A tree stand is often a must have for bow hunters, but it can be useful for rifle hunters as well. It can allow you to stay warm, and comfortable for prolonged periods of time.

Step 1: Find the Game

The first step to picking a tree stand location is locating a spot where the game are likely to pass so start searching for deer signs, or signs from whatever game you are hunting. Look for things like scat, tracks, sheds, scarred trees, or signs that the deer have been eating the vegetation in the area.

Step 2: Select a Tree

Once you’ve found an area with game traffic, start looking for a tree for your tree stand. You need a strong tree, that’s healthy and in good shape. If you see dead limbs everywhere, or other indicators of a problem , it’s wise to keep searching for another tree. Tree stands don’t work well with trees that have a smooth surface as the friction from a course bark helps secure the tree stand to the tree. For climbing stands, you’ll need the lower trunk to be clear of limbs and branches or you’ll be blocked from climbing up the tree. We carry a small saw for this reason, but we start by selecting a tree that requires little in the way of pruning.

Step 3: Create Shooting Lanes

From there you should give some thought to which direction you’d like to face while hunting, with priority given to the areas with the most signs of deer. You’ll want to be positioned downwind of the deer if the wind blows in a consistent direction, and you’ll want to be clear of branches that could restrict your visibility and ability to get in position when the time comes to take action. You may need to use your saw again to create shooting lanes with clear lines of sight. Try to pick a position that gives several shooting lane options.

When to Setup your Tree Stands

We recommend setting up your stand several days in advance of your hunt so the deer have a chance to become desensitized to the stand (especially in the case of a ladder stand), and it will allow you to make a quieter entrance on the morning of your hunt.

Consider Local Regulations

Local regulations specify where tree stands can be located, and for that reason you should familiarize yourself with the local rules. There may be spots which are off limits. Some private property owners may not take kindly to a tree stand appearing on their land.