For white-tailed deer hunting, one of the most useful tools is the one safely and comfortably supporting your backside: the tree stand.
Because deer rely primarily on smell, sight and sound to detect danger, few whitetail hunts are of the “spot-and-stalk” variety often associated with Western deer hunts.
Typically, whitetails are either pushed from cover during a drive hunt or silently ambushed. A tree stand affords hunters critical ambush advantages. It positions you on high ground and shields subtle movements such as aiming or fidgeting that a wary deer would detect if you were at eye level. Depending on conditions, a lofty perch can also help carry your scent away from the deer’s sensitive nose, especially in the morning, when scent rises with the air temperature.
A tree stand anchors you in one spot, curing the common hunter’s affliction of excessive roaming. Artfully blowing a deer call, rattling antlers or laying down a trail to your stand with a quality doe estrus urine scent can often help bring the buck to you.
Like all real estate considerations, location can mean everything when placing a stand. Deer hunters need to carefully consider the habitat and terrain in which they’re hunting, as well as the expected movement patterns of the deer. Set your stand in the right place — and be in it at the right time — and a whitetail wall-hanger may be the reward.