Contributors to this thread:
My first climbing stand was a beast of homemade style that probably weighed 60-pounds. Then I got a new-fangled thing from Baker. I survived both of those early ones. Then one year, I got a two-piece thing called a Quick and Quiet. It was both of those and maybe the most stable and safest stand I ever used and I have owned a lot of them.
Now, here is the point I am getting at. I have been hunting deer from elevated stands for a long time. At one point, I actually thought I could climb high enough to avoid detection. Slowly it sunk in that if I climbed high enough, the deer saw me from further away and smelled me before I saw them. Then, one day while swapping tales with an older man, he said, "You know, so many hunters hunt backwards. They worry about cover in front of them when it is the cover behind them that counts. They go way up a tree and out-climb their background cover. And, for every foot they go up a tree, the more difficult the shot." It made sense when I thought about it.
That was about 25-years ago and I seriously doubt I have climbed over 15-18 feet up a tree since. Most of my stands are in the 8-12 foot range and I have not seen one bit of evidence being that low has cost me a single shot opportunity.
Isn't so much of deer hunting just plain common sense? And yet, we have the serious tendency to clutter it up with the latest B.S. some "expert" is expounding.
I've shot a few no higher than 6-8 ft. You get busted a lot at that low height though.
I will hunt as high as I need to based on cover and terrain. I have stands as low as 15' and have no problems because it's the right height. Generally I like to hunt high though and I find it gives me much more room to move at the time of the shot. That is generally the only time a deer would have a chance to bust me. Since I got better at picking spots and am almost always standing with my bow hung right in reach, the only time I'm moving for a deer to bust me is at the shot. Ideally I'd have a spot with good cover at 20'. That is rare here, so I just go 30+ feet and can get away with murder. Often shooting multiple deer in a group and never being spotted. I do like to set up where I can put the tree is between me and where I think the deer will be coming from. That gives me plenty enough cover in a telephone pole tree.
I have no problems in the 15 foot range until the leaves drop. I get my tail handed to me many times after that if I don't get into the 22-23 foot range. I still get busted but, not as much. You can go to high as I have been seen just as much at 30-35 feet as I was being spotted at 15 in November. This is a climbing stand and the trees are straight with little cover. Hang on's I put in the cover regardless of height, every time.
Whitetails make it a very deliberate habit to look up in these parts. I think the very steep terrain gives them an edge. If they are above you, they are looking down on you. If below you and you are to high or low, you stick out like a sore thumb when they are coming up the slope towards you. It is what it is and you do the best you can and hope they don't pick you out. So, height varies for me depending on leaf cover. God Bless men
Agree. I shot deer off of 6 foot homemade ladder stands in my early days. Background cover important.
When I did hunt from trees I rarely went up higher than 15-18', and like others was many times under that. I never liked the increased shot angle which effectively made the kill zone on a deer smaller. I tried to find trees that had multiple forks and other cover to break my outline up. I also never used a tree where the bulk of my background based on the way the deer would approach would be sky.
Hunting high can guarantee that you will not get both lungs unless the deer is out there in crossgun ranges.
In my "early days" I'd go high. One stand at 40 feet (LOL) :) I still like 20+ with good background cover. That being stated, I'm now at 59 years old and I got away with a lot of stupid stuff in my early days (no accidents). Man I was dumb way back then. I have switched over to many double ladder stands. I will not buy any lower then 18 feet. Double ladders are great... lots of room to relax, easy to climb and I take new hunters along (kids) so it's easy for both of us to sit and hunt.
I don't understand this whole "the deer saw me from further away and smelled me before I saw them."
Low or high isn't really going to matter a lot if the wind current is blowing toward the deer. I've never found that hunting high increased the odds that I would be spotted further away, in fact the opposite is true for me. I don't hunt at ridiculous heights though, but I would say that the odds of being spotted are less if I hunt above 20' than if I hunt at 15'. Now if you were hunting high late in the season without any leaves, and out in the open, I'd say it is pretty well common sense that one would be busted.
AZ Coues deer tree stand
AZ Coues deer tree stand
view from the stand, Killed my buck from this stand
view from the stand, Killed my buck from this stand
I would expect that the height placement of the stand might depend on the types of trees in the area, ie, high, limbless pine trees in the south or thick trucked oaks and maples with many limbs in the mid west. Being very high in a thicker forest limits your vision of the deer where as being lower, one has a better field of vision. One just has to be more careful with movement and stand placement and to "stand" or to "set". I usually set the stand as high as my climbing sticks allow me to go. ie, 15-18 feet
I would just like to add that I don't like the shot angles when you get much over 20' either. I like to shoot deer close.
So what your saying is that my stand called nose bleed is of no use. Seriously I set my stands based on cover and the situation. I put up nose bleed this past year and it is 56 ft to the base of the platform to the ground. This was the only way to get about 18ft above the power line run I wanted to be able to shoot. I guess it is about doing what ya have to do when setting a stand and that may mean go up a few feet or being up in the nose bleed section!! Shawn
I was told this same thing from a guy who hunts from the ground and has had a lot of luck. He said even standing in front of a big tree is better than trying to hide behind it. The cover behind you is most important.
15'ish is what I like. Much lower and I feel exposed whether I am or not. Can't stand that feeling.
Shouldn't this be in the Colorado forum?
First rule of camouflage is to breakup your outline.
white camo works well with no background cover. deer can't pick you out.
"white camo works well with no background cover. deer can't pick you out."
YUP! "Sky camo". Blaze orange works the same way. It's the reason why a lot of wading birds like egrets and cranes are white/light colored. When they're hunting fish the sky is the background that their prey sees them against.
To the OP, how do you know that you don't just sit more still now that you're older and get busted less based on that instead of the height of your stand?
8 foot in the piney woods Georgia you get busted often. Personally there are places that 8 feet would work others demand 18 especially in the hill with deer coming downhill looking you in the eye. Hard and fast rules do not work in every situation.
Paul@thefort never seen a Coues in the woods. dirtclod Az,
LOL-I'm still trying to learn how to pronounce coues/cows/cuz. The height of the stand should be dictated by background cover and visibility/shooting in the foreground. Pigsticker, I hunt the piney woods of AL a lot. I suspect they are about the same as the piney woods of GA. My average stand height is about 15-feet. However, I have one pine thicket here at home that I hunt only from the ground and only in terrible weather. I have found it to be a superb place to get ticks on you. :)
Of course it depends on the tree/location/set up, I prefer to be 18-22 ft ... I can easily reach that with my LW Alpha II and 4 LW sticks or my Muddy Stalker Climber...(I prefer the LW & 4 Sticks)... if I get much below 16-17 ft, it feels like my ass is dragging the ground ..
I hunt from hang on stands in a height range anywhere from 12' - 25' depending on terrain, cover and, more often than not, due to the shape of the tree itself. Would say the majority of my stands are 20'+. My personal "expert B.S." says...always select the best tree for the situation and THEN decide how high to hunt.
Bowriter, some people state their opinion but you idly state yours as fact. 15 feet will get you busted plenty by the deer that you do not see that caught you moving.
For the folks worried about shot angle, you just need to try and set your stands at the right distance for most likely shot opportunities. At 20' with my stick bows, I like 18-20 yard shots and wgen I get up 30' or more with compounds, I plan for 25-30 yard shots, but really like them at 40 yards. But even with much closer shots and tougher angles, it's very possible to make lethal shots. You just have to really know your deer anatomy and be precise on your shooting
I’ve ever hunted higher than 15’ and I’ve never went hungry for venison. When I hunted Central Texas if you were higher than 12’ your head was above the top of the mesquites. Lots of venison in my freezer from 12’ tripods.
Never been a big fan of climbing/sitting high.
I don't like the steep shot angles of closer deer and have never been a fan of long shots with a bow.
I figure if I am not shooting deer close then I will just use the shotgun or rifle.
As for getting busted more from a low stands as someone stated- I feel that goes to the cover issue and is why I prefer a loc-on or ladder to a climber because I can hang/lean them in some ugly places!
But to each their own- my thoughts aren't a knock on the other guys choices- just my thoughts- enjoy it boys!
My personal opinion is that height isn’t as important as holding still and being upwind. Height helps if you aren’t playing the wind quite right. Hiring makes the shot more difficult. We keep most of ours at 16’ or less.
In my experience, where I am hunting factors into how high I place my stands. Where I live in S.E. Ohio, where we have a lot of hunting pressure during the archery season, I rarely place my stands below 23 ft. Deer are conditioned that danger can come from above. I like to be well above "Ladder Stand" height, as you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a ladder stand with a bait pile around here. When I hunt Kansas, where the archery pressure is much less, how high I hang my stands is not nearly as important, as deer don't seem to be as conditioned to look up.
I hunt hill country with deep ravine's, narrow benches and slash cut's in addition to the edge of the cut's. My stand height depends on terrain. 8 to 30+ feet.
When I get the opportunity to hunt level ground I am generally 15-20 ft if cover permits.
Not every stand location / set up can be measured by flat ground.
Most of my stands are at least 57' up. A bit of work to hang, but I never get busted. I did have a guy in an airplane wave at me although.
For whatever reason, I've always liked being really high up in a tree. It makes me more confident that I won't get busted. Early on in my bowhunting career I harvested a doe from 45 feet but will never do that again. While I did recover her, the shot was less than perfect. The vitals certainly decrease the higher you are, and that lesson was proven with that doe.
I've hunted significantly higher with a rifle, and will continue to do so if the situation calls for it. With a bow, my ideal height is 20-25 feet now. I did harvest my buck this year from 12 feet - it's all what the situation calls for. I don't see why one would constrain oneself to 15 feet if the perfect spot is at 25.
Doing some trimming for the fall. Only 56 feet to the platform in this stand. Hunt
Power line crossings CAN be an overlooked hotspot!
I seem to see a higher incidence of non typical genetics in those areas as well.
Using Predator Fall Gray camo I can hunt about any height above 10 ft and not get busted. They just don't make me out, even in some pretty open set ups.
Paul, Your set up is one of my favorites in Az. That is until my woods burnt down and it now looks like a moonscape setting for Lost in Space. That was 2 years ago. still searching for a new woods.
"Using Predator Fall Gray camo I can hunt about any height above 10 ft and not get busted. They just don't make me out, even in some pretty open set ups."
Man- I got to get me some of that!
I used to hunt high but with a family now I prefer to lower the odds of serious injury if I were to ever fall. Like speed, the higher you go the worse the injuries get. I know you can get injured from 15-18 feet as well but I'll take my odds.
No deer is worth a wheelchair or dying.