Picking the perfect tree and tree stand placement tips


Picking the perfect tree and tree stand placement tips

By Craig Lamb

Whitetail deer hunting from a tree stand has many distinct advantages. The greatest is the mobility factor. The hunter can move the stand based on changing deer movements with little notice.


Too often the hunter chooses which tree to climb and hang the stand based on shot clearance and proximity to the deer trail. That’s not such a good idea. The tree itself, not where the arrow will end up, should be the first consideration.


The reason is that all trees are not created equal. You will hear that often from the staff at TenPoint Crossbow Technologies. The same people who thoughtfully design, rigorously test and manufacture the Ohio-made crossbows are avid hunters.


“The first step is eyeballing the shot from the trunk before you climb the tree,” says Jake Miller, who is on the staff. “There should be more thought into whether or not it’s the right tree, though.”


“A tree with loose bark, like a birch or hickory, can be unsafe and spell disaster for the tree stand hunter,” he adds. “The last thing you want is to get up the tree and have the stand slip because of loose bark or another hazard.”


Before climbing the tree, he looks at the age, shape and bark density of the tree. Straight, healthy trees without low hanging limbs are his ideal choice.


Mature trees offer benefits such as full canopies for hunter concealment and sturdier trunks to support you and the stand. They also stand out due to sheer size and are easier to find in a dense forest. You can get the stand higher—up to 20 or 25 feet off the ground—and mask your body scent even better.


Just keep in mind going higher increases shooting distance and angle. Farther makes for a long shot and shorter steepens the shooting angle.


Trimming branches from mature trees to create a wider shooting lane is a given. Just avoid being too liberal in cutting away small branches. As the season progresses the leaves will go away and so will some of the vital concealment cover.


For tree size, the simple rule is choosing a tree wide enough to silhouette your body. That same tree should be narrow enough for both arms to go around for easier climbing and stand hanging.


Consider all of the above factors during pre-season scouting trips. Making waypoints of the best trees with a handheld GPS is more than a good idea. You will have a list of trees from which to choose if the hunt requires moving to multiple locations.


Another pre-season ritual involves the mechanics of setting up the tree stand. Most are simple and quick to assemble.


“I treat it like pre-season physical conditioning, sighting in my bow and target practice,” says Miller. “Going through the drill of actually setting up your tree stand is good mental practice.”


That is even more important when using a new tree stand for the first time. While most look and deploy the same, the manufacturers also have specific features that hunters need to learn before going into the woods.


“Follow the safety procedures provided by the manufacturer,” suggests Miller. “There might be a feature on one stand that does not operate the same as another.”


Miller, a crossbow hunter, finds great use for a feature that is standard on most climbing stands.


“The safety rail provides a great shooting rest for a crossbow,” he says. “You can get an even steadier shot similar to using a shooting stick on the ground.”


With that tip in mind Miller recommends positioning the stand, so the hunter faces shooting direction. Doing so allows you to take advantage of using the rail.


Before choosing which trees to harvest foresters conduct a timber cruise. Whitetail deer hunters, and specifically those using climbing stands, can do the same for more success in the woods.  


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Original Source: Sportsmans Lifestyle.com


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