All-Day Hunton Nov 7, 2012
Now that you have decided on a doe “hot-spot”, let’s tweak your location. When trying to determine the best spot to place your stand there is much to consider. However, perhaps the most important element is…terrain.
Deer, for the most part, are lazy and will choose the path of least resistance when given a choice. Naturally, when moving in and around an area or when traversing from point A to point B, this characteristic will surface and ultimately influence their travel route. It should also influence your decision on stand placement.
A good stand site can always be made into a better stand site. Always be thinking in terms of “fine tuning” your location. Pay close attention to how deer are moving through your section of woods and then move to the one spot that “pinches” this movement into the smallest area.
Keep an eye out for terrain features that funnel deer movement into a natural “pinch point”, because that is where you want to “set-up shop”. Such areas include: ridge-top saddles, bottlenecks, deep erosion ditches, low spots along a fence line, shallow creek crossings, bench flats in steep terrain, and old logging roads. Stands hunted in these locations during the hard pre-rut or chase phase have the greater likelihood of producing action throughout the day; especially if they happen to be located near a doe bedding area.
Exception to the Rule
As with any proposed rule, there are exceptions. As stated before, I feel that hunting all day during the early season is a “low odds” method and can test even the most committed bowhunter. However, I will say there is one situation that could warrant an early season “marathon” sit….Big buck bedding areas. If you happen to know the exact whereabouts of a big bucks bedroom, you could potentially have a shot at him during the early season; if the conditions are right.
You can pretty much expect not to beat him back to his bed; unless you arrive several hours before first light. Knowing that, the next best approach is to wait until an hour or so after sunup and then head for your stand.
However, since you will be approaching his sacred hideout, the last thing you want to do is alert him to your intentions. Therefore, it would be best to wait until the forest floor is damp, and the wind is right before making your move. With the wind in your face and the damp leaves muffling your every step, you can conceivably sneak right in without him becoming none the wiser. Then you wait.
After enduring 6 ½ hours in the stand, I finally got a crack at this bruiser. Location and time of season both played a major role in the eventual outcome.
While its true most mature bucks are seldom seen outside the rut, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they remain bedded throughout the entire day. Many will get up, stretch, and browse a little during the afternoon hours before bedding back down again; all within the confines of their security zone. If you happen to be waiting patiently somewhere along the fringes of that zone, you might get the shot you’ve been waiting your whole life for.
Now that we know the when, where, and why concerning long hours on stand, we need to discuss the gear that is ultimately going to help make your stay more enjoyable and effective. Let’s face it, if you’re not comfortable, you’re not going to have the fortitude to make it through the long haul.
Way back when, before we had access to the awesome gear available today, being cold and miserable while on stand was often just part of the experience. Thankfully, those days are gone. No longer do we have to endure conditions that would make a wooly mammoth cringe.
Clothing: You’ve got to start with a good foundation if you want to “dress for success”. Begin with a quality base layer. Remember those red “long johns” from back in the day. You know, the ones that were supposed to keep you warm as toast….but never did. The reason they failed was because the cotton soaked up all the sweat and then rested against your skin; making it cold and clammy. Not the most ideal condition for retaining body heat.
Today’s base layers effectively lift the moisture away from your body and provide warmth by keeping your skin dry. Some styles even incorporate a layer of scent blocking material to help conceal unwanted game-spooking odors. Regardless of what type of outerwear you choose, don’t skimp on the base layers. They are the most important piece in the “total garment” system.
Comfortable Stand: There is nothing more difficult than trying to remain in the stand when your back and butt ache. When selecting a stand, pay close attention to the seat. After all, that is where you are going to be spending most of your time. Make sure the padding is thick and also consider a model that has some type of back support as well. 6-8 hours of continuously standing and sitting while in a treestand, requires that your back and buttocks receive plenty of pampering. Comfort is the key to longevity.
Lone Wolf stands are my absolute favorite. I have been using them for well over 10 years. Not only do they provide all-day comfort, they are light, easy to set up and deadly quite.
On top of comfort, also consider how quiet a stand is. I cringe at the thought of sitting all day, waiting on that one special buck to come along, and then spooking him at the last moment because of a noisy stand. Choose a model that has a reputation for being dead silent. Mature bucks usually won’t tolerate foreign sounds; especially those emanating from a loud ambush platform. Stealth is a major key to closing the deal.