The Best Tree Stand Setups

The Best Tree Stand Setups

By John Trout Jr.

There's no such thing as a typical hunting location. Sometimes you think watching a certain trail will pay off. Maybe you decide to guard an irresistible rub line or scrape. Perhaps you figure a hot food source is going to see the most deer traffic. An ambush site is only as deadly as your ability to pick the right one at the right time. While location is important, it's only part of the right setup. You also need to use the equipment best-suited for the site. I own and use a variety of tree stands hang-onsladder stands and climbers. It's been costly to build my collection, but worth every penny. Like you, I take hunting very seriously. In addition, while I insist upon using only safe and reliable stands, I realize that certain types work better in certain locations.

Pluses, Minuses of Stands

Moreover, I must always think about the element of surprise and whether the stand I choose is best for the ambush site. Let's look at a few situations and discuss stands that work best in each. Any type of tree stand or blind could work anywhere. Nevertheless, when setting up along agricultural fields, food plots, or other open areas, ladder stands and ground blinds are favorites for a variety of reasons. First, consider ladder stands. Manufacturers have done a fabulous job of making these stands easier to set up than ever before. Equally important is the ease of getting them in and out of your hunting area. You can transport ladder stands to fields with less difficulty than woodlots, and they can be left for the duration of the season. Another big plus is that you create a disturbance only when setting up. Finally, many of today's ladder stands offer roomy platforms and seats that keep you comfortable for all-day hunting. One manufacturer claims that ladder stands are one of the biggest sellers and it's where the market trend is going. They now offer 13 types of ladder stands. He also said that customers are becoming demographically older and ladder stands are filling the need to supply older hunters with comfort and features. This individual added that he would like to see more younger people involved in hunting, but statistics indicated hunters, as a group, are not as young as they once were. Ground blinds are another option for the field ambush, and they have improved considerably in recent years. Many allow fast and easy setup with no need to page through complicated instructions. Ground blinds provide a method for escaping drastic weather while still allowing the hunter to shoot most directions. I suggest you set up your ground blind before hunting season to allow time for deer to get used to the new addition. I seldom use them, simply because I would rather be up. Nevertheless, most deer know every crack and cranny of your hunting area and are sure to notice anything new.

Set Up Near Sanctuaries

I love hunting close to sanctuaries those thick, secluded spots where big bucks love to hide. I also am aware that a successful hunter must not disturb bedding areas, which means getting in and out secretively. Portable hang-on tree stands provide this opportunity. Each season, I set up several hang-on stands near bedding areas. What I enjoy most about portable stands is that they are easy to set up, ready at a moment's notice and a quiet way to hunt. Equally, important, I can set up several stands and select the stand where the wind is favorable. I would suggest, though, to use extreme caution when setting up portable stands near sanctuaries. It's risky enough just to walk in and out, but even riskier to spend 30 minutes or more setting up a stand. Big bucks are often close to dense areas in daylight hours, and they could easily take notice of your presence. Many hunters prefer portable stands in woodlots and thickets because of the ease of getting them in and out. I do not sacrifice safety, but I love using stands that lessen the workload and are quiet. There are more options for setting up portable hang-on stands than ever before from climbing sticks to ladders to screw-in steps. Try them all, and you will probably find a favorite.

Try Climbing Stands

When hunting rub lines, scrapes or trails, success often depends on your ability to set up on the spur of the moment to take advantage of wind direction. Climbing stands are versatile and provide the option to be where you need to be to make the ambush work. You can head for a particular hot spot and set up in the most suitable tree. Climbers have been the popular choice of deer hunters for more years than I can remember. Moreover, they are big business for manufacturers rightfully so. Once you set up ladder stands and hang-ons in semi permanent positions, you might be tempted to hunt them when the wind is wrong. The other option in that situation is to not hunt. A climber lets you set up where you know the wind won't cost you. To execute an effective ambush, you should consider the types of stands or blinds you'll need before the hunt begins. Second chances are hard to come by in the deer woods. Remember also that the hottest ambush site is only as good as the stand or blind you choose.

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