Marking and Checking Stands in The Off Season
I’m a firm believer in the importance of checking, tweaking, and moving treestands each year to ensure you are keeping up with any changes in deer patterns. This doesn’t take a ton of time, but it can really help increase your odds of success in the fall.
Before you get started, there are a few things you should make sure to bring in the field. Naturally, you’d first think the top of the list would have a treestand, but I actually prefer to leave mine home at this point. I carry a GPS, flagging tape, and spend the day simply walking deer trails. You can learn a lot about where trails lead, where they intersect, and what are the best winds to hunt each location. I’ve also found that by doing this you may realize that deer have switched trails and you can make the adjustments to your stand setups accordingly.
By walking trails it also helps you understand what deer are doing, where they are coming from, and what routes they are taking to get from food to water, and to their bedding area. By simply having the flagging tape in my pocket I’m extremely mobile and will mark any new locations that I’d like to hang a stand – that way, I can spend less time carrying heavy stands around yet still pick out and mark the best new stand locations.
I will then haul stands along once I decide everything has been marked and the best locations have been selected. This helps ensure that stands are hung in the best areas and locations.
Spring and summer are my favorite times to do this, and I try to go out before the weather gets too warm and the bugs become too bad. Many times I will ensure I have flagging tape with me even when I’m out shed, mushroom, or turkey hunting. You never know when you may come across a great stand location! I also use my GPS to not only mark the location but also enter the information for the best wind direction to hunt the stand. It makes life easier later on so I don’t have to rely on my memory and where the deer trails are for each location.
There are certain spots that are consistently good year after year, however it never hurts to check things over to be certain deer haven’t changed patterns on you and you may be missing out. Even if my stands are going to stay in the same location I like to use this time to check the straps for safety, ensure the pull rope is still there and just check over the stand for any improvements or any safety issues. They’re much easier to fix now than when I’m coming in for my first hunt of the fall and find out a stand is no longer safe or needs maintenance. I truly believe that by putting in a little extra time in the spring and summer it will improve your overall hunting experience in the fall. Now that my stands are all setup, the next step will be to head to the range and put in the time with my favorite whitetail ammo which is the Winchester Ballistic Silvertip in a .300 Win. Mag.
Melissa Bachman is an incredibly hardcore and intense hunter – perhaps one of the more passionate hunters you will ever meet.