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Ask Winke NAW+ Stand Hunting Whitetail

Do Ladder Stands Spook Deer?

by Bill Winke   |  July 19th, 2012 11

I just bought a ladder stand and I was wondering if this kind of stand will spook the deer.  How long should I let it sit before I hunt that stand? — Jeff Dearing, Canton, Ill.

Jeff Dearing asks if ladder stands spook deer and if so, how long must he wait before hunting a recently installed ladder stand?

Deer will get used to almost anything if it is in their environment long enough.  I have a friend who is convinced that if he could stand in the middle of his clover food plot day and night for two weeks the deer would start feeding all around him even though he looked and smelled like a person.  I will let him be the test pilot on that one, but the point is well made – deer will adapt quickly to things they have tested and found to be harmless.

I think Larry’s two weeks is a good low-end standard.  A month is better, but if the stand is up for at least two weeks prior to you hunting it, I think the deer will be moving past it without stopping to stare at it all the time.

Another important aspect of ladder stands has to do with where you place them.  I always try to place my stands on the back of the tree (away from the direction I expect the deer to approach) whenever possible.  This way the deer aren’t as apt to see me.  With a ladder stand, you are more likely to be in the open than with other stand types because the nature of the design requires that a branch free part of the tree is required.  Setting up on the backside of the tree is a big part of assuring that deer won’t see you.  Yes, you will probably have to stand to shoot, but that is better than having the deer staring and snorting at you.

  • Myakka Chuck

    I like the ease, convenience and safety of a ladder stand and have used them successfully but they do tend to stand out (no pun intended). To combat that, I use a combination of fake leafy branches (like the CamoFlex branch cover system, see Cabelas, etc.) and faux vines that can be purchased at a good gardening center. Both basically consist of fake leaves attached to wire-core stems. The fake branches are attached to the stand and can be bent into almost any shape. I wrap the vines around the vertical ladder supports. I've had scads of deer walk under the stand, although I've never seen them try to take a bite. the only drawback is it's sometimes its hard for for me to see the stand until I'm very close to it, so know your location well.

  • Big Sky Hunter

    I live in Montana and I have been hunting out of my 20ft ladder stand now for 3 years and the deer don’t even know that I am even there. Being up in a Ladder stand is safer than a climbing stand and you don’t have to use a safety device to wear. I use some camo netting around mine and being up that high lets me see deer up to 400 to 500 hundred yards away during gun season, and I have deer trails all around it, so it makes it easier to hunt during archery. I have scored a 161BC 11pt whitetail 2 years ago and if I wasn’t in my stand I don’t think I would have been that lucky.

    • brettmilleroutdoors

      You have to wear a safety device every time you go into a tree no matter the stand. WOW! Even if you don't, that's your way, don't spread that so some kid will think he or she doesn't have to either.


        alwas wear a safety harnes when you leave the ground period

  • Robert Haggerty

    I have used them in the past and will again in the future. Location is a key point. I move stand locations often. Pack it in, and pack it out. Hunting public and semi private land requires a different mindset to placement. Not only do you want the game not to see it, but other hunters as well. Trying a new product this year for my stands that I leave in place. A human 'decoy', worked good for turkey season. if interested in one contact Jeff Proctor on Facebook. The first time you hunt a stand, I find is your best chance, the more you hunt the same location, the more you have a chance of spooking game.

  • Dave Morris

    I hunt in NJ and have actually had a doe walk between the tree and the ladder. I wound up killing that doe a few minutes later. The ladder did not spook it one bit.

  • CTCrow

    I hunt Connecticut and I only hunt out of Ladder Stands. I have a total of 8. One 25 acre parcel has 3 to play the wind and the others are in 5 diferent properties.

    I killed 6 deer last year from 5 to 20 yards and saw another 60-80 deer within 2-30 yards from my stands. once they get used to them is just like another tree branch. One doe laid for over an hour 5 yards from my stand. She got spooked when I shot the buck that came within 10 yards.

  • Thunderheart48

    I have to agree with all of the above I he used a 16' ladder stand for the past 10 years and havr never spooked a whitetail in all ten of those years, as above always get it on the back side of the tree and I believe you'll be good to go for years to come.

  • Hicks

    hang it and hunt it. I have found the best hunting has been the day you put up the stand. put some brush around the legs to break up the outline and climb in.

  • Brooks

    going to post this at good stuff

  • Bally

    I live in IL and I went out with my husband who has the 'Hunter Elite System'- it was easy and not too loud :)
    Check it out at

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