How to Know When You Have Picked the Right Spot for Your Treestand?
Is being in the right place at the right time too vague or is it much more specific than that?
Will we ever really know which came first, the chicken or the egg? And if we put all our eggs in one basket, are we blinding out opportunities? If you don’t know the answer to those two questions, I bet you can at least tell what I had for breakfast today: Coffee.
I know you were probably thinking eggs, and because of that, you missed the point my opening. It’s the fact that I’m focused, an early bird and sharing what may appear to be one thing, can be something else. Now the question is, what does this have to do with hunting and treestands?
Private vs. Public Land
The subtitle might lead you to believe that there is a difference here, but the truth is there isn’t. Whether you hunt public land, or you hunt private land, if you don’t hang your treestand in the correct spot, you’re not going to succeed.
In the grand scheme of things, however, hunters who hunt private or public, can both make simple mistakes that will lead to a repetitive, unsuccessful season. Becoming complacent is a big one. Taking the road mostly traveled is a lazy hunter’s path. Excuses, and blaming others for your lack of success as well as not challenging yourself enough or having enough patience. These actions are all toxic and can lead you down a bad road to an empty hunting season.
For those who succeed year after year, these characteristics may not describe you at all. For everyone else, the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem and that’s what it took for me sadly. Not succeeding the way I wanted to lead me to make changes and adapt to whatever was brought my way.
The Mobile Hunter
I first heard this term about two years ago and I think it describes me best when I’m hunting public land. I scout harder than I hunt, I will change a stand set up multiple times on a short hunting trip, and I’m not afraid to buck the system that so many write about “the way you’re supposed to hunt”. Only recently have I decided to try this more and more on private property and it’s began to produce at a much greater success rate for me.
To know if mobile hunting would work for you, you might need to know what it is. For me, mobile hunting is knowing your surroundings and being able to adapt. It may take targeting a specific deer more than a goal of “just killing a nice buck”. This can be the most rewarding style of hunting but can also lead you down a dark path to multiple upsets.
Scouting is very important to be a mobile hunter. Knowing the layout of the property, regardless if it’s public or private, and understanding the ways of the land. Mature bucks do not get their age by coincidence. They are a master of stealth and being aware of their surroundings. Their sole purpose is to survive and the ones that all get away, are all very good at it. Finding a deer and being willing to adapt to him, his ways and not being afraid to hang and move your stand set up to adjust, can be the difference between watching him from 100 yards away or shooting an arrow at him from 15 yards away.
The Right Tree or the Right Location
Whether you are setting your stand up for the season or just for the evening hunt, you can become faced with many challenges. There are situations where each type of treestand can benefit you more than another. Ladder stands, hang-ons and climbers, all have their place just as ground blinds do. But if the type of stand wasn’t the issue, rather where to place is it was, what are some things that might lead to your indecisiveness?
Let’s say you find a great spot where you know the deer you are after is traveling. He has shown up multiple times on a specific game trail, you’ve scouted and patterned him as best as possible and know where things pinch, to force him to travel in one area multiple times. Or better yet, you go into a new piece of public land and watch a buck head in to bed for the day and suspect he will come out in the evening that same way. You now want to hang your stand and increase your opportunity at successfully harvesting this buck.
As you inch closer to the area, you realize there are good, healthy trees available, but there is a really good set of trees just outside the red zone. Those trees are straight, offer less work to climb, or you can hang a stand quickly and may not require much shooting lane clearance. What do you do?
Of course, the number one priority is your safety. You never want to hang a stand in an unhealthy tree, so that would rule out anything to begin with. But in looking, you find a tree that might have poison ivy wrapped around it (for me this is a near deadly experience). You may see it’s not perfectly straight or doesn’t boast the look of that perfect photo shoot or television show style tree. Maybe there’s just too many branches to even consider creating shooting lanes. Is it best to go to the complacent tree or find a versatile stand that can make that tree work? I suggest the latter.
As I mentioned before and especially when it comes to X-Stand Treestands, each treestand type, has its purpose. If you trade a marginal tree in a prime location for a marginal location with a prime tree, you’ve cut into your chances of success.
I’ll close with keeping safety as the priority but not being afraid of being different. Albert Einstein coined the definition of insanity as “Doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.” Don’t continually do what you have done in years past if it’s not working. Dare to be different, dare to change and dare to branch out, pun intended. Make this season successful and if you set yourself up for success, it makes continuing that success much easier.