Higher is better, right? Not necessarily. But there is definitely a “sweet spot” when it comes to how high, or how low, to place your stands. So, what’s the best treestand height for deer hunting? Read the info below for a look at some things to consider before you make the climb.
It's a Game of Angles
When I was younger, I used to “hang ‘em high,” not batting an eye at slinging a stand 30’ or higher into a tree. Those days are over for me. I prefer to be a little closer to terra firma these days, if you know what I mean. But there is a distinct disadvantage to placing your stands too high also.
The shot angle.
The higher you are, the steeper the angle of the shot on your quarry. We all get that, right, but the steeper the angle, the smaller your kill zone as well. That’s right, as the angle of the shot increases, the amount of kill area on your animal that you have available decreases. For this reason alone, lowering your stands may be a good idea.
They Call Me The Breeze
Some argue scent control as justification for hanging their stands so high. Hogwash! When hunting off the ground, your scent will be carried for a certain distance before reaching ground level where a deer’s nose is.
So, whether you are 18’ off the ground or 30’, it is likely that your scent won’t hit ground level until it is well beyond archery range of any animal. So, to say that hunting at nose bleed heights helps with scent-control, nah, I’m not buying it.
In the Line of Sight
We have all heard the old myth, “deer never look up.” I cannot believe people actually believe this. Of course deer do look up, and often! So, knowing this, we know that regardless of how high you hang your stand, you can still get busted moving by a wary deer.
However, I do believe that hunting a little higher helps. Hunting 6’ off the ground may not offer you quite the concealment of hunting 15’ off the ground. Make no mistake though, you’ll still need to be careful on when and how much you can move, regardless.
I know plenty of bowhunters who hunt a head-heights off the ground and kill trophy bucks doing so, but still, being a bit higher helps get yourself out of a deer’s line of sight.
It is easy to think that hunting closer to the ground is safer than being 30 feet off the ground, but statistics show that most fatalities from falls happen at a height of only 7’.
Now, those statistics are not from deer hunting, just falls in general, so it’s really hard to say, but a fall from any height can be bad. So regardless of how high you are hunting from, safety harnesses and Lifelines are of the utmost importance.
So, after taking all of this in, what do you think? Having hunted from heights ranging anywhere from strapping a hang-on at thigh-height, to stands at over 35’ in the air, and everywhere in between, I can say there definitely is a “sweet spot” for treestand height, one that has the best mix of everything; shot angles, wind drift, allows for movement and safety. That height is 12-20’. To narrow it down a bit more, 16-18’ is ideal in my book.
Hunt from this height and see how much more comfortable, happy, and deadly you’ll be.