Planning Your Deer Stand During the Offseason

It’s hot and humid, and fishing is probably on your mind now, not preparing and hanging treestands. But, for a greater chance of success in the fall, a lot of consideration – and time – needs to be put into getting ready for deer season.

Thinking of “where” when planning treestand locations:
The first things to think about when planning and preparing your stand sites before the season arrives are entry and exit routes. The best stand location in the world will do you no good if you cannot make it to and from the stand site without being detected.

This means considering areas where prevailing wind directions will be favorable for the stands you hang. Wind direction changes, and there will certainly be days that are no good for any stand, but by predicting the typical wind directions for the fall off year and setting you stands accordingly can go a long way. Also, consider hanging multiple sets in each area, in order to make sure you have it covered regardless of where the wind is coming from. The Huntstand app will help you out tremendously with wind directions, and even showing what your scent cone will look like from a particular stand under certain wind directions and speeds; a great feature for figuring out where to hang stands.


Look for routes in and out that can offer you either cover or ease of getting to and from your stands. Creeks or ditches can be great for allowing you to drop in and make it to your stand without being seen or heard crunching your way through the timber or open fields.

Filed edges can also be a good way to get in and out. A standing cornfield will hide your approach, and any noise you make will be masked by the cover. The deer won’t be able to tell if you are another deer or what you are should one happen to be close as you make your way in.

If the fields are harvested, quietly sneaking along the edge can offer you quiet access, so long as the bedding area isn’t too close to the field.

Walking through acres of timber to a stand that sits in the middle of an open wood lot just doesn’t make sense. You will end up alerting every deer in the area to your presence in the process. Likewise, walking through a bedding or feeding area to access a site is no good either. Give consideration to where you think the deer will be as you make your way in and out, and think of possible sites accordingly.

Other factors to consider when planning your treestand locations:
Part of being able to get to and from your stands undetected, besides where to place them, has to do with being as silent possible while doing so. It’s a lot of work, but using a weed trimmer or weed killer to remove any vegetation on the trail to and from you stands is always a good idea. Also, raking leaves out of the way will help you get into stealth mode as you make your way in.

Besides making your trip quieter, there will also be less vegetation coming into contact with you and your clothing and gear as you are walking to and from. This means less human scent being dispersed along the trail. Another win.

Locations can vary when planning your treestand locations before season:
While thinking of where to hang stands for the upcoming deer season, it is easy to think field edges at this time of year, since your mind may shift to the early season as that will be your first opportunity to get a crack at a deer.

That is good, field edges always produce big bucks and they create little to no disturbance to the deer’s core or bedding areas, but also think in a little bigger picture when planning and preparing your stands for this fall.

Think about staging areas; those areas just inside the timber (10-50 yards inside) where bucks like to hang out until dark before entering crop fields to feed.

Location, location, location is everything when planning your treestand sites before the season starts:

  • Water
    If planning treestand sites for the early archery season, don’t forget the H2O. Evening hunts, especially, can be productive by hunting a water source, especially if it has been hot and dry, so if possible, plan to hang a stand near a water source.
  • Bottlenecks
    When planning your set-up locations, always look for bottlenecks. Period. Even if you have no other information to go on and cannot scout the area, bottlenecks will get you on deer quickly. They force deer to move past your location and should always be one of the first things you do when looking over any property. The Huntstand app can help you locate bottlenecks, even when your hundreds of miles away.


  • Saddles
    Saddles are other areas that are good bets. Again, if you don’t know the property that well, any type of bench or saddle in the timber is a good starting point for finding deer.

  • Feeding and bedding areas and the link between them.
    If you find where the deer are feeding and where they are bedding, then you have pretty much figured out how this works. Look for the best stand sites in between the two and set-up. The key can sometimes be finding out how far (or close) to get to each.

Start out by not crowding the bedding areas. Plan for your stands to be somewhere in the middle, or a tad closer to the feeding areas, but also pick a spot or two out ahead of time for when you may need to sneak in closer to the bedding areas if the deer are staying nocturnal as the season progresses.

Consider if you’ll be calling when planning some stand locations:
For early season locations, you likely won’t be calling too much, but rather keying in on feeding areas or travel routes to or from them, but when the rut starts to kick in, calling may make up a large percentage of your time on stand. For these stands, tighter cover can be best. Call to a deer in open woods where he can see a couple hundred yards and getting him to commit can be tough. He can clearly see if there is not a deer standing there where he heard you call. But, call to him with some thick brush in between you and him, or with thick stuff surrounding your position, and it forces him to get in your lap in order to see the deer (or not) that just supposedly called to him.

The middle of deer season is not the time to start planning your treestands and setups. It should happen much earlier than that. There are times when you must make a move during season, but for the big picture of planning your treestand set-ups, the bulk of the work must be done well ahead of time. The Huntstand app can help you with this task, even you live hours away from your hunting property, saving you precious time once you arrive to hang stands.