Top 3 tips for better tree stand setup

This bowhunting expert explains how to get the shot — even on pressured deer

When you head to the camp, you’re not going just to enjoy the peace and quiet of the woods. Sure, that’s part of it. But what you really want is to kill a deer.

So you spend a lot of time figuring out how deer are traveling and trying to put together the perfect ambush spot.

But there’s more to it than just looking around for a tree in which to hang a stand.

“Regardless of what kind of deer camp you’re hunting out of, there are little things you can do to improve the quality of your tree stand,” Deer and Deer Hunting’s Steve Bartylla explained in a Youtube video.

Exactly how much you can do in a particular hunting spot, however, is dictated by hunting pressure, he said.

“If it’s heavy pressure, you know what? I’m going to cut my disturbances and odors just as if I was hunting,” Bartylla said. “I know a lot of people talk about, ‘Hey, you know what? I’m not going to be hunting that stand for a good month, two months from now; I don’t have to worry about stinking up the woods.’

“That’s true on very lightly pressured deer or even moderate pressure. But it comes to heavily hunted whitetails, they’re mature for a reason. I want to minimize my disturbances just as if I was hunting. I do not want to do anything to tip off my presence.”

Once you have a stand set up, here are three of Bartylla’s tips to increase the odds of getting off a shot:

• Properly position the stand ­— “Orient it so you can get a sitting shot,” he said. “If I get caught sitting, all I have to do is (draw my bow). I minimized my movement to shoot, and I didn’t have to stand up.”

• Think about the little things — Bartylla said paying attention to aspects as seemingly minor as where a bow hook is placed on the tree can mean the difference between getting a shot and watching a buck slip away.

“Make it so that your weapon is right there, so that when you do have to glass or whatever and you have to hang up that bow, all you have to do is grab it (when you need it because) it’s right there,” he explained. “Bow hooks are cheap; use a bunch of them.”

• Blend in your stand ­— “If that stand doesn’t offer the ultimate in cover, make it so that it does,” Bartylla said. “Go out there and cut some oak branches, put them on the outside of the platform of the stand. Attach some to the back of the tree. If there aren’t oak trees, use evergreens; if there’s not evergreens, use poplar. Whatever ­— just blend that in.

“Now you can get away with that movement.”

The overall key to success, he said, is to do everything possible to remain concealed until the shot presents itself.

“Just go through: What can I do to increase the odds of killing that deer?” Bartylla said. “Think of all those little things you can do, address them and they make a big difference.”

About Andy Crawford 863 Articles
Andy Crawford has spent nearly his entire career writing about and photographing Louisiana’s hunting and fishing community. While he has written for national publications, even spending four years as a senior writer for B.A.S.S., Crawford never strayed far from the pages of Louisiana Sportsman. Learn more about his work at www.AndyCrawford.Photography.