By Will Jenkins
Finding your way to stand can be difficult and planning your entrance is essential to a successful hunt. How you get to your stand is often overlooked when hunting and can prove to be a deal breaker on bagging that record big buck.
The shortest distance between your parking spot and your tree stand is always a straight line but the best way to get there never is. First you need an aerial map of the the property preferably with a topographic overlay so you can not only see what tree cover is there but also what land features are underneath. Many of us are guilty of going a certain way to a stand location or specific area of a property simply because we’ve hunted there for years and that’s how we’ve always gotten there. If you haven’t done it I guarantee you will change some trails after sitting down and marking stand locations on a map and really looking at the property.
Second, you need to consider the right wind for hunting that stand. If a stand is set to hunt on a North East wind, you will want to enter from the South West. You want to walk in with the wind in your face so your not blowing your scent all over the area you expect the deer to come from. This may mean you have to make a much longer walk or completely change the trail you take in.
Now that you’ve done a good job planning it you have to see what it really looks like. Maps are a great first draft of the trail but seeing what’s really on the ground will define your trail. Take your time and make a smart route to the stand keeping in mind that you hope to drag a deer out the same way. If you get in early and leave late make sure you do a good job of marking the trail. Even if you know the property well the first season using new trails in the dark it’s super easy to get turned around. I prefer reflective thumb tacks over neon color tapes.
Summer is the perfect time to plan and set up your new trails. It provides a good time to scout and get to know deer movement while improving your access. Also use this time to set trail cameras and clear your shooting lanes and you’ll more than ready to go by fall!
Will Jenkins is creator of TheWilltoHunt.com and Harnesses For Hunters. He’s an avid outdoorsman who enjoys sharing his experiences through his blog. He also writes for Bow Adventures e-Magazine and is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association.
Will lives in Central Virginia with his wife and two kids. He hunts in Virginia and Maryland but has dreams of heading west to hunt Elk and Mule Deer.
Keep your eye out for the #elktour DVD over on huntography.com! Watch PSE’s Emily Anderson and Dustin Jones hunt elk DIY style on our amazing public lands in the Western United States. Huntography also films a deer hunting DVD called #deertour which you will be able to watch PSE’s Will Jenkins hunt whitetails. Huntography…filming America’s hunters, one at a time!