Tales of first deer harvests, giant bucks and that old gnarly oak where you watched a bobcat slink by; do you have a favorite deer stand? For me personally, I have had many favorite deer stand locations! However, for many years I have hunted by some words that I would like you to consider: "Your favorite deer stand location shouldn't be the last stand that you shot a great buck out of, but the next stand that you shoot a great buck out of."
It pays to not have a favorite stand, and here is why:
1. Each and every stand that you set in the woods should have a purpose. If you don't have the confidence to sit it in, than what I do is to take it down...move it...or adjust it to a nearby tree.
2. The winds and conditions should tell you which stand to sit in, not necessarily memories of the past. Memories of the past have doomed many hunts. Why? Because they lure us into a favorite stand location with no other purpose to sit in that stand, than those memories. The puzzle of weather, time of day, access points, current hunting pressure and current deer sign should all be factored into a future sit.
3. Do you need to rely on 1 stand each year, to harvest your buck? Eventually the productivity of that stand will end, and then what? Hunting a variety of favorite stand locations, each with a purpose, will teach you more than you can ever imagine about deer hunting, mature buck hunting, and deer habitat. The sites, sounds and experiences of staying mobile will open your mind to gaining valuable insite into future hunting endeavors.
4. Keep it fresh! Over 80% of my "Top 20" mature bucks have been taken by sitting in the stand for the first time, for the year...often the first time ever. There is nothing better than a fresh sit; in particular if you have never even taken a sit in the stand before.
Heres a great video on how we rotate stand locations throughout the season!
It pays to keep in mind that as soon as a you create an incredible memory in a new stand, you will immediately have a new favorite deer stand location. Some of the most average of stand locations have instantly turned into the "best stand on the property" when some out of the way, low quality habitat, crooked tree, leaning deer stand produced a monster simply because after a few weeks of the season it became the freshest stand on the property. It will happen in 2015, and it has happened many times in the past, but many of the first time sit successfull stand locations, were never used again.
Of course you have heard the saying of, "Variety is the spice of life"? Well, I don't know who coined that phrase, but I bet they were a deer hunter. Maybe? It pays to not be lured into potentially unproductive sits with the memories of the past. Instead, I have experienced that if you are forever searching for your next favorite deer stand location, your success can climb to levels you may have never experienced before.