View Full Version : stand hunting whitetails - ideas?

November 3, 2007, 08:37 AM
Hi all,

I've been deer hunting for several years now and I can honestly say that its easily my favorite hobby. Nothing beats it. I've been wanting to get myself a good climbing treestand for a couple years now as I primarily hunt with a handgun. I hunt in VERY hilly / (almost) mountainous areas of SW Missouri in Mark Twain Nat'l forest. The area I hunt is not farmland but rather deep timbered woods. The longest shot I could EVER get would be maybe 80 yards although 98% of the shots taken would be 10-55 yards, especially where I hunt. Well, I finally broke down and bought myself a new 2007 Lone Wolf Sit & Climb stand and I can't WAIT to get it in the mail! Woo hoo!

I was wondering if anyone has any tips for stand placement in very hilly thick timbered regions of the forest. Oftentimes, just FINDING ecotones and funnels is a task since there is so much hilly ground to cover and there really are food sources everywhere rather than just in certain areas. Due to the fact that I like to hike pretty deep into the woods, usually I will stay out from about 5am until dark, moving maybe once or twice at the most.

I'm thinking that since food is more spread out, I'll look for ideal bedding areas (ie, briars or pines & thermal cover on ridges and benches & ridges, etc) and then set up a stand downwind maybe 50-75 yards from there... I'm not sure. I've always been a ground hunter and adding the treestand dimension to my hunting regimen is new to me. I honestly think it will really increase my chances of getting a deer this year by, if nothing else, getting my scent up off the ground a bit.

What do you all think?

November 3, 2007, 09:57 AM
scouting and experience are key with any stand placement whether on the ground or in a tree. Areas that worked well for you on the ground should also work well in a tree stand......only exception would be areas of smaller trees where visibility is better on the ground. One mistake many make is getting too high in the tree. In heavily wooded areas this can actually cut down on visibility, and getting high up in a tree can make the angle of your shot trickier than standing on the ground since you can only see a deer right under your tree. When hunting heavily wooded areas, I tend to stay as low as possible in a tree stand to keep my shot angles relatively flat and to keep my sight line below the umbrella of foliage. On sidehills one must realize that you will be putting yourself directly in the line of sight for deer on the uphill side.......so minimal movement is critical.

As far as a quick and easy way to find the best stand placement.......other than luck, I don't think there are any. Like anything, you gotta put in your time.

November 6, 2007, 12:26 PM
Don't forget to scout for well used game trails and check around sources of water.

November 6, 2007, 12:32 PM
Buck- I usually put in my time, thats for sure. 10-12 hours a day for 7 days straight during gun season.

bitmap- The only issue with finding game trails is that I don't live there, which makes scouting on a regular basis more difficult. The land is HUGE and its ALL big woods. Also, its on a lake, so there is water at the bottom of EVERY mountain and draw. I think I'm best off looking for either a good stand of White / Red Oaks near a good, thick bedding area and good funnel / pinch points close to those areas.

Only three more days!!

November 6, 2007, 12:35 PM
One bit I can add is that I like to look for trees that have smaller trees growing right beside them and use the smaller tree as cover. I particularly like pine trees with cedars growing around them. I run the climber up the tree and park it between the two trees with the cedar tree covering my lower body. That way if I mess up and move at the wrong time, there's less chance of the deer seeing me. Other trees with limbs draping across in front of you work too. I just prefer cedars. It's a trick i've used for bowhunting for years and when using it I've never had a deer know I was there till it was too late. One of my early bowhunting experiences, which taught me this particular trick, was being made by a 7 pointer when I went to draw. Looked straight at me. He didn't hang around long after that. Now I tuck myself into a little hide like this whether I'm hunting with a bow or a firearm.

Wild Bill Bucks
November 6, 2007, 12:52 PM

The biggest problem you will have with your climbing stand is tree selection. Since I don't get out of Oklahoma much, I don't know a whole lot about the forgien countries like Kansas, Texas, Missouri, ect.:D

But down here in Oklahoma, it seems like every time I want to use a climber, I can never find a tree, that doesn't have a ton of limbs on it. I wind up having to take a saw and cut my way to the top, in order to have a place to climb my stand. There never seems to be a good ole Pine tree when I need one, in just the right place.

Outside of that you bought a good climber.

November 7, 2007, 09:18 AM
I think the most important factor for stand placement is wind.

Even the best stand will be rendered ineffective if it is directly upwind of where you expect deer to come from. This is especially true for more experienced/mature animals.

Obviously, you can't count on a consistent wind direction, but you can have multiple stands that assume different wind directions.

Only hunt the stands where the wind is in your favor, not the deer's.


November 8, 2007, 01:06 PM
I always chuckle when people say "upwind from where you EXPECT to see deer" ... Deer can come from any direction. In the public land / big woods I hunt, this is especially true. Not only that, but the wind swirls around the hills like you wouldn't believe.

I'm unfortunately not blessed with having any farmland type area to hunt huge deer. Just seeing deer where I live seems like luck. Here, one really is FORCED to take their deer hunting game to the next level because of the amound of land involved.


November 9, 2007, 02:46 AM
Don't forget to use aerial photos. They are good for seeing things that you would never know about, given your situation of not being there to scout.

There will be changes in cover that can be seen from above. It is easier to find subtle terrain features, as well as edge effect by seeing changes in the tree canopy, that you may not recognize from the ground.

If you can get recent photos taken when there is snow cover, many game trails can also be easy to see. Small thickets that may be bedding areas can also be observed. No sense in not using all available sources.

November 9, 2007, 03:10 AM
Medda- I have been scouting via topo / aerial maps since April of this year :) You're right, it IS a very good way to pre-scout an area. What I usually find is that 1) my maps are old (since im hunting a VERY rural area) or 2) it REALLY helps to actually BE there since my maps dont really distinguish between young hardwoods and mature hardwoods, although you can tell a pine/conifer/evergreen from a hardwood simply by color.

I guess I just need to move here.... :)

BTW, I just got to play w/ my new stand for the first time tonight... i cant wait to get up in a tree for thr first time tomorrow morning!! woohooo!!

November 9, 2007, 11:17 AM
BTW, Safety harness from the time your feet leave the ground until they return. I learned the hard way.

November 9, 2007, 01:19 PM

Have you looked at the area you hunt on google map lately? Most topo maps that are available use old satellite imagery, google has been updating with the latest photos. I recently bought some land that has the new satellite photos. I can see the small log pile left from when the land was recently logged as well as the old logging roads and even some trails that run through the woods that barely would be considered single track.. It is worth a look anyway.

November 10, 2007, 11:23 AM
I usually scout for fresh tracks/crap and along trails and then put the stand about 30 yards or so off of that depending on the thickness of surrounding vegetation. Get about 20 or so feet up and go for it. I look for open areas to set back off of so you have more shots and greater usable field of vision. Ideally I like to be about 15 yards in the woods just off of a field. I've also set up looking across a swampy area that is low and open that deer might be found crossing.

Other tips, get out earlier and stay out later than the other guys. Be in your stand at sunrise, ready to go. Wait until you can't wait any longer (for lack of vision) before heading in at night. The majority of my parties kills have been early (which I'm always unprepared for) or late (real pain to field dress a deer in the dark).

Couple of tips.....lock your stand up at night. It will get stolen otherwise.

Safety....unload rifle and tie rope to it. Climb tree, then haul the rifle up.

Personally, having to hunt in the bitter MN cold, I would rather stalk deer. It keeps me warmer and provides more of a challenge.

A stand is an efficient way to hunt though. Good luck.

November 15, 2007, 01:58 PM
Deer that have been hunted hard will often retreat to a steep hillside that faces west. They will hide out there until it gets dark when they will come out and feed.

There is a DNR rifle range on the Apple Creek Wildlife area in SE Missouri. Several years ago I had been hunting a mile or 2 down the road from the range. There were people out there shooting all afternoon. At dark I started home and ran across a lost hunter and gave him a ride back to the range parking lot. By the time we got there it was pretty dark and as we turned into the drive the headlights swept the field between the road and the range. It was absolutely FULL of deer... I counted 26 before they spooked.

Remember, less than an hour earlier there had been guys out there shooting just yards away. The next day I hunted the hill just across the road and scored a kill. I think I was one of the few guys that filled his tag within range of a range and I did it 3 years running before I moved.:)