It's the Preseason Work That Leads to Filled Tags
Sure, there is a lot to do before opening day. And it's just around the corner. So best get to it before it's too late. After all, preparation leads to success.
Mix Your Treestands
Hunters who use more than one treestand might consider having a variety of types to fit different stand situations. While a climber works well on straight trees with few or no lower branches, it's worthless on evergreens and trees with plentiful lower limbs. Most climbers are lightweight, easy to transport and work well on most trees. Ladder stands will work on just about any tree, but their weight and bulk make transporting them deep into the woods a chore. By having a variety of stand types, the hunter can use the one that's most adaptable to the location that will put him or her within easy range of deer. After all, an ideal tree to place a treestand isn't always where the best deer trails and shot opportunities are.
Hang 'Em & Leave 'Em
If you've done enough preseason scouting to locate some good early season deer travel routes between bedding and feeding areas, now's the perfect time to put up a stand or two along the hottest ones. Once in place, leave them be and only view the area from a distance until you're ready to hunt. This way, any residual scent you left will have faded, and the deer will have several days to become accustomed to the strange-growing "limb arrangements" (your stands) the trees appeared to have grown overnight.
Conceal Those Stands
As you saw in the video above, concealment is key. Start by getting treestands with Realtree camo. Then use natural foliage to break up the structure and outline of the stand, especially bulky ladder stands. Realtree.com associate editor and deer hunting editor, Josh Honeycutt, shows how to accomplish this in the video above.
Put a Lid On It
Bad weather is part of hunting, and it can occur in early season or late. If you're a stand hunter, whether in a tree or on the ground, enduring several hours with rain or wet snow beating down on you can take the enjoyment out of hunting even though the deer often move more when there's light to medium rain or snow falling. One of the handiest and useful items I've used over the years is a tree umbrella--the type that easily affixes to the tree trunk over your head and then keeps you dry and out of the precipitation. The best models come in camo patterns, are sturdy, lightweight and will last for years.
Trim Shooting Lanes
This is where most deer hunters go wrong. They don't trim shooting lanes, or at least not well enough. You want to cut enough limbs that you have plenty of shot opportunities, but not so many that you're exposed in the treestand. Find that happy medium.
Editor's note: This article was originally published in 2005. We're reposting in honor of the late Bob McNitt, who was a well-respected outdoor writer and author.
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