Outdoors column: August tree stand preparations

by Steve Carney

Contributing writer

August fishing has always been nothing great over the years as we head into some very warm temperatures. Over the last few years I have dedicated the month of August to hanging portable tree stands in preparation for the upcoming bow opener in a few weeks.

Nothing can contribute to your September bow hunting success like getting stands hung in August.

August is prime time for hanging your portable tree stands and then vacating until September and let your human scent disperse.
August is prime time for hanging your portable tree stands and then vacating until September and let your human scent disperse.Submitted photo

Here are some distinct and important reasons why August is the month to get the legwork done.

Human scent

I always hang my stands during August to allow my human scent to vacate and allow the area to get back to normal.

Hanging stands is a sweaty job and the human scent tends to saturate the ground and foliage and it takes a good week to get that absorbed and disintegrated.

Keep in mind along with the stands you also touch leaves and break limbs and send human scent all over the entire area. The key is to get in and get out quickly. Once that stand and area are scent free you can enter the area again in September and be confident you are scent free.

Foliage issues

The wet spring and summer we have had has really accelerated the foliage growth on trees and ground plants. Chances are you will have to do some trimming and removing branches from your shooting lanes.

August is a good time to do the trimming and give the deer a chance to get used to the new changes. Mature deer know exactly when you change the landscape and it takes time for them to adjust. Remember, they live there.

Even the smallest branch removal is an alarm to them that a human has entered their domain. Again, get in and do your trimming and get out quickly and quietly.

Sky lighting

As you hang your stands in August think about the stands and how they will look when the leaves start to fall in October. Will you be skylite?

Skylite means you will be easy to spot with the leaves down and you will be highlighted against the horizon and easy pickings for deer.

A good tip is to pick very thick and wide trees to help shield and hide your human frame. ßThe larger trunks tend to keep your body from being skylite. The skinnier the tree the worse off you’ll be when the leaves fall.

Try and visualize the changes in the woods come October. Many times a stand hung in August is worthless in October and November when the terrain changes.


I always make it a point to have a “wingman” with me during August when hanging tree stands. It is a matter of safety to have someone there in case of an emergency.

Back when I was in my 20s I could hang a dozen portable stands a day with ease but now as I am older and my total now is around three to five for the day. Having a buddy with me gives me peace of mind when climbing trees and hanging portables.

Steve Carney is a contributor to the Outdoors page.