The Perfect Set-up

Quite often I get asked for advice on stand placement. There are a lot of things to consider; time of year, weather, wind direction, terrain, and deer travel patterns.

Morning stands are generally more productive than evening stands. With the exception of early-season hunting in mountainous terrain. In those instances an evening stand at the base of the mountain is for more productive since it utilizes the evening air thermal direction.

For the rest of the season morning stands rule. I try to keep my stand on the highest ground possible. There is more deer activity in the bottom lands during daylight hours, but the danger of the daytime air thermals lifting your scent and spreading it for several hundred yards in all directions is just too great. Always opt for a stand high on the ridge.

Pictured above is what I consider the ideal set up. I’m looking for a funnel that lies in a north-south direction, with access from the eastern side. It’s best if there is enough cover to keep your approach to the stand undetected. Once I found such a set up, I leave the area alone until I’m ready to hunt. There’s no sense mucking up the good set by over scouting. If deer detect the presence of humans they won’t necessarily quit using the funnel, just quit using it during the daylight hours.

Throughout most of the United States the prevailing wind direction comes out of the southwest. Approaching from the east keeps us from stinking the whole place up before we even start to hunt. I like to keep my stand, whether it’s a tree stand or a ground blind, on the eastern side of the funnel for the same reasons.

Bear in mind deer prefer to leave a crop field with the wind at their backs. I believe they do this naturally in order to detect any predators which might be following them. A change in wind direction will change where the deer leave the field. There’s no sense waiting for deer to leave the field unless the wind is directly in your face.

I do a lot of my hunting in the thick forests in the northern Rocky Mountains. Though funnels are not as obvious as the picture above, they still exist. We call them deer runways (a narrow strip of timber within a forest which deer frequently utilized to travel). In mountainous terrain evening and morning air thermals are a greater factor in determining our approach to the stand than prevailing winds.

It’s hard to find a perfect set up, but the basic principles of wind direction, undetected approach and concealment hold true no matter where you hunt. Having the prevailing wind in your face and an undetected approach to the stand are crucial for consistent success.

Good Luck and Good Hunting,
Jim

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