Contributors to this thread:
Top or bottom of a saddle?
I found a great saddle in the snow today while scouting with a fair amount of fresh tracks going up and down it. Here is my question. At the bottom of the saddle is another bench with a trail that intersects the saddle. I found a tree where I could cover the saddle trail and crossing trail along the bottom. The issue is the saddle is steep and the deer will be above me coming down the saddle. I will be pretty visible. I could try to set up on the back side of the tree to help. If I sit the top of the saddle there is only the one saddle trail and the sides are so steep that I think I would have to walk right up the trail. All things considered would prefer to sit the top of the saddle or bottom? Thanks
Top. I like the tops better because the wind seems to be a little more uni-directional and when it goes towards the bottom, the thermals will hopefully help push your scent up and anytime i am below deer coming down a slope, the margin for error seems so small as far as not being seen, back side of tree or not. Walk UP the steep to stay off their trail. Not sure how far it is to the bottom bench, but i have a public land spot i hunt that is VERY similar to ur pic and two years in a row now i grunted/bleated my buck up from the bottom, while my scent blew OVER the deer. This was whitetails.... Sweet looking spot, great find!!
Depends on the thermals and wind direction...
I’ll bet you’d get better advice if you posted a satellite pic of the area and indicated which way is north....
Bottom stand doubles your chances
Late afternoon, you should have good sun hitting that steep hillside at an angle where it’ll really soak in... that’ll get the thermals working hard for you.
If the deer are coming across from the east, you may well do better on the top stand, because the thermals will bend the prevailing breeze to the right. That could pull your scent from the lower stand down into the saddle...
If they’re coming from (or staying to) the west, that’s the play.
I just have to wonder what trails are running along the spine of the ridge... interesting flat spot under the D in “bottom stand”....
Depends on cover, too, though... open areas let the wind pick up speed and that sucks air in from neighboring areas...
And that knob to the south... seems like a Primo bedding area....
I don’t know, though... there’s something about that top stand that’s bugging me.
Would you be able to put up a stand on that peak to the north and just watch how they move through there?
One more from Google earth
GF. I could put up an observation stand pretty easy on the north knob.
I really like setting up where I can see what’s going on without screwing stuff up.
Got good binocs?
I prefer 1/3 on saddles....either top or bottom...depending on deer activity.
Did not read all the posts and of course, unless we are standing there looking at it, all of us just guess. But from your description, I would consider this: No matter if a deer is going up or down, at some point, he is going to be where he left the tracks. Now, I know that sounds stupid, but it isn't. It doesn't matter if you shoot him at the bottom or top as long as you get the shot. So pick the best place for a stand if the tracks go both ways.
Now, what about shooting the bench? If you cannot shoot the bench from the top, consider the bottom. You are concerned, and rightly so, about being seen by deer coming down. But where do they go when they get down to the bench. Where do they go, then?
Do you see what I am getting at? If deer are going from or to Point A to get to or from Point B, don't let the saddle muddle your thinking. A place along a trail, even some distance from the saddle, may be just as productive and provide a better stand location. The saddle is just an easy route from A-B or in reverse. But just like a stop sign on your highway, once passed, the road continues. (I realize that may not make sense to anyone but me and I am about half-nuts, anyway.)
Perhaps just north of your X you could find a suitable location to cover the most prevalent traveled trail. (google map)
Bowriter, makes sense to me regarding point's A to B.
Just a reminder, no location is perfect or allow's you to hunt it all. Pick a location and be patient.
You set that stand up down low and the SW wind is going to swirl up against the face of the ridge and some of your scent would likely end up in the saddle. I hunt a lot of very hilly terrain for whitetails and have spent a lot of time in my hunting area understanding what the wind does as it funnels around in the hills, ridges, and saddles. When hunting this type of terrain I always try to set up as high on the ridges, etc as I can. The wind is much more consistent and deer rarely pick you off up high. Down low may be the better the spot for travel but not necessarily the best spot to actually kill a mature buck.
My last piece of worthless advice. Don't even consider the wind. In that terrain, it is going to swap 360-degrees, every two minutes or less. For Christ's sake, just go hunt. Quit letting people overthink for you.
Thanks everyone. I set a stand on the top of the saddle. There was a great tree and from the top of the saddle When I was considering using the tree in the bottom I couldn’t imagine how a deer wouldn’t see me coming down from the top. Will be there in the morning and will see what happens.
Keep us posted. It is, after all, time to saddle up and ride.