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Old October 10, 2007, 08:59 AM   #1
capitan-d
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First tree stand hunt, need tips!

This year I will be going on my first deer hunt out of a tree stand. I have so far read a few articles that offer tips for scouting, tree stand placement, and the use of scents and/or scent eliminators.

I do not own a tree stand yet, I plan to purchase the cheapest one I can find.
-Are there any safty issues with the cheaper ones or is it all a matter of comfort?
-Do cheaper ones squeak/creak or make noise?

Which of the many scent products actually work? Do I really need to use a different toothpaste?

Do you guys suggest taking a pair of binoculars with me?

I read an article that suggested you wear rubber boots and rubber gloves when scouting to minimize the human scent. Is this a good rule to follow?

For a first timer, can any of you fellow hunters offer me suggestions or pointers to help make the first hunt a successful and enjoyable experience?

thanks,
devin
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Old October 10, 2007, 10:46 AM   #2
tyrajam
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After growing up in Oregon, I also had a big learning curve to deal with when I moved to Indiana and used a treestand for the first time. I'll try to help you with my limited knowlege.

1. Location: Don't set up right on a deer trail, get 10-15 yards back from it. Look for heavily used trails along waterways, field edges, saddles, oak groves with good acorns, or other food-travel areas. Look for droppings, tracks, scrapes, rubs, all of the usual good stuff. I started using trail cams last year and they are wonderfull for figuring out when/when the deer are moving.

2. Equipment: I have a cheap ($99 new) climber that I have used and its just as good as my buddy's lone wolf that I've used-except it's HEAVY! I think comfort and safety are the same, it just weight 5 times as much.
For hang ons, the cheap ones will get noisy if you leave them out, and they usually won't be as comfortable as the more expensive ones. The things to avoid are small foot rests-believe me they are brutal-and small hard seats.

3. Equipment: Good binos are a huge plus. A rangefinder is nice. Also get a few cheap screw in hangers to put your pack, bow/gun, calls, and rangefinder within easy, uncluttered reach. Make sure you have a rope to pull up your equipment after you are settled-don't ever climb with a bow or gun. And most importantly, use the harness that comes with your stand! This is not something to mess around with, falling out of a tree kills more hunters every year than guns do. Plus the harness lets you lean out from the tree to get a more clear shot.
I use scent free soap, shampoo, deoderant, and detergant. Its important to spray down with a scent eliminator before you hunt also.

Have fun and be safe!

Last edited by tyrajam; October 10, 2007 at 10:48 AM. Reason: extra info
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Old October 10, 2007, 04:08 PM   #3
john1911
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Quote:
I do not own a tree stand yet, I plan to purchase the cheapest one I can find.
-Are there any safty issues with the cheaper ones or is it all a matter of comfort?
-Do cheaper ones squeak/creak or make noise?
No real safety issues. The more expensive stands will tend to be lighter and more quiet.

Quote:
Which of the many scent products actually work? Do I really need to use a different toothpaste?
Watching the wind direction is more important IMO.

Quote:
Do you guys suggest taking a pair of binoculars with me?
I've forgotten a lot of different items on the way to my stand, I will go back for my binos. Most important item right after gun/bow.

Quote:
I read an article that suggested you wear rubber boots and rubber gloves when scouting to minimize the human scent. Is this a good rule to follow?
I wear rubber boots most of the time when I hunt deer. I can't hurt.

Quote:
For a first timer, can any of you fellow hunters offer me suggestions or pointers to help make the first hunt a successful and enjoyable experience?
Sit still and be quiet. Lots of hunter think that if they're in a tree they can move around a bunch. Deer will spot you in a stand if you fidget.

Make sure your silhouette is hidden.
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Old October 10, 2007, 04:18 PM   #4
rantingredneck
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Not to beat a dead horse but........

.......if you haven't read this already please do........

http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/...d.php?t=263730

Safety harness my friend.
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Old October 10, 2007, 04:42 PM   #5
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One thing I learned the hard way - and you don't say if you are looking at a self climber or hang on type.

When using a self-climber, strip down your clothing before hiking in to whatever you need to not to sweat. Then when you get to the "magic tree" - strip down some more. Put all your clothes in your pack and tie it to your pull rope.

If you can get up in the tree without being wet with sweat, you will be a lot more likely to sit still once you get dressed again. Tree stands are (my opinion) the absolutely coldest way to hunt in the universe.

I got to the point I was stripped down to a light-weight red union suit and then going up the tree. Pretty amusing, I admit, but it helped me stay warm longer.

NEVER climb up with a weapon in hand or slung - use a pull rope on an unloaded weapon. ALWAYS wear a safety harness.

Good luck. I never got used to tree-stand hunting, and was glad to move back to Oregon, so I wouldn't have to anymore...
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Old October 10, 2007, 11:49 PM   #6
capitan-d
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Thanks for the tips guys, they shall lead me to Victory!

How do I tie off the harness if I haven't climbed the tree yet? A harness thats not tied off isnt going to do me much good.

devin
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Old October 11, 2007, 07:14 AM   #7
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I tie off once I get into position. If you fall while you are climbing you can stop yourself with the bottom platform.

I suggest finding a good tree and practice climbing before you get into the woods to hunt.
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Old October 11, 2007, 07:32 AM   #8
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Look at Summits website. They use a "Prussic Knot" climbing system. It is very user friendly, and if you fall while climbing you won't have to rely on the lower platform.
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Old October 11, 2007, 10:11 AM   #9
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Is there a minimum suggested height a deer stand should be?

thanks
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Old October 11, 2007, 10:56 AM   #10
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Trouble with a prussic knot is you need a line tied off at the top, so if you are just going up the tree, there is no line.

I would just rig up my harness and put it around the tree above the top part of the climber. Yeah, it is a hassle, having to slide it up the tree ahead of you, but not as much hassle as breaking major bones when you fall.

The prussic knot is a great way to go if you are going to use the same tree. Once you get to the top, tie off a line that is long enough to tie off at the bottom as well. It works best if the line the prussic knot is on is pretty tight so you can slide the knot easier.

There is no minimum height. If you think about it, people hunt from ground blinds. If you are going to be 10' or less, I would suggest some camo around you on the stand - either one of the systems made for that, or just some branches poked through the bottom of the stand.

There is a whole school of thought that "higher = better" that I do not agree with. Going above 15' +/- never seemed worth the extra work. Problem I saw was when using a self-climber, you have to account for the reduction in diameter of the tree as you go up and there is a limit to how much you can do that at ground level. I would start out with the bottom angled severly up so I could set the cable tight and by the time I got to the hieght I wanted to hunt, the bottom platform would be pretty level.
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Old October 11, 2007, 11:28 AM   #11
capitan-d
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Sounds good, I was thinkin' about covering the stand with camo as well either way, this will allow me to keep a blanket up there around my legs and feet. (It gets damn cold in december in iowa!)

If anyone has any suggestions as to stands that have worked well or ones that have not worked so well Id like to hear about it. I need to go scout before I decide on the style of stand Im going to go with. Hopefully I can get out there this weekend!

thanks
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Old October 11, 2007, 01:07 PM   #12
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In Iowa we usually used blinds made from burlap stretched between two t-posts on a barbed wire fence. Last time I was out I used an outhouse blind and that helped cut down on the wind alot. Blankets can be used and won't compromise your position and actually can help break up your sillouette better than just camo. Just sit still (if you can) and glue the binocs to your face every 20 min or so. And get there EARLY!!! I have been late getting to a stand and kicked up deer that then switched their routine around because I showed up.

P.S. This may sound gross but have a bottle with to urinate in. Means you don't have to leave the blind and if you get real cold it coumes out at 98 degrees and can work as a hot water bottle
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Old October 11, 2007, 03:26 PM   #13
capitan-d
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Good call about the bottle. Id better take a 2L.

How anal do I need to be about my sent when scouting and hunting? I read rubber gloves and boots. Why Rubber? Is leather okay? Cloth?

Can scent free shampoo, laundry detergent, and soap found at your local wal-mart?
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Old October 11, 2007, 06:27 PM   #14
davlandrum
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Scent-free soap/shampoo/detergent should be available at your local Wal-Mart. There is a whole thread here somewhere (do a search) about taking care of clothing.

Rubber boots don't absorb scents that will then transfer to the ground/bushes while walking. I wear them sometimes when the weather is warm enough (too cheap to buy the super-insulated rubber boots).

Does it hurt to be careful with your smell? Absolutely not. Would the sellers of those fine scent-control products like you to believe you can't kill a deer without their product? You bet. I think the answer lies somewhere between ignoring scent control completely and going completely nuts about it. I also think it really depends on what the deer are used to in your area. Deep woods really remote, human scent might be a big shock. Just outside the limits of the suburbs, maybe not so much.
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Old October 11, 2007, 06:29 PM   #15
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I used to go completely nuts over the scent control stuff, and even carried a pee bottle. Now I wash my clothes in Tide and pee out of my tree stand.

I kill as many deer now as I did then.
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Old October 11, 2007, 06:31 PM   #16
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Of course I fall out of my tree stand too so don't listen to me
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Old October 11, 2007, 06:49 PM   #17
davlandrum
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RR - LMAO.

At least you can laugh (probably a little painfully) about it. Speedy recovery!
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Old October 11, 2007, 06:52 PM   #18
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I try to find the humor in everything otherwise I'd be more insane than I already am.
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Old October 11, 2007, 08:59 PM   #19
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I don't have the luxury of having fifty different stand locations where I can pick the one with the wind just right so I tend to be careful about scent. I shower with the unscented soap and wash my clothes in unscented detergent without UV brighteners. I use "fresh earth" dryer sheets and store my hunting clothes in plastic bags. I also use scent eliminator spray on my backpack, seat pad and other gear.

I agree that it's probably not all necessary but I don't get that many chances to hunt so I'm willing to pay attention to the details. I agree whole-heartedly about the safety harness/rope. I use a second-chance type belt that has a built-in attachment point for a carabiner on the buckle. I made a sling out of tubular webbing that I loop around the tree and clip to the belt with a locking carabiner. As I move up the tree, I can loosen and slide the loop up the tree as I climb.

With climbing stands, $$ spent often equates to comfort and ability to stick it out and stay still when other hunters are squirming around and/or heading for the truck. That said, I much prefer ladder stands that can be left up all season. It's not usually an option on public land though.
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Old October 12, 2007, 12:49 AM   #20
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from what I understand it's more your scent of where you are than where you've been. If you stand in one place for a long period of time you will leave a trace scent. If you have a windbreak to protect your scent from blowing around (like me in my outhouse blind) then scent cover is not a really big issue. If you are on the ground it is more important than in the trees since your scent risesdue to body temperature. If you have the carbon layered clothes (like my parka) it helps keep the scent in.
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Old October 12, 2007, 02:48 AM   #21
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Safety harness my friend.
Spend some money for a GOOD safety harness. The simple loop that comes with most tree stands and goes around your chest is NOT good enough -- you can easily fall out of it. And even if you don't fall out of it, the stress on your body when it slips off your chest and up under your arms can cause serious damage.

Get a lineman-style harness that goes over your shoulders, around your waist and chest, and under the crotch.

I've read that 1/3 of hunters who use tree stands fall out of them. And more than a few have wound up in a wheelchair.
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Old October 12, 2007, 05:23 AM   #22
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Read what the rest of the posts say, lots of good stuff. The one about walking to and climbing in light clothing and then putting on the heavy stuff when in the tree is a good one.

Something not mentioned, and forgive me if I missed this but it appears you have not bought a stand yet, is what to chose for a stand.

I'll not champion a spicific brand. I've owned a good number over the last 30 years and with the exception of my first one, a Baker, all of them have had plusses and minuses. That old Baker though.................well it tried to kill me a few times.

Here are some general things I would look for:

1. Folding stand. Makes it much easier to get to and from site. Takes a little longer to set up though. And I will admit that I have two Timbertall Baby Lites that do not fold but rather nestle that I really like but in general stands that fold flat are better for carrying.

2. Pick as light a stand as will do the job. The less the stand weighs the further you are likely to carry it. This makes you less likely to pick a spot because it looks "good enouogh" and is close.

3. Ask about how easy the stand is to attach to the tree. I like my climbers but have used strap on styles a lot. Strap ons can be a pain. But, and this is important, with a strap on you can almost ALWAYS find a tree very close to the spot you want to hunt. This is not always the case with a climber. Some of the areas we hunt are heavy on the Live Oaks and they just do not lend themselves to climbing, especially the older trees.

4. Make 100% sure you have a GOOD carry strap system. Pads on the shoulders and a strap around the waist just as you would with a backpack to transfer the weight to your hips. Same reason as for a light stand.........you will carry it further.

Last thing...............with a light, easy to set up and easy to carry stand you will be far more likely to change spots because it will be easy. I don't care how careful you are with scent and the like it is a good idea to move from spot to spot and if your stand is a pain to move you will not so it as often.
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Old October 12, 2007, 09:35 AM   #23
capitan-d
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That is correct, I have not yet bought a stand. I want to go and look around to see what my options are for stand placement. I think I would prefer a climber but I dont know how many trees I am going to be able to find that are optimum for climbers (no low limbs). I should be able to get out this weekend.
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Old October 12, 2007, 10:58 AM   #24
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excellent points by bswiv.

I replaced the carry straps that came on mine with carry straps from an Army rucksack so they would have some padding, etc., then I just tied the pack on the back of the stand. Really an unbalanced load, but manageable.
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Old October 12, 2007, 06:42 PM   #25
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I am with RR on the scent thing. I just never got into the washing/spraying thing. I just do not worry about it and pay more attention to wind direction and seeing the deer before they see me. Are you going to put the stand on private or public land? A safety harness is a must though.
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