13 Great Spots to Hang Your Treestands for Deer Season

By author of Brow Tines and Backstrap

What Type Locations Do You Plan to Focus On?

Just because it’s the off-season doesn’t mean there aren’t things to be done. There’s plenty to accomplish now so that tags can be filled this fall. Hanging treestands is one of those things. If you haven’t already, hang those stands now. Not in a few weeks. Not come July or August. Hang them now so as not to pressure deer once they’ve settled into their summer patterns. Here’s 13 great spots to think about before doing so.

Major Trails

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1 | Major Trails

These are great locations to hang treestands. While it’s hard to catch mature bucks using larger trails once they’ve been pressured, it is possible to capitalize on them during the early season. It’s also a great spot to tag a doe, too.

Photo credit: Josh Honeycutt

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Minor Trails

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2 | Minor Trails

This is where you’re more apt to tag a big buck come October or November. Those older bucks tend to follow along smaller trails that parallel the major trails used by the majority of the deer herd. Look for minute signs of deer traffic near larger travel corridors. Doing this, even if it only means moving 20 or 30 yards, can mean all the difference.

Photo credit: Josh Honeycutt

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Trail Intersections

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3 | Trail Intersections

Places where trails intersect — both major and minor — can be an effective way to put yourself in range of a deer. The key to remember is the wind. It can be hard to pick the right setup when you potentially have deer moving in three or four directions. The setup has to be just right for this to work.

Photo credit: Bill Konway

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Inside Field Corners and Trails Paralleling Food Sources Inside Cover

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4 | Inside Field Corners and Trails Paralleling Food Sources Inside Cover

Deer love inside corners of fields and openings. Consider them gateways for deer. They frequently use them as access points and gravitate to them. If you have this land feature where you hunt, scout it and look for sign. If there are many deer in the area, they’ll likely be using that location unless outside factors cause them to do otherwise.

Photo credit: Brad Herndon

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Near Secondary Food Sources and Staging Areas

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5 | Near Secondary Food Sources and Staging Areas

I’ve never been a huge fan of hunting right over a major food source. I’ve not had much luck with seeing deer — especially mature ones — in wide open fields during daylight. Deer typically don’t reach those destinations until after dark. Instead, focus on areas that traditionally produce natural vegetation, smaller pockets of food, hard mast and other food sources during the times you’ll be hunting this fall. And don’t forget staging areas with food sources. Deer will hold in these locations until dark.

In the photo above you’ll see a tight photo I took of a very small kill plot. These work great for hunting purposes. Plant these close to quality bedding cover and water, but between the bedding area(s) and major food sources. Deer will sometimes stage in these areas during daylight before heading out to feed in the open after dark.

Photo credit: Josh Honeycutt

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Over Water Sources

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6 | Over Water Sources

This is one thing people often forget about. Deer need water just as much as they do food. Research shows that deer will often go to water before food of an evening. And it doesn’t have to be a major water source such as a river or creek. It can be as small as a puddle. As long as deer can drink from it, they will. It’s places like this that most mature bucks get their daytime water from.

In the photo above is a water hole that deer were using near one of my treestands several years ago. It wasn’t a major water source. But it was plenty big enough to satisfy the needs of the deer I was after.

Photo credit: Josh Honeycutt

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Near Bedding Areas

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7 | Near Bedding Areas

I’m pretty conservative most of the time, especially during September and October. I don’t push too hard. I try to leave deer as unpressured as possible until late October and early November. That said, if I see an opportunity, window or some sort of weakness in a given deer, I try to capitalize on it. So if I see an opportunity or a location that’s suited for it, hanging a stand near — but not within — a bedding area can be beneficial. Most of the time it's best to be conservative. But being a little bit aggressive — however risky it might be — can pay off.

Photo credit: Josh Honeycutt

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Along Edge Cover

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8 | Along Edge Cover

Deer are edge animals. That’s why they gravitate to transitional habitat areas with an abundance of early successional habitat. It’s in their nature to do so. That’s where they thrive. And so will your deer hunting efforts if you adapt to incorporate edge cover into your hunting plans.

Photo credit: Josh Honeycutt

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Close to Natural Barriers

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9 | Close to Natural Barriers

These can be bluffs, ledges, downed trees, rivers, deep ditches or anything else that inhibits or discourages a deer from crossing it. I like natural barriers for two reasons. First, these help to direct traffic and hunters can take advantage of that. Second, with the right wind, you can set up close to these barriers and ensure that your scent blows away from deer and toward these natural barriers. An example of this is setting up on the edge of a bluff and allowing your scent to carry off into the valley behind you.

Photo credit: Bill Konway

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Benches

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10 | Benches

Deer travel along benches a lot, especially mature whitetails during the rut. Bucks will travel along benches, trails and old logging roads that skirt around hillsides in search of does. Deer seem to travel 2/3 to 3/4 of the way up the hill where they can take advantage of both the prevailing wind and rising thermals.

Photo credit: Bill Konway

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Saddles

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11 | Saddles

Deer typically follow the path of least resistance. They generally won’t climb a mountain if they can go around it. That’s why deer love saddles so much. It gives them direct access to the other side of the hill they’re wanting to cross over.

You can’t tell it from this photo, but there is a saddle on the ridge straight up from the trees in the center of the photograph. Deer travel across that bluff, down through the saddle and into the staging areas (trees) between the two ag fields.

Photo credit: Josh Honeycutt

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Pinch-Points

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12 | Pinch-Points

Anything that forces deer to travel through a small area is a pinch-point. These are prime locations to hang a treestand, especially for late-October and early November rut sits. Good pinch-points have led to several of the deer I’ve killed in the past.

Photo credit: Bill Konway

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Solitary Trees in CRP and Other Early Successional Growth

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13 | Solitary Trees in CRP and Other Early Successional Growth

I don’t know why, but deer seem to flock to solitary trees amidst knee- to waist-high cover. I’ve commonly found increased amounts of traffic around lone trees when I expected very little action. I've also experienced good results when focusing on the upper third of hills, too. Hanging a stand in such locations could be the ticket to a filled freezer this fall.

Editor's Note: This was originally published June 1, 2017.

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Photo credit: Shutterstock/Evelyn Chavez

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