How High to Place a Tree Stand When Bow Hunting
When it comes to bow hunting, one of the most common questions is how high to place a tree stand. The answer isn’t as simple as “higher” or “lower.” It depends on several factors, including the location and type of tree you want to hunt, the wind conditions and thermal currents in the area, and your shooting preferences. But if you follow a few basic rules and choose your stand carefully, you should be on your way to consistent bowhunting success!
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Step 1: Hang the stand at an elevation that you feel comfortable in and that gives you a clear sight picture of the deer. For most hunters, this is 17-22 feet; it’s enough above the buck’s eyes and noses to ensure a good shot, but not so high that you’re unsafe or uncomfortable.
Next, secure the stand to the tree using a ladder or other device that provides stability. For a ladder, have at least one person hold the stand while another carefully lifts it and fastens it to the tree. The rungs should be spaced about 6 inches apart to ensure that the stand doesn’t move around too much during a long day.
Once the stand is in place, attach the ladder’s anchoring straps to the tree and the platform of the stand. This is a standard part of most ladder stands, but if it has a unique design, be sure to read the instructions.
You’ll also need a cinching buckle that fits the platform. This is a simple but critical step, as it keeps the platform from moving during a long day and makes it easy to take down your stand when you’re done. Wrap the strap around the platform, attach it, and cinch it so that the buckle doesn’t clang against the stand or steps.
Your aim will be much less accurate from a tree stand than when you’re shooting across the flat ground at the range, but this isn’t necessarily a disadvantage. You’ll have to compensate for the downward angle of your arrow, but this can be overcome by practicing with a bow at the range.
Mark Favors Leave-Up Ladders All Year
If you like to hunt in a particular area all season, you’ll need to have a ladder or other tree stand on hand. Mark, who has thousands of stands, prefers to leave them up all year, figuring they’ll be useful again in the fall. He uses three nylon straps to firmly anchor his stands. The first is attached to the stand’s anchor point, plus another on each of the stand’s two side-by-side anchoring points.
He says it’s best to have someone with a lot of experience set up these stands, but even if you only have a single stand to use, following the manufacturer’s instructions is important. That way, you won’t have to deal with quirks that can be frustrating or dangerous. You’ll also save time when it’s time to pack up and head home.