By Bob Humphrey
Regular visitors to our site may recall a couple weeks back I provided a summary on the different types of stands, and where each one might be more appropriate. This week we’ll talk about the best way to approach those stands or stand locations.
Hunt the Wind
You no doubt paid a great deal of attention to wind direction when selecting your stand location, positioning it so approaching deer would be upwind or crosswind from you. But have you also considered wind direction with regard to how you approach that stand? It’s important, especially if you have to cover a considerable distance getting to your stand. If you’re walking upwind of a bedding or feeding area on your way in, you may be unwittingly scaring off the deer you had intended to hunt.
Take careful note of prevailing winds, then plot a route that minimizes their effect, or even takes advantage of them. You can’t compromise on the wind, even if it means traveling a considerable distance out of your way. In fact, taking a wide, circuitous route may be the best option. If that’s the case, you may be able to cover some of that ground on an ATV.
You may occasionally find situations where you have a great stand location but seemingly no way to approach it with prevailing winds. Don’t give up. Put that stand on reserve for when the wind blows from an atypical direction, which is often the case before, during or just after a storm event.
Timing is Everything
Under ordinary circumstances most hunters want to get in their morning stands well before shooting light. This allows time for any disturbance you created to settle down before peak movement, which typically occurs at dawn. Sometimes however, there are situations where you may be better off waiting.
One is if you’re hunting a field edge or food plot and the only approach is through the field. You’ll only end up blowing all the deer out on your way in. They probably won’t return again that morning, and may be more suspicious if and when they do.
One option is to wait until the deer have left the field, slip in and hope some stragglers may happen by. Another is to approach through the woods, though you also risk alarming deer that may be lingering near the field.
And that applies to a stand in the woods as well. You chose the location because it’s an area deer use, which means they may already be there when you approach. If you wait until daylight, you can slip in slowly and quietly, still-hunting your way to the stand. That way you’ll see, and possibly avoid scaring off any deer already in the vicinity.
The same logic applies to approaching an afternoon stand as well. Like the song says: “Only fools rush in.” Take your time and stalk your stand. You may see deer nearby and have a chance to stalk them. Or, you may not see deer that are present, but if you’re careful you can get into your stand without running them off. This is especially true of hunting near bedding areas.