said, there are definitely some rules to follow if you want stands that consistently produce high-odds shots at whitetails. This article isn’t about deer movement or funnels or that sort of thing; this is the nuts and bolts of stand placement. Add in some scouting and a few seasons of experience and you will be consistently taking whitetails from the branches above.
So, without further ado, here are my 10 best treestand hunting tips:
- The higher you go, the easier it is to keep your scent above the heads of downwind deer, but the more difficult the shot becomes — especially when the animal is close.
I have a friend who believes, through personal testing, you have to be at least 30 feet up to keep your scent off the ground for a long enough distance that deer passing within range on your downwind side won’t be able to smell you. I would agree, not because I hunt that high, but because I know my normal height of 20-22 feet is not high enough.
Being afraid of heights, I don’t like 30-foot stands in the first place, but I keep my stands lower for another reason. The shooting angle to a deer’s vital area is much better from a lower height. Our goal as bowhunters is a double-lung hit. There are exceptions, but we should set up to achieve that. The higher you go, the harder this becomes, especially on deer within 10 yards of your stand — possibly even 15 yards if you go high enough.
Twenty to 22 feet is a very good compromise. That is about as high as you can go and still have a good angle for a double-lung hit on deer that are 10 yards away, possibly a bit less. And this height still keeps you above the normal peripheral vision of deer within 20 yards.