Tree Stands

Tree Stand Maintenance | Take Your Tree Stands Down or Leave Them Up?

Considerations Around Post Season Tree Stand Maintenance

Do I take my tree stands down or leave them up? This debate plagues hunters each year, and if you are like most then you have at least several stands around which to ponder this question. There is no right or wrong decision here depending on several factors. The only exception is on public land where certain state laws prohibit leaving a tree stand up after the season.

 

Tree stand maintenance is important to remember after the conclusion of a hunting season. Quality portable tree stands and permanent stands are a significant investment, so it is important to maintain them. Maintenance is an aspect that not only guarantees the lifespan of a tree stand but also makes for safe hunts. With many hunters focused on post season scouting this time of year, take the time to consider if you are going to leave your tree stands up or take them down and how those decisions relate to maintenance.

 

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When to Leave Your Tree Stands Up

First of all, leaving your stands hanging in the woods is an option that favors those hunters who own their own land or exclusively lease hunting grounds. In these situations, leaving a tree stand in the woods until next year may make sense depending on a few factors.

 

For stands that are constructed as permanent hunting havens (think box stands, wooden ladder tree stands, etc.), their design is such that warrants them being positioned and left out year after year. They are built to be comfortable, spacious and robust enough to handle the elements, which is why you are hunting out of it and not a portable tree stand. These stands are best left in the woods so long as they are in prime hunting locations and that yearly, or more frequent if needed, tree stand maintenance is performed.

 

Another reason to leave a stand up is that it may not be in an area that is easily accessible. If you have put in the time scouting and found the perfect tree for hanging a tree stand, it is hard to pull it out after the season. Leaving it up, even if it is one of your many hang on tree stands, is an option so long as you remove any tree stand accessories, lock it down and schedule time before next season to inspect and complete any necessary tree stand maintenance.

 

There are some that argue that leaving a tree stand up after the season minimizes disturbance in an area. While it is true that not going into a spot one more time is one less time for you to spread scent around or bump a deer, right after the season it is virtually harmless. Pushing a deer in winter from an area will have little if any impact on next deer season. Likewise, the scent you may be distributing as you tear down tree stands will not stick around the nine months or so until opening day. So from this perspective, reducing disturbance in a prime location is rarely a valid reason to leave a stand up after the season.

 

When to Take Your Tree Stands Down

Leaving a tree stand up, in certain circumstances, can be an option for hunters. However, tree stands are not an inexpensive hunting item and they hinge on your safety. Quality tree stands are durable and made to withstand the elements yet still require care. The right tree stand maintenance can make a stand last a lifetime not to mention keep you safe while hunting.

In general, taking your stands down each year is beneficial. The best time is right after the season ends. The benefit to removing them now is, if you are concerned about disturbing the area, you allow plenty of time for things to calm down. Also, you can combine pulling stands with post season scouting, both of which will give you an advantage this upcoming deer season.

 

The obvious reason for taking down a tree stand is simply you may not want to hunt that particular spot next year. There is a lot of time between now and the start of next season. Your post season scouting and summer scouting trips may bring you back to this spot or lead you in another direction. Either way, there is no point in leaving any stands up year round that will be moved anyways. Also, if there is a requirement in your state that stands have to be removed by a certain time, you are obligated to get out there and pull them down.

 

Safety is by far the greatest reason to take your deer hunting stands down. Although it is often taken for granted, hunting from a tree stand is dangerous. Being suspended 20 feet in the air on a poorly maintained tree stand can be fatal. Also, wear and tear are not the only concerns you should have by leaving stands up. Squirrels and other animals can chew, rip and otherwise damage tree stand ratchet straps, seats and cables. All of which put you at risk if not handled during annual tree stand maintenance. Tree growth, in addition to animals, can cause damage to your stands. Even the smallest growth can be enough to pop a cable or break a strap if not checked yearly.

 

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If you do decide to remove tree stands after the season, one thing to watch is the weather. Winter conditions can make for slippery climbing sticks and an icy tree stand ladder. Always think tree stand safety anytime you are using a tree stand.

 

Tips for Post Season Tree Stand Maintenance

 

You should now have a pretty good idea as to if you are going to take your tree stands down or not. Those that can be removed, should be but maintenance does not end there. On the contrary, each year you should inspect your stands at the end of the season and also before you go to hang them for next season. Depending on which type of stand you have, tree stand maintenance activities can vary.

 

Permanent Tree Stands

Traditional permanent stands are becoming less and less popular as better portable tree stands hit the market and further restrictions on how stands can be attached get implemented. The trouble with traditional permanent stands is that many are constructed from wood, which rots and becomes less stable over time. Metal replacement ladders for tree stands like these are a good option if you do go with a wooden platform since most of the maintenance here has to do with rotten ladders. The other permanent alternatives available to hunters are box stands and tower deer stands. Stands like these are much more durable and less vulnerable to having major safety issues compared to traditional permanent stands.

 

With any type of permanent stand, you want to check any screws, nails and bolts used to hold the stand together. Likewise in the case of tower and box stands, the mechanisms for how the stand is set up also needs to be inspected. Exposed hardware, even on deer box stands, weakens over time. Connectors can be loose or snap from the weight of ice and snow or become dislodged from high winds. Tripods or posts holding them up can also shift from now until you get back in them in the fall. Double check the positioning of these elements in the pre-season if they are to be left out for the year.

 

Portable Tree Stands

Tree stand maintenance does not end when you pull a stand from the woods. The best way to treat these stands is by never taking anything for granted. Although many are built with materials designed to last, they are still susceptible to normal wear especially if you use them frequently. Make it part of each post-season and each pre-season routine to visually inspect your portable stands. Go over all connection points for loose nuts and bolts as well as check all welds for any noticeable cracks. Most importantly, physically test cables and straps used to attached the stand to the tree and secure the platform. Offseason tree stand maintenance should include the follow fours areas:

 

  1. Safety concerns. Focus your maintenance activities first and foremost on safety aspects. These include cables and straps, which are usually the first to show signs of wear. Failure with these components can mean serious injury the next time you climb in if left unchecked.

 

  1. Heavy use areas. Places on the platform where you keep your feet can wear off factory paint, which will lead to rust over time. Look for areas where rust is forming and sand it down and add some touch-up paint to protect the metal.

 

  1. Seats. A good seat can be a lifesaver during all day sits in archery season. These wear out every few years or get ripped or chewed by animals. Invest in a new seat instead of repairing to make sure you have the comfort you need in the stand next season.

 

  1. Proper storage. Getting your tree stands indoors until next year is good but cleaning them up and storing them properly is great. Rinse off any dirt and dry them off before putting stands in for the year.

 

Take your tree stands down or leave them up? Well, it depends. If possible, the best solution is to pull down your tree stands after the season. Each stand should go through proper stand maintenance to ensure they are ready to deploy at the start of deer season this year. For those permanent stands that are left out in the woods, make sure you take the time to maintain them. Time spent on tree stand maintenance not only increases the life of your stands but also keeps you safe.

 

public land hunting

How to Find Worthwhile Public Hunting Land

Public Hunting Land | Branching Out to New Areas

 

You might be blessed to hunt on private land of one type or another. Maybe it’s been in your family for generations. Maybe you worked your butt off to buy or lease a prime whitetail property with food plots. Or maybe you just know a guy who got you access for a free hunt on some land down the road. Any way you slice it, there are some great advantages to having a piece of property to yourself. But there are also some amazing opportunities and benefits from public hunting land. In fact, they might just stack up to tilt the favor away from private land.

 

First, there is literally so much public hunting land out there across our great country that it would be darn difficult to ever hunt it all. Granted, some states are better positioned for it than others, but there’s a lot out there. It’s basically free to use, so you never have to worry about missing a loan payment. Technically, your tax money helps purchase and maintain some of these areas, so why not use them? Many public lands include some truly scenic and amazing areas too. And as nice as it is to manage private land, it can sometimes get a little too routine. You fall into the same procedure every hunt, which doesn’t push you to grow your skills. With public properties, you can switch it up every day and stay fresh all hunting season. Trying new areas challenges you as a hunter, helps build your outdoor skills, and kicks tree stand boredom out the window.

 

But it can definitely be intimidating when you start your search. Luckily, it’s really never been easier for someone to quickly locate several great hunting spots from the comfort of their own home. Sure, some actual boots on the ground will be the only way to really know you want to hunt somewhere. But before all that, nimble up those fingers and start searching for some amazing public hunting land near you.

 

The Search for Public Land

 

The easiest way to start is to simply open up whatever search engine you want and type in “public hunting land in MN” or whatever state you live in. Alternatively search for “state hunting land near me” or “public hunting grounds near me” for a long list of properties. In Minnesota alone, for example, you’ll find county land, state forests, miscellaneous state hunting land, state trust lands, wildlife management areas (WMAs), waterfowl production areas (WPAs), industrial forest lands, national forests, and the list goes on. Usually, your state wildlife agency website will be a good resource for locating public hunting land. But if you’d prefer the old-fashioned way, call up a local office and ask them about public opportunities near you. Most of them will be happy to share, and they may already have a public hunting land map for you. As a last resort, whip out some county plat books and keep your eyes open for any of the property types mentioned above.

Don’t forget to look at surrounding properties and access to the public hunting land. After all, some portions of a particular unit may be land-locked by private property or require a very lengthy walk/ATV ride through a swamp to get to it. This is especially important if you primarily use ladder stands, as some public lands do not allow tree stands to be left on the property overnight. In that case, you’d need to take some fixed position stands or climbers with you that you can set up and take down in a day. The Blackhawk is a great option for strict public lands because it is very light, even when combined with the Quick-Stick climbing system.

 

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After finding a few potential places, it’s time to get some more information about them and develop a short list for hunting. Typically, there will be some kind of web page devoted to most of the common public hunting lands above, which will provide some more details about the terrain, land cover, wildlife present, or access. After weeding out a few more options, it’s time for some desktop scouting.

 

Scouting for Deer…with Your Computer

 

If you don’t already use Google Earth® for hunting, you really need to be. It is such a powerful tool for quickly looking at cover types, saving tree stand locations or trails, and even keeping track of past hunting activity throughout the years. In some cases, you can also search online for “land ownership Google Earth” to find county-specific ownership layers that you can import into the program, which makes the whole process even easier. Anyway, open it up and zoom to the location of the public hunting land you’re interested in. From here, it’s time to pan around and zoom in and out to get a feel for the property. If it passes this test, it’s probably worth investigating in-person.

 

As far as things to look for, think about what you would look for on a scouting trip. Thick cover, bedding areas, food sources, water, travel routes, funnels/pinch points, and tree stand locations are all things you should be able to estimate from this aerial research. If you find that you can’t really tell from the aerial imagery, there is a way to also view historic imagery, which might offer a better view. For example, your current imagery might have been taken in summer and everything appears to only be a different shade of green. But using the historic imagery slider, you can toggle back until you find one that was taken in fall or winter. During those times of the year, the leaves are gone and you can see specific tree species really easily, not to mention bedding areas and funnels in much crisper detail. You can even see deer trails through cattail swamps with these images!

 

how to find worthwhile public hunting land

 

Now here’s where it gets really exciting. You can create polygons of spots you expect to be good bedding areas, save lines for potential access trails, or make points for good tree stand locations. By saving these spots on your custom public land map, you can print it and bring it with you to the woods when you decide to ground truth it. From there, you can easily cross things off the map if they don’t look like you envisioned, or draw additional points and notes to record later back in the program. This makes it such a powerful tool for any deer hunter.

 

Make the best use of this winter by starting your scouting for new public hunting land right now. It’s never a bad thing to have too many properties you can hunt on a given day; unless of course you find perfect tree stand spots for each one. But that’s a pretty good problem to have, don’t you think?

fall turkey hunting from a tree stand | Big Game Treestands

Fall Turkey Hunting from a Tree Stand?

Take Fall Turkey Hunting to New Heights

November is flying by at a record pace. Before you know it and if we’re lucky, we’ll be gathered around a table giving thanks with family or friends. Now imagine going out yet this fall and putting a big tom turkey on the ground, just in time for some Thanksgiving table fare. How proud would you be serving your family and friends some fresh, deep-fried wild turkey instead of the store-bought version? If that seems like it would be a fun twist for your tradition, you should consider going fall turkey hunting this year.

While spring turkey hunting typically gets most of the hype and attention, there’s a lot of exciting action to be had in the fall too. Some states have more relaxed regulations for fall turkey hunting, which can increase your chance at harvesting a bird. In Minnesota, for example, the fall turkey hunting seasons are liberal and you can possess an either-sex fall tag. That means you could legally kill any turkey that strolls within range. That alone drastically changes the game if you’re hoping to guarantee a Thanksgiving bird. To make things even easier, this article is going to discuss how to successfully hunt turkeys from a tree stand. If you’ve already got turkeys in your hunting areas and have some deer stands up, you’re all set!

How Are Fall Turkeys Different?

fall turkey hunting from a tree stand | Big Game TreestandsBefore you hunt, it’s important to know the different turkey habits in the fall; they are very different critters than they are in the spring. Springtime is all about mating season and courtship displays, while fall is all about food and survival. Toms will spend a great deal of energy chasing hens in the spring, but they pretty much stick to bachelor groups in the autumn looking for food sources. Because of these tendencies, you would typically use hen decoys and hen calls to convince a tom to come investigate in the spring, but you need to use tom or jake decoys and similar male calls to get a gobbler to come by in the fall. As you can see, there are a lot of big differences between hunting a spring turkey versus a fall turkey.

Why Tree Stands for Fall Turkey Hunting?

Most people associate hunting turkeys with ground blinds, and that is definitely the most common approach. In the fall, many people also choose a run and scatter tactic, which can use the bird’s confusion to bring them right back in for a shot. But in most cases and places, people already have tree stands in place for deer hunting throughout the fall, which means turkeys are used to seeing them. Why not use them? Generally, they are also already very concealed and located on food plots or good travel routes, which are good spots for turkeys as we’ll discuss below. Depending on where you hunt, many turkeys are not used to aerial predator attacks. Since most hunters don’t approach them that way either, you can sometimes get away with a little more movement, especially if you’re wearing a good camouflaged set of turkey hunting clothing,. Finally, it requires the least amount of work to do, assuming you already have some tree stands up. If you don’t have some existing ladder stands or pre-hung lock on stands, your best bet is to choose mobile stands (i.e., lock on stands). That way, you can adjust your location easily depending on where the turkeys are or are not. You may want to hang a universal shooting rail with the fixed position tree stand, so that you can drape a camo blind kit around it for additional concealment; just don’t hang it so high that you can’t see the decoy below you to make a shot.

Speaking of the best locations to find fall turkeys, food sources and travel corridors are the best. Clover and hay fields offer greens for turkeys to eat with room to run, while brassica fields offer food and cover. Wooded cover between roost trees and feeding areas are also good ambush sites, particularly if there are any hawthorn, crabapple, or similar fruit trees. Many fall turkey crops have been full of small apples or fruits after shooting them. If you have deer stands in any of these areas, consider hunting them with a new goal: a fine turkey dinner.

Fall Turkey Tactics

Now that you see why tree stands can work so well for fall turkey hunting, let’s look at some specific turkey hunting tips you can use. First, you may want to monitor your hunting property for a few days with trail cameras, just to survey the area and see what’s happening. You can get a lot of information out of a trail camera, including how many turkeys are on your property, the number of toms/hens/jakes/jennies, the time of day the turkeys are using an area, and which direction they are coming from/going to. Review the pictures to form a plan about where and when to hunt.

fall turkey hunting from a tree stand | Big Game Treestands

If you’d like a large tom for the table, set up a male turkey decoy (probably a jake) in the food plot, field, or travel corridor. Whether other toms feel threatened or just want to come check out the new bird in town, decoys are very useful for fall turkey hunting to provide a distraction point and draw them in quickly. The more realistic the decoys, the better. Set the decoy up about 20 yards from your tree stand, so that you can still take an ethical shot if a gobbler hangs up beyond it. Again, make sure you can see the decoy and position your shotgun from your tree stand; you don’t want to have to stand up and move around to get ready.

Now as far as how to call fall turkeys, we already mentioned it briefly above. Males respond to male calls and females to female/poult calls. One of the best fall turkey calling tips if you’re looking for a gobbler is to give a few tom yelps every twenty minutes or so, which are lower and raspier than a hen. It should follow a slow three-note cadence, followed by a pause and another three-note yelp. After calling, listen intently as toms may call back and give you a warning as to where they may approach from. If the decoy is on a main feeding field, is visible from a distance, and turkeys are in the area, they will likely make their way to the field anyway. As soon as they hear audible proof that a jake is standing there, they will often come running in on a string.

Time for a Thanksgiving Bird

This year, consider going fall turkey hunting to have a Thanksgiving you won’t forget. And if you’re looking to try an even more unusual tactic, try sitting in the deer stand to do it. It makes for a great story around the table!

6 tree stand exit strategies for hunting the rut | Big Game Treestands

6 Tree Stand Exit Strategies for Hunting the Rut

Exiting Your Tree Stand Undetected While Hunting the Rut

Getting to your hunting tree stand undetected is a prerequisite for choosing a spot to hang it. If you cannot navigate through the woods silently and scent free then the game is up. You will spend countless hours staring at an empty forest or field edge. However, increasing success in the rut is not only about the route you take to your stand but also how you exit it. With that said, how come hunters spend very little time trying to conceal their exit from their tree stands?

Few too many hunters do not consider their tree stand exit strategy. How many times have you climbed down, packed your tree stand accessories and started out only to be startled by the sound of a deer snorting at you? Whether there are deer around you as darkness looms or you simply want to reduce your presence in a prime rut location, having a plan for leaving your stand, or your hunting blind, can produce results that may otherwise be unnoticed. Having a tree stand exit strategy is as important as planning your entry route. Even if you have not seen any deer, carelessly exiting your tree stands can blow your chances when hunting the rut.

Planning for an Exit

The rut is different as we all know. Deer are completely out of their early fall patterns and many mature bucks are in chase mode. This time of year it is even more important to have a clean and clear stand exit strategy. Hunting the rut only gives you a small window of time to hunt so preparing beforehand is critical to making every day count.

6 tree stand exit strategies for hunting the rut | Big Game Treestands

Low-impact is what you are trying to achieve, both entering and exiting your tree stands. Planning for an exit from a stand is accomplished with good preparation. Complete scouting of areas to determine likely deer movements, habitat features and prime forage areas helps to determine where to hang a tree stand but it also gives you an idea of how to get in and out.

Use maps and aerial photos of your hunting area to pick routes that will disturb deer the least. Avoid areas that could be used for bedding spots like thickets near reliable food sources and defined funnels that bucks can be patrolling during the rut. You also want to avoid noticeable buck activity like scrapes and rub lines. Leaving hunting stands and blinds by crossing a scrape line will get you noticed by the big boys and blanked for the rest of the rut!

Another part of hunting the rut is planning to take your time not only hunting but when you are exiting your stand. Hunters take their time getting to their tree stands, wait patiently for a buck to approach while in them but leave in a flurry like something is chasing them. Rushing to exit your stand will create unnecessary noise as you rush to collect all your necessary hunting accessories alerting any deer that may be off in the distant shadows. Plan you exit routes so that you can take your time getting out of your hunting locations silently.

Additionally, effective entry routes may not make the best exit paths. Entering a hunting location depends on a number of factors like season, time of day and weather. Each of these three factors, along with others, impact how you should enter a particular spot. The same holds true for exiting any of your portable or ladder tree stands. Late in the day deer may be approaching food sources unlike when you started hunting when they may have been near bedding areas. You want to make sure your exit plans take these factors into account. Finally, conditions should also dictate if you should even hunt a particular stand on a given day. If the conditions (wind, changing deer activity, etc.) are not going to allow you to exit without making your presence known then choosing a tree stand location somewhere else is in your best interest.

Common Sense Ways to Exit Your Tree Stands

Before we get into specific tree stand exit strategies, there are a few common sense approaches to leaving your hunting tree stands. The more you are careful when leaving your tree stands the more productive they will be during the rut.

  • No Talking – Not hard to do if you are hunting by yourself but when hunting with a friend the temptation to ask about what they saw is overwhelming. Save the stories for the truck.
  • Stay Concealed – If you are leaving a stand during daylight hours, keep your camo on until you at least get out of your main hunting area. Stripping down to a visible base layer shirt can easily get you picked out while leaving your stand.
  • Lower Lumens – Flashlights are a must for exiting tree stands at night but avoid those that could be substituted for a spotlight. Use just enough light to get out quietly or change to a colored variant that is less visible by deer.

6 Tree Stand Exit Strategies

How many times has the sun slipped away and you hear the sounds of approaching deer in the distance? Shooting light is no more but you can just make out the outline of a deer body followed by the shine of antlers. It is too dark to shoot but you do not want to ruin this location for future hunts, so what are your exit options? Hopefully, this example is an exception and not the rule when you are hunting the rut. Regardless, it pays to have a good exit strategy from your hunting stands and blinds. Here are five ways to get out of your stand when deer are nearby.

  1. Stay Put. The best option when deer are around you after shooting light or when you need to get out of your stand is to wait them out. Staying in your stand until they have moved on will keep them from realizing you are there and potentially blowing your hunting spot in the future. After they are gone, slip down and leave quietly. The downside is this may take all night!
  1. Announce Your Presence. There are times when you cannot wait them out. When you have to go, spooking them with something other than “I am a hunter” is the next best strategy. Carry a coyote howl or other predator call with you for these situations. Sounding off a predator call will have any deer in your vicinity heading away without directly connecting their alarm to your tree stand. Use this sparingly and only when staying put is not an option. Use this strategy too much, however, and deer start to know something is up.
  1. Go Wide. Sometimes deer are not directly under your stand but rather feeding in a nearby field or food plot. For these instances, slowly and quietly climb down or exit your archery blind and take a wide path around the deer as to not let them know you are there.
  1. Multiple Escape Routes. Being able to go wide when leaving your stand is only possible when you have planned multiple exit locations. You want to have one main exit path, pre-planned as described earlier and up to two alternative locations to exit from. This is critical when hunting the rut as deer can be anywhere chasing does and your first choice may not be available. Using trail makers can help you identify alternative routes when the time comes to use them.
  1. Choose Wisely. Not only do you need multiple exit routes but they should be chosen wisely. Stay away from active deer areas like food sources. Also, trim exit paths to avoid brush busting and spreading scent as you leave your tree stands.
  1. Use Common Disturbances. This technique requires the right area and some help. When hunting urban areas and agricultural spots, deer are used to cars, trucks, tractors and other common disturbances. Having one of these spook deer away from you is natural for deer in these areas. Take advantage of waiting for a car to pass by or call in a buddy to bring the tractor to the field to push deer away from your hunting stands and blinds. Deer will vacate and will just think it is another normal day to day disturbance, which they will not associate with your hunting spot.

6 tree stand exit strategies for hunting the rut | Big Game Treestands

There are many tips for hunting the rut but being undetected is often your best hunting strategy. Mature bucks will be cruising for does and deer, in general, will be outside of their normal patterns. It is more important this time of year to stay concealed than deciding where to hang a tree stand. An average stand location with the ability to get in and more importantly out concealed is better than one that has difficult access but sits over exceptional deer sign. What is the point to sit over sign if you are alerting everything in the woods to your existence? Exiting silently will make for better future hunts in the rut and increase your chances of running into a mature buck. Seeing bucks in the rut is not always related to the amount of rut activity (scrapes and rubs) but rather it is connected to the number of deer you alert to and from your tree stands.

Exiting your tree stands should always be done methodically. From collecting all your tree stand accessories to safely climbing down, the end of a hunt is not the time to get sloppy. The same holds true for leaving your hunting area. If you are not well prepared or you have not thought of tree stand exit strategies, you may reduce your chances the next time you return to that particular spot. It is all about staying undetected during the rut. Be conscious of remaining concealed from start to finish of every hunt because that is what separates those who are consistently successful from those that are consistently baffled.

essential tree stand gear hunting accessories | Big Game Treestands

Which Hunting Accessories Do You Really Need?

The Ultimate Essential Gear and Hunting Accessories to Bring to the Tree

The topic of “essential hunting gear” is often pretty controversial. Everyone has their own opinion of what item deserves a spot in their hunting backpack, and as a result, the conversation can be hotly contested. The key is in knowing which hunting accessories and gear are truly essential and which are comfort items. The first category are things that you literally couldn’t hunt without, either because you didn’t have the necessary tools or couldn’t stay in the tree stand long enough to see a deer anyway. Then there are just “nice-to-have” items, which might keep you slightly more entertained or maybe offer a slightly more comfortable sit. Knowing the difference between the two is critical if you have to hike into your hunt (e.g., during a backcountry hunting trip) or simply don’t have much room in your tree stand. In these cases, you need to eliminate the unnecessary items as much as possible. We’ll only discuss the items that will offer a distinct advantage to you on your next hunt, and are therefore considered essential.

Naturally, the essential gear and hunting accessories you need will depend on what kind of hunt you’re doing and what season you’re in. An early September hunt for antelope on the Great Plains will require very different hunting equipment than a late December hunt for northern Wisconsin whitetails. The further north you go, the higher in elevation, or the later in the season you hunt, the more warm clothing options you’ll need. On the opposite side of the coin (e.g., southern regions or early season hunts), you’ll need lighter, sweat-wicking clothing to keep you cool and dry. For the purposes of this article, we’ll assume we’re hunting deer in the middle of the country in the early season to mid-season time frame of October (i.e., right now). Use this as a starting point and adapt your hunting gear list to your conditions and specific type of hunt.

Types of Essential Deer Hunting Equipment and Hunting Accessories 

For easier reading and organization, we’ve divided the different pieces of hunting gear for whitetail deer into separate buckets, if you will. From clothing to weapons to other necessities, we’ve got you covered. Take a glance through the different categories and see how your deer hunting supplies list stacks up before it’s time to head to the woods.

Hunting Weapon-Related Gear

Depending on when the seasons open in different states, a mid-October time frame almost certainly includes bow hunting, but it may also include gun season. Either way, if you’re not bringing a bow, crossbow, rifle, or shotgun to the woods with you, you’re probably not going to fill your tag. But if you forget your corresponding ammunition at home, you’re also going to go nowhere fast. Almost every hunter has at one point forgotten their ammo in the garage and had a very uneventful day because of it. Always keep your arrows in your bow case or carry an extra box of ammunition in your backpack throughout the hunting season to ensure you’ll be able to keep hunting. And if you’re bow hunting, you might also want to keep an extra release in your coat pocket…don’t act like you haven’t forgotten it before!

  • Bow, crossbow, rifle, or shotgun;
  • Arrows, bolts, cartridges, or shells, respectively;
  • Case to transport your weapon;
  • Release (for bow hunting).

Hunting Clothing Items

As we mentioned, clothing requirements will vary across the country and between people. Some folks run hot and some run cold. But there are some basic types of clothing that you can scale up or down. What we mean is that you can add or subtract layers or use warmer or cooler versions to get you where you need to be. The pattern of your hunting clothes is also important, as some states and seasons require you to use blaze orange, while others approve of camouflage clothing. Make sure you know which one you need. When you’re deer hunting, you also need to pay attention to your scent; more specifically, you need to hunt without it. That makes scent elimination clothing so important. In no particular order:

  • Hat (visor to keep the sun out of eyes or stocking cap to keep head warm);
  • Base layers (to wick sweat away from skin);
  • Insulating layers (adjust for your situation);
  • Shell layer (water and wind resistant to keep your other layers dry and protected);
  • Rain gear (for when the skies really open up);
  • Socks (regardless of season or location, wool socks will be a valuable gear item);
  • Hunting boots (appropriate to keep your feet warm and dry);
  • Gloves (hunting with cold hands is miserable and dangerous).

Tree Stand-Related Gear

Given the title of this article, we’re assuming you are indeed going to end up in a tree stand at some point. You’ll obviously need to bring that with you, as well as any miscellaneous straps, ropes, chains, locks, or ladder sections to actually hang it and climb into it. Depending on what kind of hunting you’ll be doing, you may want a slightly different type of tree stand. Climbing tree stands and hang-on tree stands are great for staying mobile and keeping the deer guessing. But ladder stands and box blinds are reliable stands that you can return to with no work involved. If your feet will be leaving the ground, you really should also be using a safety harness to ensure that an unexpected departure from the stand doesn’t end up badly for you. Always stay connected to the tree using a harness and safety line. Safety equipment should never be considered as hunting accessories.

essential tree stand gear hunting accessories Accessory Hooks | Big Game Treestands

  • Tree stand (ladder stand, climbing stand, hang on stands, etc.);
  • Quick-Stick ladder sections (if a hang on stand);
  • Miscellaneous straps (for attaching your tree stand);
  • Chains, cables, and locks (to secure your stand from would-be thieves);
  • Safety harness with a safety
  • Tree hooks for bow, gear, and backpacks

Other Necessary Hunting Accessories

After all of the gear above, it might seem like you’re fairly covered and couldn’t carry anything else into the woods with you anyway. But there are a few other hunting accessories you really need to make your hunt more productive. Assuming you actually get a deer, you’re absolutely going to need a knife to field dress it. It’s also just useful to have in the woods to help with cutting rope or cord or marking your license. A set of high-quality optics is also critical for noticing deer before they notice you. Depending on the area you’re hunting in, you might not have a good spot to really glass a long distance (e.g., dense conifer forest, etc.). But it is really handy to assess a buck from a distance to see if he’s a shooter or not before he gets close enough to see you moving. A range finder is also critical for laser-accurate bow shots. Unless you are committed to getting in and out of the woods quickly during the day, you should carry a flashlight or headlamp with you. If you’ve ever been in the woods once darkness falls, you know it’s a completely different world. Even if you’ve been hunting the same area for years and spent all day studying every single trail and tree from your stand, you can lose your way in a split second once you’re on the ground. Carry a light with you. You can partially eliminate the issue of getting lost by marking your trail using reflective tacks or markers too.

essential tree stand gear hunting accessories | Big Game Treestands

When it comes to getting closer to deer (or bringing them closer to you, more accurately), you need to pull out all the hunting accessories. Using whitetail deer calls and convincing scents will drastically increase your chance at encountering a nice buck. When used in combination, they can fool a buck into thinking there is a doe in heat hanging around, which is almost guaranteed to interest him. This is especially useful in mid-October, which is typically the pre-rut period. No matter what clothing you’re wearing, you can still pick up scents from your truck or ATV, so always spray everything with a scent elimination product before you head into the woods and when you get to your tree stand.

Then there are all the other necessary items that make your life easier. A 20-foot length of rope or paracord is really helpful for many things in the woods, from hauling deer, hanging a tarp, or pulling your hunting accessories up into your tree stand with you. However, it’s more convenient to use a Magna Lift for hoisting gear up into your stand. Many hunters often forget (or willingly neglect) to drink enough water while sitting in a tree stand all day, but it’s critical to bring a water bottle or canteen with to stay hydrated. Since many people start their mornings with the aid of coffee, you’ll find that you’re suddenly very dehydrated in the middle of the day. And you can’t think clearly when you’re dehydrated. The same thing goes for food. If you don’t snack throughout the day, your blood sugar will plummet and so will your reasoning, patience, and strength. You should always have a folding saw in your hunting pack because a near-perfect tree for a climbing tree stand could be made perfect by just trimming a few branches. Finally, keep some toilet paper in a plastic bag in your pack. Don’t learn the hard way. Enough said.

  • Fixed blade or folding knife (field dressing, general purpose, etc.);
  • Binoculars;
  • Range-finder;
  • Headlamp or flashlight;
  • Reflective tacks and markers;
  • Doe can call and buck grunt call;
  • Doe in estrous scent and buck urine scent;
  • Scent eliminating spray;
  • Rope/cord/Magna Lift (for hauling deer or hoisting gear);
  • Water bottle and snacks;
  • Folding hand saw
  • Toilet paper.

essential tree stand gear hunting accessories magna lift | Big Game Treestandsessential tree stand gear hunting accessories lift cord | Big Game Treestands

It might seem crazy once you lay all of these items out that you could possibly bring them all into the woods with you. But these hunting accessories and gear items are important to help you stay comfortable all day and improve your hunting success. If you’re comfortable and content, you’ll be more likely to stay in the woods for the long haul until you can put a deer down. Will you need every one of these items on every single hunt? Maybe not. But when you do need them, you’ll need them in a bad way. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

hanging tree stands trim sooting lanes | Big Game Tree Stands

Hanging Tree Stands | How to Trim and Hunt Shooting Lanes

Cutting Shooting Lanes While Hanging Tree Stands

If you’re used to hanging tree stands in thick woods, you know the value of shooting lanes. Without them, you might be able to see a mature whitetail buck moving below you, but you could not ethically take a shot at it; this is especially true if you’re bow hunting. While natural openings work well enough in some forested settings, some are not well-suited for this. Some examples could include young aspen or conifer forests, which grow too densely together or have too many lower branches to effectively take a shot through them.

Conventional wisdom is to wait until the week before deer season opens before hanging tree stands and clearing new shooting lanes or cleaning up existing ones. This can be a problematic situation. Deer are far more familiar with their environment than many realize. Imagine if someone knocked down one of the walls in your house or cut down one of the trees in your yard. You’d realize it pretty quickly, right? Deer know their surroundings very well and can notice when something looks different. They can also smell the freshly-cut trees lying around with whatever other scent you leave behind. Depending on where you live, this might not bother them all that much or it might put them on high alert. For example, suburban deer might not hesitate to move through a disturbed area like this, but big woods bucks would certainly be suspicious of the area for several days, if not longer.

A better strategy is to go out in the mid-summer months to cut new shooting lanes and clean up old ones. If you hunt on private land, this is also a good time for hanging tree stands. Then, a week or two before the season opens, you can simply go check everything to make sure the lanes are still open and in good condition. Unless a tree falls within them, they should only require minimum work (and thus disturbance) to finish them. But first, let’s take a step back.

Planning Your Shooting Lanes

Before the chainsaw or pole saw comes out into the woods with you, you need to do some quick thinking. For help visualizing how the shooting lanes will fit into the surrounding area, use some desktop scouting software to map it out before you cut anything. Ideally, you should also climb into your tree stand and picture the best direction for a shooting lane to go. Which way would be the most advantageous for a quick shot? Also, how many do you plan to cut? You want to walk the fine line between not seeing enough ground and having too many lanes. Though each tree stand location will vary in its shooting lane requirements, a good rule of thumb to start with would be at least 2 to 3 lanes per stand. This way, you can cover three different directions to accommodate different deer travel patterns.  Be sure to remember this every time you are hanging tree stands.

The ultimate design or layout isn’t really important – it just depends on what you’re willing to do and how much the deer would be disturbed. If you’re going to cut a series of larger or longer shooting lanes, it’s best to do it now so whitetails have time to settle down and get used to the new openings. The simplest option is a basic V-shape extending out from your tree stands, so you can see in two different directions. Theoretically, if a deer walks in front of your stand, you should get one opportunity to spot the deer and one to shoot it with a quartering away shot. However, another popular option is the hub and spoke design, where there are several shooting lanes radiating out in every direction from the tree stand. This allows a hunter to intercept deer along any of these paths.

hanging tree stands trim sooting lanes | Big Game Tree stands

The ultimate length of each shooting lane will depend on your goals for that location too. For example, if you plan to only bow hunt from a given area, you really only need lanes that are at your maximum ethical shot distance. For most, that would be 40 to 50 yards in length. This helps you gauge distance without a range finger, and eliminates any temptation to take a longer shot. But if you plan on hunting with a rifle, you could easily have 200 yard lanes in front of you.

Trimming While Hanging Tree Stands

hanging tree stands trim sooting lanes | Big Game Tree StandsAs we mentioned, the best time to cut these lanes with the least impact is when you’re hanging tree stands. It doesn’t really matter which type of hunting tree stands you’re setting up. But if you’re going to go through the effort of cutting shooting lanes, it goes without saying that you should probably hunt it more than just once or twice out of climbing deer stands. The best tree stands for these lanes would be something more permanent, such as ladder stands. The Venture ladder stand has a wide, curved platform with a matching seat so you can watch several shooting lanes around you.

First, climb into your deer stand and locate the direction you chose earlier. Now pick a landmark tree off in the distance along your intended path. Stay between your tree stand and that landmark as you cut, which should produce a straight shooting lane. You can use a chainsaw for larger trees, but a simple hand saw and pair of pruning shears/loppers is usually all that’s needed for saplings and brush. Inevitably, there will be branches from larger trees extending into your shooting lanes that would interfere with a shot from up in your lock on stands. An extendable pole saw is invaluable for these situations.

How to Enhance Your Shooting Lanes While Hanging Tree Stands

Instead of simply piling the cut branches and brush off to the sides of each lane, consider using them to enhance your tree stand concealment. Wary whitetails often look down each side of a shooting lane before entering it. Your tree stands will really stick out if you don’t use some natural camouflage. Use zip ties or twine to attach some of the branches to your tree stands, which will break up your outline in the tree. Bring along a portable tree saw when you hunt, just in case something shifts in your stand. You can also prop cut trees up against your tree and attach them to the base so your single tree looks like a clump.

hanging tree stands trim sooting lanes | Big Game Tree StandsAdditionally, deer will sometimes use shooting lanes as short-distance travel routes since they offer the path of least resistance. But sometimes they will bolt right across them since they have no real reason to stay in the open. There are a few hunting methods to counter this tendency. The first would be hanging a scent wick where you want them to stop within the lane, and applying your favorite deer odor to it. Another, where legal, is to use a mineral block near the end of the lane to catch early season bucks.

Planting small food plot strips along your lanes is also great to hold them still long enough for a shot, this is something you should keep in mind when hanging tree stands and trimming shooting lanes. Provided your lanes get enough sunlight, simply use some herbicide on the existing vegetation, being sure to use one that will kill cut tree stumps (e.g., triclopyr) as well as the herbaceous growth (e.g., glyphosate). After letting the herbicide work for a few weeks, go back in and expose the soil using a hard-tined rake, roughing up the surface a little in the process. Broadcast seed that can handle your local soil, sunlight, and water conditions. Perennial clover varieties should work great on shaded trails with less-than-perfect soils. Remember, you’re not trying to make these shooting lane food plots into lush, ultra-attractive plots. Instead, you simply want deer to pause for an opportunistic snack while they’re walking through. Therefore, you don’t need to spend a lot of time and money making them look like one on TV.

You probably didn’t think much about shooting lanes when hanging tree stands before, except that they might give you a better shot at a deer, if you were lucky. But if you use the tips above, you should be able to increase their effectiveness many times over to put luck on your side.

tree stand blinds tree stand concealment | Big Game Treestands

Big Game Tree Stand Blinds | How to Create Tree Stand Concealment

Camouflage Cover for Tree Stand Concealment | Tree Stand Blinds

Imagine sitting in your tree stand on opening morning. As the first rays of sunlight start shining through the autumn leaves, you hear a branch break. Just as you imagined, you spot a deer walking down the well-used trail you found earlier in the week. It’s a brand new stand site and the deer should have no clue you’re there. But as soon as it enters a slight clearing, its head shoots up and aims right at you. You didn’t make any noise and the wind is in your favor. But still, the deer turns and disappears faster than you can do anything to stop it. All because you didn’t take time to hide your tree stand with tree stand blinds. If you’ve hunted long enough, you’ve probably had an experience like this.

Whitetails are remarkable at spotting differences in their environment. Their eyes are amazingly adapted at finding things that stick out from their surroundings; a new tree stand, for example. In order to beat this amazing sense of theirs, you have to take a little more care to hide your tree stand when you hang a new stand. This often includes installing tree stand blinds. If you’re hunting unpressured private land deer, you can probably get away with less. But the steps below are almost a requirement for public land hunting these days.

It’s no doubt that ground blinds can be much more easily hidden than tree stands. They are low to the ground and can be covered with all manner of camouflage patterns and branches. But they can be more difficult to hunt deer out of sometimes. You don’t have the height advantage on your side, for one thing, which inhibits your prey detection and prevents any longer shots. But there are some things you can do with tree stand concealment to hide it just as effectively as a ground blind.

How to Hide Your Tree Stand

One of the first tips if you’re using a really old stand is to either get a new one or freshen it up. If there aren’t any safety concerns, then painting a tree stand or just installing tree stand blinds could do the trick to help it blend in better. Grab a couple cans of spray paint, in black and various shades of brown, green, and yellow. Next, collect some natural materials (e.g., grasses, weeds, branches, leaves, etc.) from the area you’re going to hunt. Spray a light background color, such as sage green, all over your stand. Then either sparsely lay some of the natural materials on top of the stand, or tie them down with some twine. Once they’re tight against the metal frame, spray a mustard yellow or brown paint over the top. Add some more materials over the top of these, and lightly spray a black color over what’s left. You can experiment with the colors and which sequence you spray them in, but focus on colors that match the season you’re hunting in. In other words, no bright green colors if you’ll be hunting in late autumn. You can quickly camouflage a deer stand with a couple cans of paint and a few hours.

tree stand blinds tree stand concealment | Big Game Treestands

One of the best deer stand concealment steps you can take is to simply take advantage of the natural cover around you. There are no synthetic materials that can beat the natural vegetation in an area in terms of camouflage value offered. That being said, some trees are better suited to hanging a new stand than others. For example, trees with multiple trunks or lots of branches work great since they offer so much natural camouflage and structure that you can hide in. Pines, cedars, and oaks come to mind as excellent choices since they generally have a dense branch structure and maintain their needles or leaves through most of the hunting season or year-round. These trees are excellent choices for hang on stands, since you can tuck them right into the branches. With a good set of camouflage clothing, you should stay pretty hidden.

Deciduous trees with bare trunks (e.g., aspens, maples, birch, etc.) are great for ladder stands, but you tend to stick out like a sore thumb without any ladder stand concealment. If you must hunt from a tree such as this, you should definitely use a tree stand blind kit or camouflage burlap. Wrapping the seat and platform of a ladder stand is a great way to at least hide your movements while in the tree. Using fabric with loose-cut leaves is even better since it adds a natural look and motion. These tree stand blinds are simple to carry with you while hanging stands, and do so much to hide your profile. Simply drape the fabric or ladder stand blind kit around the shooting rail and use twine or zip ties to secure it thoroughly. Leave a slit opening at the front so you can climb into the stand with all your bulky hunting clothing and gear. There’s nothing worse than trying to quietly slither through a narrow gap on opening morning, realizing that a knife is the only way you’re going to get into your stand.

tree stand blinds tree stand concealment | Big Game Treestands

While this definitely helps hide your movement from keen eyes, a large bulky shape in the sky among a bunch of bare trunks still sticks out to deer. Another way to really hide your tree stand involves a more three dimensional application. Real or fake branches are excellent to blend into the surrounding area. Using tree stand concealment branches can be done in two ways. The first is to collect some actual branches from near your stand, preferably live ones with leaves still on them for deciduous trees (oaks tend to hold onto their leaves longer than many others), or coniferous branches for a coniferous tree. The other is to stock up on fake Christmas tree branches when they go on sale at the end of the year. Obviously, these are more useful for coniferous trees. Either way, attach the branches to your stand with twine or zip ties, spreading them out evenly to hide your profile. You want enough branches so that it looks natural and blends in, but not so many that it sticks out (when’s the last time you saw a ball of branches extending every direction 20 feet up a tree?). And you definitely want to make sure to leave yourself ample shooting lanes for close-range bow shots. Too often, we don’t know when to stop and suddenly realize we can’t see the ground from a sitting position.

Height Matters

The final way to really hide your tree stand is not so much a mechanical add-on or fancy camouflage system of tree stand blinds. It simply involves hanging your tree stand higher. Climbing stands and lock-on stands makes this is easily doable. Well-educated public land deer have come to expect to see hunters at the typical 10 to 15 foot range off the ground. So if you can sneak up a little higher, say 20-25 feet, you’ll be further out of their peripheral vision. If you go much higher than that, your shot angle can be too severe to get a double lung pass-through. Make sure to stay safe while hunting higher and always use a hunting safety harness. And of course, pay attention to your state hunting regulations as some states have maximum allowable tree stand heights.

While you’re out deer scouting this summer, pay attention to the surrounding trees and think of ways that you could hide your tree stand better. Using all of the steps above whether it is natural cover or tree stand blinds, it should leave you pretty invisible to all but the wisest whitetails. You’ll need a little luck on your side to get close to them.

6 ways to bring deer closer to your tree stand | Big Game Tree Stands

Big Game Treestands | 6 Summer Projects That Bring Deer Closer To Your Tree Stand

6 Things to Do This Summer That Bring Deer Closer To Your Tree Stand

Summer is a busy time of year. From installing food plots to creating mineral stations, our time is valuable as deer hunters and managers. It’s hard enough to find the time to hang our tree stands or install food plots, surely finding time to start just one of these 6 summer projects is unrealistic? It is unless you realize that any or all of these projects will count towards what’s really important…they are ways to bring deer closer to your tree stand!

If you really think about everything that a deer hunter or manager might do during the summer, you realize a good portion of it most likely does not directly affect the hunting. In fact the food plots, mineral sites, and off season tasks are more a way to get out in the outdoors than actually things that will benefit hunting. These 6 summer projects are not those tasks, and unlike the other chores they do directly affect your hunting, in fact they steer and bring deer closer to your tree stand! Read this article on the 6 summer projects and figure out which one, if not all can apply to your deer hunting property and tree stand location.

Create a Watering Hole

Creating A Watering Hole For Deer
(Video) Spring is giving way into summer! Soon the rain will let up and the dry warm weather will hit, making water a great resource to have in the right location. Join Buck Advisors Weston Schrank as he explains how to create a watering hole for deer on your property.

When the word summer is brought up two things pop into your mind, the sun and the heat. Why? June is just the start of the long hot summer months, the heat will be relentless until fall arrives. This creates a perfect scenario for a watering hole for deer.  Why put a watering hole on your property? Well the obvious reason is to supply water, especially when a property is lacking any water sources. But in the case of a way to bring deer closer to your tree stand, a watering hole, even in the presents of water source on your property, can be effective!

Installing a watering hole will create a big attraction for your tree stand location. If not a direct draw during the early season in September and October, than at least a great stopping point and potential shooting lane and shot opportunity. The great thing about a watering hole, besides being a way to bring deer closer to your tree stand, is it is extremely easy to install. With minimal digging, a $20-$50 dollar tank, and a little planning a watering hole can be installed and filled up to start attracting deer this summer.

Before putting out anything for deer that can be consumed, check your states regulation and baiting policies.

Summer Deer Mineral Site

Deer Mineral Station Placement and Strategy
(Video) – Putting out minerals for deer is critical to start in May! Join Weston Schrank as he explains exactly how many mineral stations for deer you need and where to place them on your deer hunting property.

Summer deer management would not be complete if it was not without mineral stations and sites. Fortunately these mineral stations, which need to be removed before the dee season to not be considered baiting, can bring deer closer to your tree stand location even when they are gone. How?! By creating a social area and travel route. Putting out a mineral or salt attraction is not only a great place to hang your trail cameras, but a way to attract deer to your tree stand location before the hunting season. Deer determine their movement by 3 criteria, ease, security, and social influence. The path or area they choose to travel through depends on whether or not it is safe, it is easy to move through, and other deer move through it. By putting a summer mineral station out around your tree stand and keeping pressure off the site, you are creating a hotspot for deer activity. While the minerals might be removed, the memory, social interaction, and influence of the mineral station will last, ultimately becoming a great way to bring deer closer to your tree stand.

Before putting out anything for deer that can be consumed, check your states regulation and baiting policies.

Creating A Micro Food Plot

What and How To Plant for Small Food Plot Success
(Video) – Small food plots (under an acre) are by far the most common food plot planted for wildlife. So what should you plant in small food plots to succeed? Here is our number one choice of species, the reasons why, and some other small food plot tips.

A lot of deer hunters and managers will be talking food plots this spring, summer and early fall. While most will worry about planting that 2-5 acre food plot or bigger, the small time food plotter will be planting a much more important and vital plot. This food plot is a micro plot and it acts as a kill plot if done correctly! These kill plots or micro plots are less than 1 acre, less than ½ acre even, and are usually an unbelievably effective ¼ or 1/8 of an acre big! They key is that small size. It creates a pit stop, staging area, and afternoon or morning snack that can turn into a prominent shot opportunity. The key with these plots are prepping the plot and planting the right species. White clover, small grains, and brassicas are usually the only crops that can last in a small food plot. They also give attraction in the early and late season.

Rake a Trail to your Tree Stand

One way bring deer closer to your tree stand is by steering them with a raked trail. Why would that work? Well deer are just like you when you hunt, they want to stay quiet, and take the path of least resistance. The only time you really hear a deer in the woods is the rut or through an oak flat searching for acorns, for the most part deer walk quietly and on deer runs. By taking a hard rake, or leaf blower you can essentially create an artificial deer run. While this is usually a tactic in creating silent tree stand access routes, it can work to steer deer by your tree stand, as long as it is in the general area they were already traveling towards.

We usually see it when we hunt, deer filtering out into a food plot or AG field from a logging road or four wheeler trail. The same principle here. If an easy route, such as a freshly raked trail, is available to travel on, it obviously is the easiest route to travel and will result in deer usage.

The Fence

How To Grow A Small Soybean Food Plot – Electric Fence
(Video) – Soybean food plots are the deer managers and hunters best friend no doubt about it. However, the one thing that limits soybeans is the size of the food plot. Make and Install your very own DIY dual perimeter electric fence to successfully grow a small soybean food plot.

An electric deer fence is a great and effective way to bring deer closer to your tree stand. This is especially true when talking about deer hunts involving youth hunters and bow hunters. It is common knowledge that soybeans are one of the greatest food plot species and this is where an electric food plot fence shines.

By fencing off one section of a soybean field, you can hold the beans off from being demolished by deer, and by the time fall rolls around put an extremely productive yield at the deer’s level. Soybean pods in the late season, November –January are one of the very best places to be in a stand. If you’re a bean plotter, look into a fence this summer as a productive way to bring deer closer to your tree stand.

Hinge Cutting a Funnel

Another popular summer project among deer hunters and habitat managers, is hinge cutting for deer. Usually this takes the form of creating bedding areas and thick sanctuaries for deer, but changing up the style of the cut can result in steering deer to your tree stand.

It’s called screening, or in this case funneling deer with hinge cutting. By hinge cutting small diameter non mast bearing trees like maples, poplars, hackberries, and elms you can make a natural and impenetrable fence that if done strategically can create a massive funnel. Just be sure to think out every cut, the funnel, and take all the necessary safety precautions.

Create a Mock Scrape

Later this summer into early fall, when bachelor groups begin to break up, communication will begin. In this case the communication is through mock scrapes as a social bulletin board for deer, creating an opportune moment to bring deer closer to your tree stand.

By finding or placing a licking branch, and pawing up a patch of dirt with a stick or your boot, you can create a stopping point or wall on a run that could potentially draw a buck into a shooting lane. Whether they are scent checking for does and happen to stop at the scrape or are specifically checking scrapes and stop, you will have an opportunity within range if place correctly.

This summer, while you are hanging your tree stands in order to prepare for the upcoming deer season, think about which project makes sense in that area. These 6 projects can bring deer closer to your tree stand, only if you can find the time this summer to complete one!

Two Man Ladder Stands | Big Game Treestands

Big Game Treestands | Two Man Ladder Stands

Two Man Ladder Stands | Benefits and Opportunities of a Buddy Stand

In the world of whitetail deer hunting, successfully harvesting a mature animal typically requires the right combination of skills and techniques all coming together at the same time.  Of course it goes without saying that lady luck plays a large part in this equation.  It can also be said that scouting also serves a pivotal role as well.  While those two factors are huge, there several criteria that help pull a successful hunt together.  Probably the two most underappreciated requirements of a successful hunt are having the element of surprise and patients.  While these two factors seem to stand on their own, some seasoned whitetail deer hunters would tell you that they are more connected than you might think!  In order to have the element of surprise, you typically have to be patient and as any seasoned deer hunter will tell you, many times in order to be patients you have to be comfortable. In deer hunting terms this means a great and well thought out tree stand. In terms of this one tree stand stands out above all regarding comfort, the two man ladder stands.

Over the decades the science behind tree stand construction has continued to evolve and change.  Deer hunters have come to demand unmatched quality and durability from their equipment and deer trre stands are no different.  While todays deer stands come in many different sizes and shapes, there are really four categories of deer stands for hunters to choose from, “Hang On or Fixed Position”, “Climbing Tree Stands”,Tri-Pod Stands” and “Ladder Stands”.  All four types of deer stands are incredibly popular, with each providing their own pro’s and con’s, however, in recent years more and more deer hunters have been leaning toward employing ladder stands, specifically two man ladder stands on their farms and leases.

Benefits of a Two Man Ladder Stand

Two Man Ladder Stands | Big Game Treestands

Two man ladder stands have become more and more popular for wide range of reasons.  First and foremost, two man ladder stands offer whitetail deer hunters an amazing level of comfort and space.  While these ladder stands are designed to comfortably hold two occupants, many have begun to use two man ladder stands with no intention of having a hunting companion.  They simply appreciate and enjoy the space and comfort provided by the design of the two man ladder stands.  With the extra room and seating provided by the design of the two man ladder stands, whitetail deer hunters have the ability to bring and store more equipment, such as cameras or extra hunting clothes.  The extra room also helps to increase the comfort level of the deer hunting, allowing them to spend more hours in the tree and fewer hours in the truck.

In addition to an amazing level of comfort, two man ladder stands can offer the hunter an increased level of mobility that is sometimes needed to be able to pull off that last second shot on a walking or trotting whitetail.  Even with two hunters in the tree, there is still plenty of room to turn and shoot from almost any angle necessary, which can equal more meat in the freezer this fall.

Whitetail hunters are known for researching a product before purchasing it.  Besides the fact that it is just smart shopping, it also ensure that you get the right tool for the job and have a reasonable expectation of what you are purchasing before you lay your hard earned money down to buy it.  Without a doubt, one of the top two features that deer hunter’s research when it comes to deer stands are durability and maintenance.  Many deer hunters are interested in a deer stand that they can put up once, and plan to leave for an extended period of time.  They are looking for a product that can hold up to the environmental conditions and not deteriorate over time.  In addition, they are looking for a product that won’t require a lot of tender love and care during the off season, they want to be able to show up and hunt!  Despite their heavy duty construction, the Big Game Treestands line of two man ladder stands are proven to handle the conditions better than any other ladder stand on the market.  These stands are built with top quality material and come with top quality components so there will be no need spend much time rechecking bolts or straps during the off season.  In many cases, two man ladder stands can hold up against the elements better than your conventional hang on stand, which is an added benefit to those who are interested in making the switch.

Placing and Setting Up Two Man Ladder Stands

Two Man Ladder Stands | Big Game Treestands

It goes without saying that two man ladder stands are going to be able to hold more weight capacity than your typical hang on stand or single man ladder stand, with most two man ladder stands maxing out at round a 500 pound weight limit.  Unfortunately, a tradeoff for increased weight capacity is increase in the weight of the ladder stand.  While most hang-on or single man ladder stands weigh in around 50 pounds, two man ladder stands can weigh in closer to 90 pounds.  Because of the increased weight, installing your two man ladder stand can often time be a two man job, however, with a little ingenuity you can easily hang your two man ladder stand with little effort at all!  While a little extra man power is always sometimes it is not available.

Two sure fire techniques that you can try when hanging your two man ladder stands are simply assembling the top part of the ladder stand, placing it against the tree and start working the sections of ladder in place underneath the platform.  Using the tree as a means to balance the stand, you can work the sections of ladder in place until you have it place.  The second technique it to utilize a pulley or an eyebolt attached to the tree at the desired height.  Run a rope or cable through the pulley or eyebolt and attach one end to the ladder stand and the other to an ATV or vehicle if possible.  This technique can help make short work of installing your two man ladder stand.

Most two man ladder stand are built not only to be durable and comfortable but also to be versatile.  Most two man ladder stands can be attached to a tree 9 inches in diameter, which typically provides the hunter with a wide range of options.  This can be very beneficial when looking for the perfect place to hang your stand.  While these stands are slightly larger than your typical single man ladder stand or hang on ladder stand, they are still easy to conceal and are usable in a wide range of situations and habitat types.  From hardwood ridges and woodlots to draws and field edges two man ladder stands are versatile enough to be effective in any situation regardless of the type of cover your in.

Spending Time with Friends and Family

Two Man Ladder Stands | Big Game Treestands

While two man ladder stands can be extremely advantageous for the solo deer hunter, they obviously have the ability to allow multiple hunters to enjoy the outdoors together from the same tree.  Two man ladder stands have helped introduce many potential hunters the sport of whitetail deer hunting, or hunting in general.  These pieces of hunting hardware provide the opportunity for family and friends to share special moments afield and can help to create long lasting memories that neither party will ever forget.

Two man ladder stands are designed to handle to adult hunters, however, where these stands have really help is in the world of youth hunting.  The ability to help teach or mentor a young deer hunter from the vantage point of a deer stand while having the ability or to remain concealed and comfortable only helps to add to the experience and chance for success.  The key to creating a positive experience for a young hunter is all about making it fun, and the comfort and convenience of a two man ladder stand will certainly provide that opportunity to anyone who chooses to give it a try.

It goes without saying the two man ladder stands offer hunters an unbelievable amount of comfort and durability while still providing the upmost durability.  Their durable, long lasting construction affords deer hunter the convenience of a virtually “maintenance-free” deer stand.  Their design and construction can help deer hunter spend more time in the woods comfortably, which can only add to their chances of success, and last but certainly not least, is the ability to spend time enjoying the outdoor lifestyle with friends and family.  When you consider all of these factors and attributes that the two man ladder stand can provide to the everyday deer hunter, it becomes easy to see why they continue to grow in popularity each and every year.  Consider stepping your game up this season, and try a two man ladder stand!

tree stand 101 which tree stand is right for which situation | Big Game Treestands

Tree Stand 101 | Which Tree Stand is Right for Which Situation

How to Determine Which Tree Stand Is Right for Your Deer Hunting Situation

You hear it all the time from informative videos, articles, and blogs…depending on your region, depending on your situation, depending on, depending on, depending on! The simple fact is a lot depends on your unique situation. Whether you are looking up information on food plots, ground blinds, trail cameras, or whatever the case may be, the “vital” or “critical” information the article or video promised you, turned worthless when at the end of every sentence they said “depending on”…Ever get tired of it? We thought so! You need options, you need answers, and you need someone or something that dives into the details for your unique situation! One thing that has a great deal of this “depending on” is tree stands and trees stand placement. Here is some treestand 101 to help you decide which tree stand is right for which situation….without those pesky “depending ons”.

Overall the main thing to determine which tree stand you need is figuring out what your hunting style is. We organized which stand you need in accordance with what hunting style you prefer the most.

The Mobile Hunter: Public Land Deer Hunting

With those hunters lacking giant parcels of private land, or a lease property that you are in with your closest friends, your only hope seems to be public land. Public land whitetail hunting is tricky. Access, regulations, human pressure, and competition is tough to deal with but it can be done. The problem with this is present in two forms. On one hand you have pressured deer, which seem to locate and base their home range on areas with the least amount of human and hunter pressure. On the other hand once you find this spot, it is usually a mile or more from the nearest access point, and you really can’t leave your stand or gear in the tree. For one leaving the tree stand in the tree gives away your spot that you have worked hard to find and determine. Second there is a very good chance for that tree stand to be stolen.

Public land deer also have an uncanny knack to be un-killable. They are deer that have busted many hunters, they know what danger smells like and could silhouette any hunter in any type of cover. With all these characteristics of a public land hunt in mind we can give you a suggestion for the best tree stand. For hunters going after public land deer there is one stand that performs the best.
Which Tree Stand: For public land hunting a tree stand must be able to be function with the above characteristics in mind. Put simply a tree stand for public land deer hunting needs to:

  • Be lightweight for carrying up hill and a long ways from access points
  • Have a slim design and easy to pack up
  • Be able to easily get 20 plus feet in the air to avoid being silhouetted by pressured deer

tree stand 101 which tree stand is right for which situation | Big Game TreestandsWith these requirements just read, you already have the tree stand in mind, a climber. Climbing tree stands that are lightweight, easy to pack, and can climb high easily by a hunter are perfect for public land deer hunting. Climbers like the Outlook Climber are light, easily packed, easy to climb, and makes for one of the best climbing stand options for public land deer hunting.

The Outfitter and Hunter That Films: Multiple Stands and Multiple Person Sets

With hunting show and filming hunts becoming more and more easily accessible and popular and more outfitters popping up around the country to offer once in a lifetime deer hunting, a tree stand needs to be available to be functional for this style of hunting. Both outfitters and companies or individuals that film hunts have several things in common, and consequently this forms the requirements that makes for a perfect tree stand for this situation. Multiple stand locations and multiple sets offer more hunting opportunities for clients or more filming opportunities. As with hunting shows or outfitted hunts, multiple people are usually in the tree at once. With these characteristics of an outfitted hunt or filmed hunt in mind we can give you a suggestion for the best tree stand.

Which Tree Stand: For filmed deer hunting or an outfitter setting up deer hunts, a tree stand must be able to be function with the above characteristics in mind. Put simply a tree stand for these styles of deer hunting needs to:

  • Be inexpensive but have quality and comfort for the hunter
  • Be easily hung, moved, and formed in different set for multiple people and situations
  • Be standard across the board for consistency among sets and locations

tree stand 101 which tree stand is right for which situation | Big Game TreestandsWith these requirements looming in the back of your mind you can’t help but know and think that the professional style stand used by outfitters and TV show personalities is hang-on tree stands. The Boss Lite Hang-On tree stand is lightweight, is built with quality, is comfortable, and is inexpensive in order to be bought in bulk so to speak for multiple persons and multiple sets for filming or outfitting deer hunts.

The Family Hunter/ Weekend Warrior

For the dad or mom that loves the outdoors, gets outdoors as much as they can, which only happens to be the weekend, you need a stand that’s easy, fast, and doesn’t require much effort. You also might happen to bring your kids along the way. A tree stand that can support minimal effort for time sensitive hunting, and is also safe for youth hunters has very specific characteristics.

Which Tree Stand: For the family man or women, that hunts with limited time on the weekend, and often takes youth hunters out requires a tree stand with specific requirements.

  • Be placed once more often in a more permanent spot that is easy to get in and get out
  • Be safe and spacious enough for two hunters but on the same platform for educational hunting
  • Be comfortable and durable for a more permanent tree stand location

tree stand 101 which tree stand is right for which situation | Big Game TreestandsLadder stands are obviously the choice here, the ladder stand makes it easier and comfortable to get youth hunters up in. It also is a onetime set up and continually durable and rock solid platform you can be sure you are safe in while you or your kids hunt. The Duo ladder tree stand is exactly the perfect tree stand for the family hunter and weekend warrior. It’s durable, safe, perfect for youth hunting, or weekend hunting that is time sensitive.

So there it is, some tree stand 101, specific information for your situation without all the “depending ons”. If you are looking for a tree stand for deer hunting this season, look no further. We have the tree stand for every location, scenario,  and your situation!