by Chris Larsen
It’s tree stand setting time. Hunters will put a lot of effort into tree selection based on trail camera info, terrain, deer traffic, and many other factors. Once a good location is found, it’s imperative to locate a suitable tree to set the stand in. I recommend finding a tree that can get you 20 to 25 feet off the ground. Can deer be effectively hunted at lower heights? Yes, but hunting high can allow you to make a mistake or two and still put an arrow in a deer.
Bowhunters wash their specialty clothing in special detergent, store their equipment in special containers, spray themselves with special scent reducing spray, then hunt in ordinary stand locations. It just doesn’t make any sense. If you think that all that stuff is making you undetectable, put your hand up to your mouth and smell your breath. The fact is, no one is 100% scent protected. Setting your stand high will help disperse your scent above and away from your hunting area.
Mature bucks rarely approach a stand site from the direction you plan. They didn’t become mature bucks because they are stupid. This makes moving around in the stand almost a necessity to take a good shot. Being high in a tree will help cover up any movement including grabbing your bow and drawing on the deer.
Another advantage of high tree stand sites is sound damping. While loud sounds won’t ever go undetected, noises like coughs, tree stand squeaks, clothes rustling, and the draw of your arrow will be dampened by higher altitudes. Again, this could mean the difference between a trophy whitetail noticing your presence and a successful harvest.
Once the arrow hits the deer the key advantage of a high tree stand setup is realized. Simply put, the angle the arrow hits the deer creates a lower exit wound on the animal. Thus, gravity works with the hunter and creates a blood trail that is easier to track.
Sky high hunting isn’t for everyone. Hunters need to practice shooting at heights because the angles are different. If you are afraid of heights, getting a deer in close may not matter if you’re shaking in your shoes on the release of the arrow. It’s also more difficult to climb into a stand that is higher off the ground. It doesn’t matter if you are 10 or 25 feet off the ground, always wear a safety harness. Many of us would leave wives and children without a husband and a father if we didn’t come back from the hunt. For the ladies, the same warning applies. There is no trophy whitetail worth that kind of tragedy. Keep 'em up and keep 'em safe.