When selecting a good stand location perhaps the most important and often overlooked part of a good stand selection site is access to that stand. Getting to your stand location without spooking deer or other game is vital to a successful hunt. Often the best places to hunt are the most inaccessible. It stands to reason, that big bucks will live in areas that are the most protected. They know the area they live most of their lives in is a safe zone.
Accessing quality stand locations is not necessarily difficult, but it does take some planning. For example, one location that has a history of success on our property is fairly close to an easy parking area. However if we were to walk directly in from this area we would bust all of the deer getting into the stand. So we circle the whole property and enter through an adjacent field to minimize the impact on stand approach. Other stands are easier to access.
Chad Simpson of Hendersonville, NC is a long successful deer hunter who says; “one method I prefer is using the ‘come in the back door’ approach.” He says, “I never approach a stand from the front or the side. Instead I always approach from the rear.” This allows for minimum interference on the hunting area. Simpson says that when selecting a stand location. One of the top things to consider is the access. Besides finding the perfect tree (which we will talk about in a future story) accessing the tree will be the ticket to success.
Simpson goes on to note, “if access from the rear is impossible, then we use the “J” method. Coming in from the back and circle back towards the stand.” He stresses to never, approach from the front or the area you suspect deer to approach from.
Lastly, when choosing your stand access, mark it well and clean out the path to the stand. Personally, I use the reflective tacks to mark my trails for access in the dark. This shows me the correct path, but the trail is also clear of debris. Simpson mirrors this stating that “we take great pains to make sure there is no debris in the trail to the stand.” Preferring in the preseason to clear out these trails of any dead limbs, sticks, excess leaves etc. This will make the walk to the stand as silent as possible. “We have on some occasions used a backpack blower to remove all of the debris down to the dirt to make it as quiet as possible.” While admittedly, most won’t go to that extreme, removing excess debris will make your access to your stand silent, and thereby offer more opportunity for more success.
Hunters in general and bow hunters in particular take a lot of effort and pride in selecting a great stand location to ambush a buck. It doesn’t take a lot of extra work to make sure your access to that stand is one that will allow you the best opportunity to get into your stand without spooking game animals. Choose wisely, when selecting the best location for a stand, remember the prevailing winds, the terrain, and also access to and from that stand. This is perhaps the most critical and often overlooked aspect of proper stand placement.