How PSE’s Spook Spann Chooses Tree Stand Sites
Editor’s Note: To be consistently successful at taking bucks and especially older age class bucks, you have to know the best places to put your stand. You can be in the best area to hunt, where you’ve found the highest concentrations of deer, but if you pick the wrong stand site you’ll go home empty handed. PSE has asked Spook Spann how he picks his tree stand sites.
Every hunting area is different, and each state is different. However, I can give you some tips that may help, regardless of where you hunt. I like to hunt from evergreen trees, especially cedars or pines, for several reasons. These evergreen trees really help to break up the hunter’s silhouette, and when you’re trimming limbs in evergreens, they generally give off a fairly pungent odor that acts as a cover scent to prevent the deer from smelling you. However, if I can’t find an evergreen, I’ll look for a tree with a lot of limbs that can help break up my silhouette.
If I’m hunting over a high-quality food source like a green field, a soybean field or a corn field, and deer are coming out into that field early enough to hunt them, I’ll set-up on the edge of that field. Any time I’ve got a food source like those, I’ll usually set-up three or four different tree stands I can hunt from, depending on the wind conditions. If I see the deer aren’t coming to the field during shooting hours, I may back off 100 or 200-yards from the field and look for a travel trail the deer are using to get to the field. My favorite places to set-up tree stands are between prominent bedding areas and high-quality food sources. For instance, the deer may be coming into a Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) field and waiting in the tall grass before moving to the food source after dark. If I can locate a place where the deer are comfortable waiting for night to fall before they move in to the food source, that kind of site usually produces best for me.
I’ll be looking for a tree stand close to that CRP field that will allow me to look down into the field and see deer, and give me an opportunity to take a shot. If I see a nice buck that’s too far away for me to take from my tree stand, I may try to come out of that stand and make a stalk on him. I usually like to climb 20-25 feet high in the tree. Sometimes there may be a need to get higher. If I don’t have any back cover, I may not climb that high, but this is a good average height for me. Also, any time I’m in a tree stand, I use a Muddy Safeguard Harness. I like this harness because it’s quick and easy to put on and take off, and it doesn’t restrict me when I’m trying to shoot my bow.
One of the most-difficult shots for most tree stand hunters to make is when a deer is right under the tree. Here’s what I do:
- I don’t try to draw and aim at the deer with my bow pointed at the deer. I make my draw when I’m standing or seated, and then bring the bow down to aim at the deer. When a deer is close, I aim a little lower than I normally do.
- You can make a better shot by waiting on the deer to walk past you. Then you’ll get a shot that enters behind the vitals and travels up through the heart and lung areas.
- You can make a close in shot best by remembering to bend at the waist.
- I start hunting the first day I arrive at the property, and here’s why: I’ve done all my scouting, and I’ve seen all the pictures from the trail cameras in that area. Too, this region may be somewhere I’ve hunted before. So, the first time I go into that area I want to leave as little scent as possible and not disturb the woods. I believe the first day of that hunt will be the best day to try and take the buck I’ve been seeing on my trail cameras.