The foundation of a low impact treestand entrance, includes a set of strategies designed to keep deer from ever knowing that you are hunting them. After all, in deer's mind if it didn't see you, hear you or smell you, were you even there? Learning to access your stands without a trace, is a proven basic deer hunting tactic that can skyrocket your success this Fall! By allowing daily afternoon feeding deer movements to remain the same for the entire season, combined with screened hunting access routes and dead quite treestand setups, you can develop hunting practices that consistently lull whitetails into a false sense of security.
*While this video illustrates the perfect food plot hunting setup, most plot hunting setups are far less than perfect. For an even deeper look into hunting food plots, check out "Food Plot Hunting Strategies For Serious Hunters".
How To Enter and Exit Stand Locations Without Spooking Deer
While some encounters are much more invasive than others, maintaining a great hunt along with an ability to manage a deer herd, boils down to creating consistent deer habitat movements combined with extremely low deer/hunter encounter rates. Many hunting tactics including hunting with ATVs, food plot hunting and consistently using a climbing style treestand, can quickly lead to excessive deer/human encounter rates and a nocturnal deer herd. However, you can easily lower your deer/human encounter rates by developing a strategic access hunting practices. The following low impact hunting access tactics are designed to keep the deer from ever knowing that they were being hunted:
1. Stay Off Large Food Sources
As the size of the food plot increases, your ability to access stand locations without spooking deer, decreases. Some of my favorite food plot systems feature the lowest amount of hunting pressure and few of my best food plots are not hunted at all, unless from a distance with a firearm. The most dependable deer movements on private land can easily be built thru the use of food plots, but great caution needs to be taken to make sure that the consistent deer movements you build, are during the daylight and not after dark. Spooking deer off of your food plots is the most likely the #1 way to turn an otherwise great parcel, into a nocturnal parcel. Great herds and hunts are built thru daylight movements, so make sure that the level of your food plot hunting practices matches your annual herd and hunting management goals.
2. Screened Hunting Approach
Using berms and tree, shrub or grass plantings can allow you to enter and exit a treestand without being seen. In my experience screening also lowers the overall stress level of the deer herd, creates bedding opportunity closer to major food sources and not only separates deer from you, but from each other. Lower stress levels of deer on your land, equals a much greater chance that you will actually be able to attract the daytime movements of a mature buck, let alone a great daylight deer herd. Making sure that a deer never hears you, smells your or sees you as you access your land to hunt, is the foundation for making sure that you are on your way to capturing the herd and hunting potential of your land.
3. Keep Deer Travel Moving
The best stand locations allow you to observe deer as they pass by your treestand, in stead of stopping by your treestand. Although stopping for a drink, stopping to work a scrape or stopping to take a quick bite to eat before moving on to a major food source are all great ingredients for a potential stand location, creating the ability for consistent movement past your stand locations with deer stopping for 5 minutes or less, is a great way to build a successful hunt and herd. Stand locations that allow you to observe deer movements allow you to enter or exit a stand location, with a low probability that a deer is actually in front of your stand to spook.
4. Hunt Between Bedding And Food
Some of my most non-invasive stand setups are location within portions of the habitat that clearly do not offer any opportunity for deer bedding or deer feeding. While I may hunt close to a bedding area or food source, by accessing behind planted or natural screenings and not hunting directly on a deer bedding or feeding area, your can keep your deer/human encounters to a bare minimum when entering or exiting a stand location.
5. Keep Major Food Consistent
If your food sources don't last the entire season, then your ability to create defined daily, low impact stand access only lasts as long as your food sources. Without defined daily bedding to food source movements, deer movements become random, unappreciable and can even completely end. By maintaining high quality daily afternoon deer movements to consistent major food sources all season long, you not only create an opportunity to enter and exit stand locations to observe highly patterned daylight activities, but you can give yourself a chance to reach your land's potential of creating a quality herd and hunt.
6. Dead-Quiet Treestands
If it squeaks, pops, dings or rattles I personally suggest that you get rid of your treestand. Does your treestand pass the 50 yard test? Try positioning a hunting buddy 50 yards from your stand location. If your buddy can hear you climb into your stand at 50 yards, then work to eliminate the excessive noise.
*Why Do I use Family Tradition treestands? Because they are the safest, strongest and quietest stands that I have every seen, used or heard about. The fact that they are made in the USA is a huge bonus as well!
The more that you define daily afternoon deer movements to consistent high quality food sources, the more that you can define how, when and where you hunt without spooking deer. By using screening, paying attention to the wind (which is a given) and making sure that you can enter and exit your stand locations without being heard, you can experience the potential of your land, when it comes to creating a quality herd and hunt. Removing your hunting pressure from the hunt, is the lowest hole in the bucket for creating a great herd and hunt. Your ability to access your treestands setups thru low impact practices, is the foundation for all hunting parcels and should never be overlooked.