Tree Stand Micromanagement: Part 2

8 May

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Until last year I had almost ignored this part of the farm. I thought is was too close to the house and there wasn’t a enough sign for me to pay any attention to it. That was until I hung a trail camera in this pinch point in early September (near old stand location). I was very surprised with the results of the first card pull. Three of the seven bucks I had deemed as shooters were regularly passing through this area.

 

 

Here is daylight picture of a bucked we named Mark Kenyon passing through the area we are discussing. I want to kill him.

Here is daylight picture of a bucked we named Mark Kenyon passing through the area we are discussing. I want to kill him.

 

 

It was too late in to September for me to hang a stand as I didn’t know exactly where the deer were bedding and I didn’t want to add any additional pressure to the area. Because trail cameras can only tell you a fraction of the information you need to know about an area, the plan was to wait until the season started and do a run-n-gun setup the second weekend in October on either a north or south wind.

The first night in I busted a couple of deer from their beds to the west of the entrance rout (blue line) I took to get to the stand. I never did get a good look at them but I had a feeling one of them was a buck, just from the way it ran and I never saw a white tail. The wind that night was out of the south. The plan was to have my scent blow down the low ground and in to the large valley below. It was the perfect pinch point but I came to find out that even if the wind was consistent in the pastures above, there was something about the location my stand was in that made the wind shift, at times, 90 degrees. This was was confirmed when I was busted by a couple does later that night. But the location was so good I didn’t want to give up on it. The three shooters I mentioned earlier were still showing up on trail camera at all times of the day and it was still only early October, but nothing consistent.

Because I was chasing another buck on a different part of the farm I left this location alone until early November. By this time I had added a mock scrape in front of my trail camera and was getting pictures of several different bucks including my three hit-listers. Because I didn’t feel 100% comfortable hunting this area on a south wind I waited until the wind was straight out of the north to move in. This so happened to be on a morning hunt after a major cold front moved through. I wanted to get in the stand well before daylight in hopes of allowing the area to settle down before shooting light. The moment I put my foot on the first climbing stick the crisp and cold silence was broken by what sounded like the loudest doe blow I have ever heard. It sounded like she was in two feet from me.

 

Another direction2

Here is another view of the area from a different location. Notice the terrain.

 

After the mega-blow I thought the hunt was going to be over. As the horizon began to get light a couple small bucks did exactly what I was hoping for and walk right through the heart of the pinch point passing through two of my shooting lanes. I then became optomistic about the rest of the morning. That was until the wind began to act funny.

As the sun began to break the horizon the wind began to softly blow. It’s important to remember that my tree stand was in a low spot in the draw. So the main wind movement was above my head. It was also very consistent coming from the north, I could tell by the falling leaves. But down where I was at the wind was almost acting like the ocean tide, first going with the wind blowing my scent to the south then shifting a complete 180 degrees and allowing my scent to flow in to the valley below.   It stayed that way for almost two hours. I didn’t see another deer the rest of the morning.

I sat in this stand location couple more times throughout the rest of the rut on a variety of wind directions. I either bumped deer going in, was busted by scent or movement (because the deer had to come from the top to pass through the pinch point). It was one of those areas that was too good. Meaning the deer used the area because they felt comfortable on any wind direction… that’s bad for entry and exit strategies.

So now that I have more intel on this area for next season I have put together a little plan that will hopefully allow me to set a stand on the ridge above my previous location in order to get a more consistent wind. As you can see on the map above, not only will I have better wind setting up higher on the ridge, I will also be above the deer decreasing the chance that I will get busted moving. I gave myself two options because I don’t want to get too close to the bedding area on the point of the ridge where the two trails meet.

The goal is to hunt this stand on a south wind with my scent blowing off the ridge into the valley below. The access route to the new stand location will avoid the bedding areas and I feel this will give me better encounter opportunities. This will not be a run-n-gun setup. I will have a stand set up and shooting lanes trimmed before the season even starts. Along with trail camera intel and once I have hunted the new stand location a couple times, I will get a good idea of the deer movement and know if I need to make any further adjustments.

Wish me luck! Is there anything that you would do differently in this scenario?

Thanks for reading,
Dan (DFW)

 

One Response to “Tree Stand Micromanagement: Part 2”

  1. Charles Crowe June 10, 2015 at 3:59 pm #

    Even though I’ve hunted our land for quite a few years I am really learning the do’s and dont’s when it comes to hills and valleys. Some spots are just such great pinch points but the surrounding terrain and winds make it a terrible spot to hang a stand. Have to live and learn from those mistakes though. Love constantly thinking about this strategy stuff though!

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