Friday, July 08, 2011

Bowhunting Stand Locations You Should Avoid

© By Othmar Vohringer

There are any number of features that just scream, “Hang a stand here.” But some of these spots are traps that you should avoid. Here are a few examples of such hot spots that turn out to be traps.

Ravine Crossings
This tempting location probably claims more victims than nearly all the others combined. Even experienced hunters can fall for its raw appeal of a ravine.
Here's why these are traps: Funnels between two bedding areas are always good choices to place a stand but not all funnels are the same and the ravine is one of them. At first glance it appears to be a great funnel between two bedding areas, made even better by the fact that you can sneak up the ditch to get to the stand. Deer will never know what hit them.

Be aware you've just stepped into the snare that's going to make you miserable and ruin what could have been a great area. What's going to happen when the wind blows? Your scent is going to wash all over that ravine until every deer within a quarter-mile radius knows you're there. Ravines are not very predictable in wind directions. Often these spots are prone to switching wind directions and swirling air currents.

Easy Stand Location
Most of us prefer a stand location that's easy to travel to, over one that requires a GPS, and maps to find. Some hunters are comforted when they get out of bed in the morning knowing they almost can drive up to the stand location or only have to walk a short distance. Yes such easy to reach locations can be good spots too, but in most cases it’s what every other hunter does too and you pay the price for it.

When I chose a stand location I look for places where I do not have to walk through areas that hold deer, like an open crop field, and where every other hunter might set their stands up to. My stands are always placed further back from the feeding and bedding areas on trail intersections and away from every other hunter.

Don't fall victim to the temptation to choose a stand site because it permits you easy access. Look for a stand that gives you several approach routes without walking through deer holding areas.

Hot Scrapes During Peak Rut
I’ve said it many times and it is worth repeating time and again. There is no such thing as a "hot" scrape during the peak of the rut. Bucks don't use them then. Besides, a buck makes many scrapes in his territory and he does not visit them every day. Every single “scrape hunter” I asked confirmed that they sat for many days and many hours in a “scrape stand” before they killed a buck. Enough said. Beyond that, we need to resist the temptation to become too sign-oriented. Granted, buck sign get our blood flowing and the heart pump faster.

Yet, despite its affect on our imaginations, buck sign can be a seductive killer. Rarely is it a useful indicator of a great stand location and never is this truer than when you decide to sit over a scrape during the peak of the rut. You will have a much better chance to hang your stand in a buck travel corridor. It’s there you will bucks as they travel back and forth to scent check the does. When you scout your hunting area, keep your eye on the terrain, bedding areas, feeding areas, and the best funnels you can find, forget about scrapes.

Hunting Ridges in the Evening
I love hunting along ridge top bedding areas during the morning, but I've stopped hunting them during the afternoon. I wasted a few afternoons hunting ridge tops and learned my lesson the hard way. It's not like bucks don’t walk through ridge top bedding areas in the afternoons looking for does, they do, but not for very long. The real action in the afternoon is already up on its feet and walking toward a feeding area.

Hunt the places the does are moving toward, not the places they are coming from. I always hunt deer that are going somewhere not coming from somewhere. Think about that for a minute. This simple philosophy can double the length of time the deer are active around your stand. Suppose the deer get up from their beds an hour before sunset and start drifting toward their feeding areas. You have a brief flurry of activity and then everything is moving away from you.

Another reason why you should stay away from bedding areas in the afternoon bedding is because it’s nearly impossible to approach them during the day without blowing the hunt. Deer don't pick their bedding areas randomly but because they are the safest places within their home range and where they have the ultimate advantage. Your approach can be seen, heard or smelled by every deer within a large area. You can sneak in easily into your stand away from the bedding area along a trail to the feeding area while the deer are milling around in the bedding area and be wait for them.

When you start your scouting for a perfect stand locations bear these tips in mind and it might just help you to see more deer this season.


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