It’s the big day. You have left your hunting area alone, and it is time to go in and hang your tree stand, or setup your ladder tree stand for hunting season. Do you have everything you need? There are a lot of tips and tricks to know when going in and hanging a tree stand, and setting the tree stand up for deer hunting – do you know them? Do you have everything covered? Here is a list of 36 things you can, and should do to make sure your tree stand is ready to hunt, after you’re done hanging it. Using this list will help ensure your tree stand hanging going smoothly, and gives you as much enjoyment as possible. Without the proper planning and preperation, it can be a very unenjoyable task – so plan ahead!
1) Wear a Safety Harness. I wear a Muddy Outdoors Safeguard Harness. Wearing a safety harness is #1 on the list for a reason. It is the most important. Don’t be stupid, wear a harness. It really is that simple. Your family and friends enjoy having you around (for the most part).
2) Use a Linemans Belt. A linemans belt is a great tool to help ensure your safety when actually hanging a hang on deer tree stand. It allows you to have both arms free to hunt the tree stand, and install climbing steps and tree sticks. This is essential to making sure you’re being as safe as possible when hanging a deer stand. Many of the nicer tree stand harnesses, come with a linemans belt. Use it!
3) Tell others where you’ll be. This one is simple. Tell a family member or friend where you’ll be, and when you expect to be home. Tell them the directions and exact property you’ll be at. If you have an iPhone, send them a “pin” of your location, so they can find you easily, if you fall and need immediate help.
4) Bring a drill. A drill can be a lifesaver when installing screw in tree steps for deer stands, or putting in a bow holder or gear hook. It makes the install faster and will increase your enjoyment and efficiency.
5) Bring a saw. Really, one saw isn’t enough. I recommend a tree saw (I use the Wicked Tree Saw…highly recommended) and a pole saw for trimming shooting lanes, and clearly your entry and exit route. A chainsaw is obviously helpful too, and much quicker.
6) Use a loud device. If you’re hanging your tree stand in the off season, you want the deer to know you’re there, before you bump them from the deer stand area. Driving a truck, or 4-wheeler to the stand location moves the deer away, without scaring the crap out of them. They will think it is just a farmer, and not leave the area for a long period of time. Running a chain saw or weed whacker 100 yards away from your stand will also help you achieve this. Scaring deer while walking into the area is not ideal. You want to bump them from noise, not your presence.
7) Bring gear hooks and pullup rope. Nobody likes installing these things the morning or evening of a deer hunt. If possible, install the gear hooks, pull rope, and bow/gun holder while you are hanging your stand. It will make your life easier on the day of the hunt. You’ll appreciate being able to climb up and have a place to hang your hunting gear.
8) Use a lifeline for tree stands. This is a no-brainer. I use the SafeTreeHunt Lifelines, and highly recommend them. They use high quality materials, and are less costly than other manufactures. These live saving tools (literally) will ensure you will be safe and secure from the moment your feet leave the ground. This is critical. Again, don’t be dumb. Use these. At every single stand.
I use these lifelines, from Safetreehunt.com. They are cheap, and very effictive. They literally save your life.
9) Use a tree stand hanging device. There are a number of these on the market, and they allow you to hang the tree stand up in the tree, so you can use both of your hands to easily hang the stand. The device literally holds the deer stand while you fasten the rachet traps and buckles to ensure the tree stand is attached securely to the tree. Here is an example.
10) Trim your route to the stand. Ground scent is the devil. It is optimal to not brush up against anything when traveling to or from your tree stand. To make this happen, bring a weed whacker or tree pruner with you, and make a little lane to your tree that is free of debris and branches that will contain your scent.
11) Use a compass for wind direction. This is a great tip. Using a compass, or even a compass on your phone can allow you to see what degrees your tree stand will hunt best in. For instance, if your tree stand hunts well with a South, Southeast wind, you can then look at the compass, while in the deer stand and make note that while South, Southeast works, it really is best with a 130-150 degree wind direction. Mark this down in your phone, or a notebook, and you’ll be able to find websites online that give you wind direction via degrees, not rough directions. So when you go and hunt, you can see exactly what degrees the wind direction is coming from, and be more accurate with your stand selection.
12) Hang trail cameras. To make sure your hunting area has as little intrusion as possible, while hanging your tree stands, go ahead and hang your trail cameras too. This means one less trip to the woods, making those deer more relaxed on your hunting property. This is a good thing. Another tip – hang them on the edge of your hunting property, so you’re not stomping around your hunting woods in the off season!
While hanging your tree stands, go and hang your trail cams too. The less times you enter and scent up your area, the better.
13) Charge your phone. This is self explanatory. Some people thing phones don’t below in the hunting woods. I am not one of them. Your phone is an outdoor tool, and even a lifeline. Make sure it is fully charged when hunting tree stands, or hunting.
14) Take pictures. Take a picture of the actually tree stand, and even the shooting lanes with your phone before you leave the area. This will be important to note if you have someone else hunting the area. They will be able to visualize how to climb into the stand, making it easier to climb into to. Sounds like not that big of a deal,but it is helpful for someone hunting the area for the first time.
15) Mark the area for dark entry and exit. Maybe you use the flourescent colored tape, or the glow-in-the-dark tacks, either way, make sure you have a way to lead you to the stand, or someone who isn’t familiar with the stand or area.
16) Right handed or left handed. Will the stand be hunted by left-handed or right-handed folks? It matters. Hang the stand for the predominant hand.
17) Make a list. Before heading out to the hunting property to hang the tree stand – make a list. Include food, tools, equipment, etc. Check the things off while you pack the truck.
18) Bring screw in steps. These things SUCK to put in, but boy they can be handy to have. Throw in a few extra tree steps so you can use them in a pinch for an extra step, or a gear hook or bow holder. Cheap and helpful.
Doing the dirty work right, and lead to venison in the freezer!
19) Pen and paper (phone). Bring a pen or paper and make notes on each stand site. This will better help you understand the area you’re going into, after not being in the area for weeks or months at a time. An example of the notes would/could be: : ” 1) Heavy used trail on the West side of hill, watch deer coming from being you. 2) Stand needs bow hook
20) Pack a cooler. The weather may or may not be ideal – either way pack a cooler for enjoyment and refreshments. Water and high energy foods a must. Make no mistake about it, hanging tree stands sucks the energy out of you! A washcloth is a bonus too, to clean any cuts you may have, or wash your face with cold water.
21) Bring a map. Either aerial, topo or a hybrid map. Mark areas of interest on the map, and make any notes/reminders you need on the map yourself. This will allow you a big pictures view of the hunting area, and give you a good perspective of the area while hanging the stands. Good tool to have in the field, as well as at home.
22) Wear gloves. This is a no-brainer for me. Hanging stands, pulling up rope, and walking through briar patches is not near as bad when you have gloves on to protect your hands! Could save you from poison ivy, to boot.
23) Leave the chair up (or take home the seat). It is no secret squirrels and mice are tough on tree seats and straps. When the dee stand seat is folded up, these little bastards are less likely to chew on your seat, keeping it in better condition, for longer. It also helps protect the seat from the weather elements. You’ll thank me when you go to your deer stand in December, and you don’t have snow on your seat!
24) Change of clothes. After a long day in the deer woods hanging tree stands, a nice, clean pair of clothes awfully nice to change into, particularly if you have a long drive home form the hunting property. This isn’t necessary, but is nice to have.
25) Bring extra rachet straps or cam buckle straps. We always happen to lose or break the rachet or cam buckles to the tree stands. Buying and bring extra, makes this less of a problem. Just plan on it!
26) Check in. This kinda goes with #3, but checking in with family or friends periodically throughout the day is a good practice, especially when you are alone. Every couple of hours is adequate.
Having a map of your hunting area can help you visualize and choose stand sites, while in the woods.
27) Pile up limbs and brush. When you cut shooting lanes, or trim your entry and exit route – be sure to pile those branches/limbs up in an area that won’t hinder deer movement around your stand – or better yet, pile them where you don’t want the deer to go (downwind).
28) Put in an extra step step or climbing stick. Nothing is worse than climbing into a deer stand in the dark, and not feeling completely comfortable and safe. PUT IN the extra tree step, or climbing stick that makes it easy to get in and out of the stand. The more the merrier. Don’t skimp on these, it is imperative that you’re safe at all times when climbing into, and out of your tree stands. You won’t care in November that it took you an extra 10 minutes in August.
29) Remove bottom tree steps or climbing stick. If trespassing or other hunters on the property may be stealing or utilizing your deer stand without permission, take out the bottom tree steps or climbing sticks. This will make it harder for them to find, and get into. Just bringing in a couple of steps or one climbing stick isn’t too big of a deal on each hunt.
30) Don’t trim too much. Keep in mind that the leaves will fall, and you’ll have less cover in the tree stand, when it is hunting season. Don’t cut too much. Small holes are better than one big shooting lane.
31) Climbing tree stand notes. If you’re using a climbing tree stand, make notes on the measurements for your stand (top section uses 4th hole from top, etc) in a notebook, and reference it before the hunt. It’ll make climbing the tree 10x easier when you know the measurements before hand. You can also make note of this in your phone, for future reference.
32) Don’t rush. There is no need to rush putting in tree stands. It is dangerous business. Take your time, and double check what you’re doing. Your life depends on it.
I count on my Wicked Tree Saw for helping trim my shooting lanes.
33) Have a plan. Make a plan for the day. This tip is similar to #17. Plan ahead for lunch times, and break times. This will help make the day more enjoyable, and more effective.
34) Hand the stands in the Summer or Early Spring. Hands down, the best time to hand a deer stand is in the Sping. Foliage is light, and the weather isn’t too hot. It also gives the deer ample time to get used to the tree stands, and forget about your human intrusion.
35) Wear pants that have pockets. Cargo pants might not be ok to wear to work – but they are essential in the deer woods. The pockets can be extra helpful for packing saws, pull up ropes, gear hooks, phone, etc.
36) Good shoes or boots. Wearing good, comfortable shoes or boots when hanging tree stands is a key to being able to enjoy your day afield. A good quality hiking boot is ideal, but rubber or leather boots that are broken in, work fine too.
And there they are. 36 tips, tricks and reminders to ensure your tree stand hanging is effective and enjoyable. Utilize these tips and you’ll make the most of your time in the deer woods, hanging tree stands. Might even want to print this off, it could save you!
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