By Will Allen
Deer hunters focus on shooting with precision, intensive scouting, and dozens of other factors to be successful. However, the most important aspect of a successful hunt is getting in and out of your stand without disturbing deer. Planning ahead, the right gear, soundproofing, and knowing the deer on your property are the four keys to undetected hunting.
When planning stand sites in the preseason, get your paths in good shape too. Clear any brush that has grown in, cut back unused fences, and mark crossings with reflective tape. If a creek runs through the property, use the creek to access your stand. Your scent will literally be washed away and the sound of your entry will also be concealed. Get to your hunting area as soon as possible so you can take your time getting to the stand. A slow approach is quieter and any sound you do make will be more likely to be interpreted as another deer.
Scent eliminating clothing is now considered required equipment. Pants, shirts, and outerwear are all available from a variety of manufacturers. Rubber boots, gloves, and face masks are also needed to get in and out of the stand while controlling your scent. These items should be cleaned with scent eliminating detergents and stored in a plastic container. If it is possible, hang them outside the night before the hunt. If you’re driving to your hunting spot, wait to get dressed until after you arrive. A light spray of scent eliminator is recommended before walking in. I believe scent eliminating spray is better than cover scents. If you choose the wrong cover scent for the conditions, it pretty much ruins the hunt.
Sound Proof Your Hunt
Zippers and snaps are notorious for making all kinds of noises. If they can’t be removed, wrap them with a little tape to make them silent. The first thing I do with all my stands is cover the platform with outdoor carpet. Apply a thick coat of spray adhesive, then cover the platform with outdoor carpet. Put a couple of cinder blocks or something else heavy over the carpet to help bond the glue to it. After the glue dries, use a utility knife to cut the carpet out of the notches. This will allow rain and snow to pass through the platform. The result is a completely soundproof treestand platform with added traction. Lubricate joints and remove unnecessary snaps and clips. If your stand uses chains, dip them in black poly coating. This is available at your local home improvement store. You can also use it to silence your bow rest. Once your stand is set, scrape away loose bark and swing your gun or bow throughout your range of motion. Snip off branches that could snag or move when preparing for the shot.
Know The Deer
It is impossible to be truly invisible in the woods. The best way to prevent spooking deer when getting in and out of the stand is to completely avoid them. If your stand is near a bedding area, don’t hunt that stand in the evening. Choose a stand in a transition or feeding area instead. Bucks will most likely be bedding during the day and your afternoon hike in will most likely spook them off. Hunt bedding areas in the morning. As you are walking in under the cover of darkness, your buck will be out feeding and chasing does.
Moving in and out of the woods undetected is one of the biggest challenges for deer hunters. Despite the difficulties, learning to be invisible is vital for consistent deer hunting success.