Hanging early bow season tree stands

by Steve Carney
Contributing Columnist

Finally a break in the heat and we now are dealing with normal temperatures, helping myself and fellow bowhunters to get into the field and get those tree stands up.

A break in the heat means perfect timing for getting tree stands up.
A break in the heat means perfect timing for getting tree stands up.

I always make it a point to get those stands in place well before the bow season to get the deer familiar with the setups and also leave a week or so to allow your scent to vacate the area.

Here are some tips to get the season started.

Row crops changing deer activity

In case you haven’t noticed, say goodbye to grain fields such as oats, wheat and alfalfa as farmers have moved into the row crops such as corn and soybeans.

The price of these items have motivated farmers to completely rearrange their fields and because of this trend, the deer are changing as well.

The oceans of standing corn are much more diverse, making deer location a tougher puzzle. I have been scouting fields recently and hanging stands along corn field edges that are adjacent to heavy woodlots.

Because of the immense fields of corn today’s modern bowhunter has to scout these fields and find the areas where the deer are feeding.

My best spots to hang a stand are on the edges where the corn stalks have been trampled down indicating a favorite area for rest and food.

It has taken twice as much time this fall to find good corn edge areas because now they have so much more areas of corn to hide and feed.

Early season stands along standing corn are awesome as deer have no problem moving early in the evenings with the standing cover providing them security from being seen from the roadways.

Think leaf cover

Hanging a stand now in early September is really a temporary thing. Leaf cover right now is adequate to provide camouflage for our stands but in four weeks things will change.

Once the leaf cover disappears our stands can become obsolete because we now stick out fairly easily. A stand with no leaf cover around the site is a recipe to being “busted” by a mature deer no matter what the height.

I tend to hang my stands fairly low – around 10 feet with good leaf and background cover. Once the cover leaves, the stands will be moved and I will try and acquire an additional four to six feet of additional height when I relocate the stand.

Trail tips

We all love to hang stands along trails. Trails are a good way to determine deer movement, especially antlerless deer.

I make sure as a rule of thumb that I stay at least 15 yards off any given trail. Too many bowhunters make the mistake of placing their stands much too close to the trail itself and get caught easily drawing their bows by mature deer.

You can get by with lower stands as well, as long as you stay at least 15 yards off the trail.

With proper stand setups you can make sure your bow shots will be no longer than 20 yards every time, making for a great distance for correct shot angles.

Steve Carney is a frequent contributer to the Outdoors page.

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