Nortwoods is correct. All I hunt is mature bucks so I usually try to get 20 to 25 feet up. At times, I may be only 16-18 feet up, but, that is the exception. Usually though I am up in the 20-25 foot range.
The way I look at it is I never hunt of any stand higher than I could jump out of with out killing my self. I've shot many deer from stands that were no higher than 8 ft. high. I guess it all depends on how much you are willing to gamble for a deer. I have sit on the ground and have deer walk up on me.
For me, there are two factors that decide how high I climb. The first is terrain and the second it back ground cover.
The height of my climb could be anywhere from 10 to 20 foot. Last year for example, I had a bear stand that was on a hill side above the bait. Because of the slope if I would have set up my stand at 20 ft. I would have been almost 30 ft above my bait. As a result, I only climbed 10 leaving me with a comfortable shoot distance and angle. (I killed a bear the 2 day in that stand)
My second consideration is cover. You never want to be silhouetted against the sky or distant trees. I like to climb into hanging tree branches and cut spaces out that I can shoot through.
One other piece of advice. Always set up you stand so you’re most likely shooting direction is over your opposite shoulder…..I.E. if you shoot right handed; set the stand so that the likely shot is off to your left.
My pull rope is 20' long. I cut and climb to its length or lower depending on available cover. I am not one to get 30+ feet high. I just do not care for the shot angles in the nosebleed seats, although, you have a better chance going undetected.
Some years back I killed a number of deer from a ladder stand that was so successful it became known as the "ladder of death" among my hunting buddies... and it was 6 feet tall! I got the stand from my father and considered it almost useless because of it's height, but on a whim I set it up about 15 yards from a well used drop into and across a creek, almost totally concealed in ground cover around the tree. I had deer walk past that tree (using the creek crossing) at literally point blank range, and never one did I get busted.
I have had good success between 16 - 20 feet. Usually around 18 feet. But like many have said, cover is the issue, and your ability to be still, and scent free. Either way be careful to plan your hunts based on wind direction. Obviously do not hunt a stand if the wind is blowing in the direction that you expect the deer to come from. 30 feet is not necessary and creates sharp angles making your kill zone smaller.
Let the cover dicatate the height. If you have good concealment cover at 12 feet, hunt that high, if its 20 feet to the cover - than climb 20. You don't want to stick out like a sore thumb so as long as you make sure you are well hidden by limbs, etc. you should be fine. I've hunted as high as 30 feet (honest!) in a bow only property in VA where all the deer walked around looking up and have killed them as low as 12 to include my best buck - around 160". Lots of cover and he never knew what hit him.
I climb until the limbs of other tress are at my waist/feet level. Most of my bucks have been taken from 10-25 feet. In open pine/hardwood areas I'll go 30-35. Get to place were your outline is broken be surrounding trees / bushes. It's all about cover.
No way to give an answer to this as the location etc. will tell how high you should be. I've killed good bucks at seven feet up and also did a number on bucks at thirty feet up. Watch the angle at high set-ups & get away from the trail at low ones. My nornal set-up is fifteen feet up and fifteen to eighteen feet out. Good Luck
a few guys hit the nail on the head, it depends on the canopy, In some woods the canopy will allow a 20 foot treestand and in some it will allow a 10 foot treestand, If you are so high and can't get a shot account the canopy is in the way thats no good, its good to blend in with the canopy and still have somewhat clear shots
it depends on where you hunt. when i hunt in michigan and wisconsin i have to be a lot higher than in northern canada. the deer in the states are hunted a lot more from tree stands than in northern canada.
Give me your thoughts....me personally im floating right around 20-25 as i posted above but in other areas with rifle i like 30-35....the higher you go....the less likely it is for your scent to reach the ground....Im going from memory here so bear with me but the 1 older couple who had a hunting video out about the treelounge on moonshine island was it? They lit off a smoke bomb to represent scent and above a certain height your scent will not reach the ground. So for me personally during rifle, I am that high and I dont get as anal about my scent as much....Does this factor into your stands height placement at all? For bow it is definately a lot more tough with the steep angle
When leaves are on, I can get away very low. Like 12 feet low. I like that when I'm hunting with a trad bow. When the leaves fall, I need to be a minimum of 18-20 feet in mature timber. That can make trad bows tough but, no sweat for compounds.
It really depends on terrain, leaves, age of the timber stand, etc.... God Bless
terrain determines mine but I am most comfortable at 15/16' on my ladders. I have 2 this year at 12 foot & 3 at 15. I've killed Deer as low as 7 foot & 25 foot (in the S.). I do not like being over 16 foot & since I've killed a wide variety of biggame at 16 & under, well satisfied.
well I will give you a different perspective,,,, area is the hill country of SW Wisconsin, Crawford county,,,, last Friday my friend shot a 176 (green scored) 12 at a distance of 8 steps,,,,,, however he was not in a tree at all, but in a pit blind, that he dug out, and looks like a Jap pill box from the war..... being below the ground is highly effective.....
He also use to hunts the swamps and marshes of SE Wis, and many times only got up 6 feet, just enough to shoot over cattails...... He has shot a lot of big boys, since going to a pit blind,,,,,, So you see, height is nice, but not always necessary.......
Also lots of guys set up their stands wrong any way.... I prefer hang on for one reason, not obvious, and I use the tree for cover, putting most of he stand, towards the back of the tree, not like you see on TV, on non pressured deer....
Sometimes you hunt high some times low,,,, do not hunt for a tree, hunt for the best spot, and adjust accordingly
How comfortable are you with heights? .i was a roofer/sider for 30yrs,worked at all heights but im not comfortable over 16' on a 12"x12 platform..as far as cover just put some branches in your straps.you dont need much
18 is perfect for me. Shot angle does not significantly reduce the kill zone, I normally stand to shoot so I don’t get busted. Cover does make a difference. Personally at no time would I be 6 to 8 feet off the ground. Just my preference. I never set on fields or food plots because I hunt the big woods. Deer come from any direction so at this hunt I feel comfortable to not get caught moving.
Pick a height that you are comfortable with make sure that you know why you are there. I used to hunt big piney woods where it was wide open so most my stands were between 20 to 25 feet.
without reading all the above replies, I will say it depends on the location... I am generally 18-21ft with my 4 LW sticks, the Lw Alpha II platform is usually within that height... there are a few locations I am a tad lower due to overhead cover/branches... when I'm that low, I feel my butt is dragging the ground, but it works for those locations....
Couple of things....pit blinds are not legal in all states for deer....one guy asked about "not having a fancy range finder"....you arrow flight is the horizontal distance whether uphill or downhill. With todays bows you can either measure to objects at the base of your tree or some do it in there stand. Just shoot the tree the same height as you not to the base of the tree. There might be a slight difference but it`s minimal with a modern compound.
I had no idea, that pit blinds were illegal in some states.... I wonder why? I can not hunt this fall due to surgery, so I have time for this computer,,,,, ha ha.... my friend is hunting one of my best spots this week...... We found a big blow down, last spring in the ideal spot, where we have taken bucks before...... mother nature gave us this gift...
last spring we dug it out, where the roots are exposed, and than covered it up well,,,,, it is a killer spot,,,,,, gets a little wet at times , but so far, he has had deer go by as close at 10 feet, never know he is in there.......
once he went to pit blind hunting, he left his recurve and went to a short compound, for obvious reasons,,,,,,,
A lot of opinions on tree stand heights. If I'm hunting from a tree stand I get as high as I feel I need to in order to get a good shot on a deer. My rope is only 25 feet long so that would be my limit although I have inched a foot or two higher than that. I have shot deer 30 ft. high and I have shot deer only five feet high. Obviously you can hunt from the ground as well.
JTV depends on terrain you hunt,,,, I shot a beauty of a buck, one LW stick in a small sapling, in the crap hole.... Oh yeah by the way, most guys on this public piece, were out of the wet stuff, and in the hardwoods, so they could get up high,,,,, doesn't do much good, if that is not where the big boys go till after dark........
As others have said, there isn't a one size fits all answer. In some cases, going higher makes you less likely to get busted, but at other times you can go so high that you put yourself above the available cover (like adjacent shorter trees) and you become easier to spot. Here's a video from last week. The platform I am on in this big bushy cedar tree is only about 7 feet off the ground. I obviously didn't need to be any higher. Near the end of the clip, I switch over to GoPro footage since I had it mounted on the decoy's head. Hell, I had a hard time picking myself out in that tree even though I knew exactly where I was located!
I like 14-16, I've gone as high as 24-ish. I placed one today that I didn't need any steps for. About 18"....maybe. lol. It's at the top of a gully where a stream runs through below. With a couple dead fall trees in front and some strategically placed hemlocks, I'm hoping it's a good....just off the ground...ground blind.
I like a 20’ climbing stick with the stand platform at the next to the highest step. Using a lifeline I can then stand on the very top, push my “stop knot” up above me and step down onto the stand with a taunt harness. I then can adjust the length to give just enough slack to sit. I truly believe if you’re going to have a stand “issue” it will be at the point your full weight first hits it. Also I orientate the loops I would “hang from” on the step / ladder side. If dangling I want to be able to recover...
Interesting thread revival. In the more than a decade since this was posted nothing has changed. Background cover means a tremendous amount, whether that is available at 10 feet or 35 feet. Keep in mind that as you go higher the kill zone gets smaller due to angle. I've killed a deer with a bow from a fairly ridiculous height and will not repeat it. While I did recover the deer the shot was not ideal.
With a rifle, often height can be a significant advantage if you have an area where getting high allows you to see more territory. I have a rifle stand that is higher than most trees. I'm very comfortable at height and there's something special about being so high up that no animal other than a bird will notice you.
10 to 25 depends lots of holly trees in some places I hunt & soon as you get into the canopy viability goes way down & then I also hunt on the salt marsh & it's mostly white pines & 25' is not unusual. I mostly use a climber now but when I used a hang on & screw in steps I looked for trees with cover more so than height iv killed a lot of deer between 10 & 15' from hang on stands with good cover big cedar trees would be a great example
I've killed several out of this set-up. This year's deer was on the other side of that small cedar in the middle of the picture some 7 steps from my tree. You have to look closely to see the treestand straps. Some places just lend themselves to low placement, because as others have stated, background is key. Two deer were killed from this set this year.
I’m partial to setting up at the same height every time… Usually around 10 feet. This has proven to be sufficient to keep me out of their line of sight, and it makes it a lot easier to hit your target every time when the angles are about the same.
I don’t like to be too high, because of the issue others have mentioned with it shrinking your target. With a rifle it doesn’t matter so much, but when bowhunting it’s a much bigger deal… I find I don’t get picked off too often as long as I am set up such that I’m either on the backside of a tree, or they are coming straight at me such that I have no silhouette. It really does help to have nice, thick trees to set up in, of course!
I prefer a groundblind that is brushed in really well. I have found that I can relax and sit longer if concealed on the ground. The view is limited, but the advantages out weigh the disadvanteges. I realize that a ground blind is a more permanent set up where as climbing stands and ladder stands are always being moved. It just came to me that the thread is about tree stand height, not ground blinds. Oh well....
My ideal height for a treestand is whatever I decide in a certain tree. You have to decide for yourself what is the ideal height. Some people on here will tell you to stay low because your target will be bigger. That may be true but if you hunt too low for the tree you picked you will never have a target. If your really having trouble with this find a guy in your area that consistently has the type of results you want and ask him to help you.
Don--I don't think I was EVER that tough! Lol! Pretty cool way to hunt though. I agree on the height=best cover being the answer.
I always look at the area and wonder if a quick glance would make out my stand or if Id have to study it. If I can see it easy..Even if it's the perfect place...It's a no go. Think of how many times things catch your eye that are out of place at home or in public....I think the same way when hanging stands.
Think like a deer in the sense of how tough is it to make out the stand/hunter with a quick glance and then hunt the right winds.