By Glen Wunderlich
Several years ago, a young man, who had yet to take his first deer, was welcomed to our hunting land. He sighted in his firearm and proved he could shoot good groups on the paper targets. We explained the rules and allowed him to choose any stand that was not going to be occupied by another hunter.
One particular stand had been the site of many successes over the years, and naturally, he wanted a piece of the action. If I were present when he’d arrive, I’d always ask where he was heading, and invariably he’d select that one “perfect” stand. There was one problem: There is no such thing as the perfect stand.
In fact, that stand had now become over-visited by our new hunter. Once I realized what was happening, I made that stand off limits to him until further notice, because he was not only spoiling the site for himself, but for others that may have wanted to hunt that same stand from time to time.
On a relatively small parcel of hunting land, hunters do not have the option to enter stands from different directions and thus run the risk of becoming patterned by the local deer population. And, when one considers that the home range of deer is within a small area of cover and food, it’s easy to understand that they are quite familiar with their surroundings. This is how patterning develops.
Secondly, playing the wind should always be the primary consideration when choosing a stand for the day. There is no perfect stand for every weather-related circumstance. Because of this, giving yourself options is best – and, the more, the better.
A recent study shows that a hunter’s chance of seeing a mature deer is lessened by 50 percent after 12 hours of hunting that location. Practicing good scent management can help, but the best advice is to hunt prime sites only when the season progresses into the rut in late October.
Whether you believe all the hype about scent control clothing or related paraphernalia, there is still no more effective way to minimize detection than to hunt into the wind, and that’s why successful hunters provide themselves with hunting-site options.
With our prevailing wind from the west, it makes sense to have some set-ups that take advantage of these patterns. However, on those rare occasions, stands facing east will be a better choice. So, if you haven’t done it already, get those shooting lanes cleared, and get those stands in place so that you do not become the source of education for the deer in your hunting area. There simply is no one best spot.