Checking stands should be No. 1 on deer hunters’ preseason to-do list

Whether it’s archery, firearms or both, now is the right time to get those deer stands in tip-top shape for the upcoming whitetail season.

As September rolls around, sportsmens’ attention turns to deer camps and fall hunting seasons. Hunt clubs and individuals work hard preparing. Spraying, clipping and disking food plots are done, along with road work and getting deer stands in good order. Most stands and hunting blinds have been left in place for nearly a year and need a little TLC. Here are a few things to think about when getting deer stands ready and in tip-top shape for hunting.

Don’t do it alone

Take a hunting partner with you, regardless of what type of stand you are checking. Accidents happen quickly and unexpectedly. You’ve heard the horror stories — don’t let that person be you. Whether you are working on ladder stands, lock-ons, tripods or box blinds, bring someone with you. If you are climbing, use a safety harness.

Strap it down

All ladder stands left in place from year to year should be checked thoroughly before hunting. If there are ratchet straps present, check them for any rotting or tearing and for good tension. If the stand has chains and binders, inspect them for rust or broken links.

A stand that goes unkept from year to year will soon become unhuntable and dangerous to climb into. (Photos by Andy Douglas)

Check the tension on any device securing a stand to a tree. Be aware — a club member or landowner may have loosened the tension after the previous deer hunting season to prevent tree damage or prevent the chains from growing into the tree.

Secure the anchor

Any tripod deer stand, factory made box blind or homemade box stand should be anchored securely. Check the anchoring device and make sure there’s good tension on cable straps, or chains.

If homemade box stands do not have legs cemented in the ground, they should have some type of anchor. This will prevent hunters from showing up after storms or high winds to find a nice stand laying on the ground — it happens.

Clean them out

Box blinds are very popular and can be store-bought or custom built to suit each hunter. They can be enclosed with windows or be built as open as individuals like.

Take the time when you are doing all your hunting club honey-dos and check all your deer stands.

Check box stands carefully, whether they are set on the ground or elevated; they can become inhabited by undesirables. Rats, mice, spiders, wasps, hornets, ants and any other insects imaginable can stake claim to a hunter’s favorite stand and call it their home.

Early September is the best time to check these stands. If you find a serious problem like an owl inhabitation, you will have time for a remedy that could take several days and trips to the stand. Hopefully, the worst you will find is straw or rubbish brought in by a rodent, or maybe a wasp nest or two. Nonetheless, check your stands; you don’t want a surprise on the year’s first hunt.

A helpful box stand tip

If wasps, insects and vermin are not your thing — try a medicated cow tag. Go to the local feed store where you buy food-plot mixes and ask for insecticide cattle ear tags. Take one to your stand and toss it in or hang it about a foot from the ceiling, if possible. This will run out most all types of wasps and insects. Come back in a week or two, and you will be set.

Take the time when you are doing all your hunting club honey-dos and check all your deer stands. For the least impact on your deer hunting, use these tips and have stand maintenance done well ahead of opening day.

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About Andy Douglas 13 Articles
Andy Douglas is an outdoor writer and photographer from Brookhaven, Miss. A native of Lincoln County, he’s chased deer, turkeys, bass and most anything else the past 35 years. He lives the outdoor lifestyle and is passionate about sharing that with others through stories and photos.

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