Choosing Your Tree Stand Site

Tree stands are becoming more and more popular for hunting, however a critical part of the success of using a tree stand is knowing where to site it.

tree standWhen hunting deer, almost all activity revolves around:

  •  Food
  • Cover
  • Travel routes between food and cover

Your consistent success will be directly linked to the time invested in finding out where the food, cover and travel routes are in your hunting area.

The ideal way to do this is by walking the area before you are going to hunt it.

If you can’t do this, then studying topographical maps and aerial photographs is the next best way to identify potential hunting sites through studying food sources and likely bedding areas as well as funnels, hubs, ridges and valleys.

What influences the deer’s decision making process the most is food – particularly protein rich sources of it. Find this food source, and the deer won’t be far away.


To increase your chances of success, identify areas of high traffic movement.
Deer movements vary between pre-rut, peak rut and post-rut so keep this in mind when planning sites.

Your success will increase if you can identify several intersecting trails in the vicinity of primary and secondary scrapes.

Waiting in ambush locations around primary scrapes when secondary scrapes have been abandoned can yield great success.

If you want in-depth knowledge on scouting and identifying the best hunting spots, you can find it [and lots more information] in our Whitetail Trophy Hunting Secrets book.

Once you have located potential sites, the next decision will be based on the weapon you are using – rifle or bow. If you are using a bow, you will want to be quite close to where you expect to see the deer.

Depending on your accuracy and confidence it may be between 15-40 yards.

If you are using a rifle, you will probably want to be further away to reduce the risk of detection, however the distance will be dictated by the type of environment you are hunting and the visibility it provides for your shooting lanes.

The distance with rifles may be 100 yards or several hundred yards depending on the visibility.

After identifying some high traffic areas to suit the weapon you are using, the final step is to locate several sites that could be used depending on the prevailing wind on the day. It is no good identifying a couple of good sites only to find you can’t hunt them because of the wind direction on the day.

Always have alternative sites you can use to cover all wind directions.

If possible, set up your stand about a week prior to using it to allow the deer time to get used to it.

Your most likely predictor of success is the time you invest in scouting!


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