First Time Tree Stand Hunting

Discussion in 'Intro to Bowhunting & Archery' started by MTguy, Aug 11, 2017.

  1. MTguy

    MTguy Newb

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    Hello Everyone. I picked up bowhunting again last year after about a 20 year hiatus and went on a public lands hunt with my brothers in MT for deer and elk. This year, I am staying local and hunting whitetail in North Dakota and will be hunting on public land where we can leave our stands up during the season but can't put them up until August 20th. I currently have a portable stand and climbing sticks.... and that's pretty much it. I do have a less than stellar harness that came with the stand as well but I think I'd be better off tying a rope around my waist then try to get in and out of that mess of webbing. I have a couple of questions that I hope someone can help me out with.
    First, I am required to put a metal or plastic tag on the stand identifying it. Does anyone have any simple ways they accomplished this (for example, luggage tags)?
    Second, what else should I be picking up before I head out? I'm thinking I'll want a bow hanger, gear hoist reel, and maybe a couple of gear hooks.
    Do you bring a small pack to hang in the tree?
    A couple things on my wish list that might not happen this year are a game cam and a better harness. Can I live without them for a year or is this just one of those bite the bullet situations?
    Thanks in advance for all of your help
     
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  2. rustednuts

    rustednuts Weekend Warrior

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    Bite the bullet on a quality harness, one that is comfortable, and easy to use is a must
     
  3. Fix

    Fix Grizzled Veteran

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    First thing first... Don't go up in the stand without a harness. You can get one for under 100$
     
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  4. MTguy

    MTguy Newb

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    I found a decent looking harness on Amazon for $50. I'll get that ordered
     
  5. ArcherDane

    ArcherDane Newb

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    If you are wanting a list of things that you might forget (since you haven't bow hunting in 20 years) here is a list of what I take to the stand. I will follow that list up with a list of must haves.
    What I pack: Camo book bag with scent killer, rope, tree saw, knife, extra bow hanger, equipment hangers, gloves, face mask, extra jacket, hand warmers, extra release, safety harness, rangefinder, binoculars. I'm sure I'm leaving some out. I haven't gone through my bag yet this year.

    Stuff that I must bring: Release, safety harness, rangefinder, bow, quiver with arrows, bow hanger, rope to pull bow up.

    Hope that helps.
     
  6. preachnhunt

    preachnhunt Weekend Warrior

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    Buy the harness! ( A good one) also buy a rope so you are always locked in. It's worth it.
     
  7. whydidyousaveme41

    whydidyousaveme41 Newb

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    An extendable saw or at least a hand saw is indispensable when putting up a stand in a new location. I don't even know what a gear hoist reel is. Everything just gets handlined up into my stand.
     
  8. Schuls

    Schuls Die Hard Bowhunter

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    MTGuy, send me your address. I'll send you this harness for free. It came with the Summit tree stand I picked up but I already have an HSS harness. [​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  9. rdale

    rdale Newb

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    I probably over pack, I have two knives one filet the other a gut hook style hunting knife, water, toilet paper, which is used to hang when following blood more than intended purpose, lighter and a bunch of cheap led flashlights, zip lock baggy, zip ties, extra orings for the mechanicals, scent killer, scent lures, a couple of calls and rattle bag, scent free tampons for spraying with lure scent, cell phone, rope, harness and strap, gear hook, arrows, bow, range finder and fog free lens cleaning wipes, latex gloves, poncho, pen and paper, sd card reader and snacks. All that neatly fits into one bag, and carries pretty easy. When hunting public land I drag a climbing stand and double down on snacks and water. I hunt alone often, the multiple flashlights are awesome for when you recover your deer and it is getting dark, but you want to hike out gear and come back and drag the deer with out a pack and stuff, put a light next to it and it is easier to find.
     
  10. rdale

    rdale Newb

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    I don't run cameras on public land, but like to scout where I would bring a stand while still hunting in the early season. Things disappear more often on public property than private, two of my buddies lost their cameras on private property this year to thieves. My strategy in these open woods situation becomes find scrapes, rubs, trails and scat, find the best place to post up and hope for the best. Sometimes the weather is just too nice to be in a stand and I'll take it as an opportunity to explore deeper enjoying a day in the woods knowing my chances of stalking are next to none to find a better spot or gain more knowledge of the property. I've never killed on public land, but have had some great up close encounters, that I consider the real success in bow hunting even when not lot letting an arrow fly.
     
  11. Schuls

    Schuls Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Or if anyone else needs it, let me know.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  12. MTguy

    MTguy Newb

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    Sorry I missed your post. For some reason I stopped getting notifications on this thread. I did end up buying a nice HSS harness and it makes a world of difference. Your generosity is definitely a credit to you!

    I've been in my stand a couple of mornings now and both times I've had deer in shooting range. Day 1 I had 8 deer mostly does and fans come within 50 yards but they came in from behind me and I only have 1 shooting lane that direction. One deer I was pretty sure was a buck but he never gave me a good look and I could only see him through the trees. All the rest stayed about 3 feet out of the lane... I also noticed that all of the deer went along a trail about 80 yards away that I wasn't aware of that is in a nice open clearing. I learned a lot about sitting in the stand and even getting to it in the dark woods. I had done a pretty decent job of marking my path to the tree stand with reflective markers but most of the trip in is along a fence line so I didn't bother. Somehow I managed to cross a fence without knowing it but figured it out pretty quickly (maybe walked 10 yards). I also realized what I needed and didn't need in my pack for a stand hunt and was able to lighten my load from my Montana elk hunts. My pack has a removable binocular chest harness which doesn't work very well for climbing a tree stand so I dropped that for my next trip out. So in summary, no shots on day one but I did have them in range and had an arrow nocked. Even though the deer ended up coming in from downwind they never spooked so I must be doing a decent job with scent control. I did bust out 2 does on my way out as I got close to my pickup. Saw a total of 10 deer, was happy.

    I went out the next morning and my trip in went much smoother and I was in the stand quicker. My setup was much better too after getting the right items on the correct hooks as soon as I got in the stand. I wasn't in the stand 20 minutes and I had does walking in the same spot behind me as the day before. I had 2 does and 2 fawns walk through the area with no shot and a few minutes later I had 2 does come into my shooting lane and stop. I prepared to draw and they both turned away from me so I waited.... after a short while one turned broadside in the lane and I went to draw, but then a miracle happened. She looked behind her (and basically behind me) and my instincts made me wonder what she was looking at. I turned to look and in the clearing 80 yards away was a very nice shooter buck and 3 does. He was still in velvet and looking pretty sweet so I decided to hold off on shooting a doe. He never got closer but now I've got buck fever. My current stand location makes me wonder if I'll be able to get a shot at him. I'm trying to decide between two strategies or maybe I should go for both. Very happy after day 2.

    Strategy 1: Mock scrape on the trail my stand is really set up for. Right now I'm hunting scent free over a trail that has 2 really good shooting lanes but appears a little less used than the one behind me. I'm thinking of putting a mock scrape on the trail and trying to lure the buck in that way. I've got everything I need to make that happen and I don't have to move a stand during the season.

    Strategy 2: New ground blind on the edge of the clearing. I was thinking of purchasing a ground blind and putting it on the edge of the field where I've seen the deer both mornings. There are no suitable trees for a stand there so a ground blind is my only option. It would put me about 33 yards from where the deer seem to be working through the clearing and I would have huge shooting lanes. Downside is I have to purchase a new blind and the wife might kill me.

    Other possibility is to purchase a used treestand and some screw in steps for $40 and put it off the trail behind my current stand.

    Best scenario would be to do both and alternate between the two, although they are relatively close. I'm hesitant to add anything new to the area but my gut tells me if I do it early in the work week during the afternoon and let it marinate for a week or more I should be fine. I also picked up a trail cam but am not sure where I want to put it. I'm thinking that making the mock scrape and putting the camera on it makes sense and it doesn't stop me from adding the blind. Hmmm... decisions, decisions.

    On a side note, here is what I've been carrying in my pack. Grunt and estrus calls, scent killer, bino's, range finder, headlamp and hat headlamp, kill kit (havalon, regular knife, game bags, tag, blood markers), mini leatherman, camo stick, water bottle, granola bar. Things I'll be adding for my next trip out: latex gloves, 2 scent drags, buck urine and doe urine (no estrous yet), mouth spray, 550 cord, scent dripper or wicks. I do have a hoist line I leave in place all the time and it works well enough. I don't bring my rain gear into the field with me as I keep it in my scent free box in the truck not far away. Right now, if it rains I'll probably just call it a day early.

    One question I do have is whether anyone here uses a carabiner to attach the safety harness to a lineman style belt once in the stand? I don't like having to undo everything and thread the loop through the strap when i'm in the tree. I would like to just have a carabiner I can leave in place and just hook in when I am at the top. I know if I purchase a climbing rope that should be a non-factor.
     
  13. preachnhunt

    preachnhunt Weekend Warrior

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    Yes. Use a a carabiner. You also may want to practice shooting from an elevated position if you are not used to treestands.
     
  14. MTguy

    MTguy Newb

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    Thanks for the feedback. I did get a carabiner and it works way better. It had been awhile since I've shot elevated and when I had my shot last weekend..... I shot high. I'm disgusted with myself. I had to rush a bit if I wanted a shot. I'm giving it a week to settle down and I'll be back in the stand.
     
  15. MTguy

    MTguy Newb

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    Saw 4 bucks this morning, but they were cruising. I wonder if someone was hunting nearby and spooked them. They weren't running, tail up but they were not stopping anywhere near me. Wondered if maybe they caught my scent but I had a doe and fawn feed all around me for 15 minutes or more with no issues. I also had a little buck downwind of me in the same area come slowly grazing through and he didn't spook. Thinking about hitting it again tonight.
     
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